The Best Way to Learn Spanish is to Get a Spanish Speaking Girlfriend / Boyfriend

People often talk tongue in cheek about the “language of love” when two people from opposing cultures and languages get together. But… if you want to become fluent in Spanish, then one of the best ways to do it is to get a Spanish speaking girlfriend or boyfriend.

I met my partner in Japan: he is Peruvian and I am Australian. Hence he speaks Spanish and I speak English. During the opening phase of our relationship we communicated in an odd mix of English, Japanese and very little Spanish since my “Castellano” was limited to the lyrics to La Bamba and words gleaned from Terminator movies.

I had always wanted to learn Spanish, but never done anything about it. I saw this as the opportune time to learn and I promptly got myself a Spanish tutor. We continued to speak English to each other and quickly my boyfriend’s English got better and my Spanish ability limped very slowly along.

Fast forward a few years to the day I stepped off the airplane in Lima, Peru. My boyfriend was waiting for me with open arms and was excited to introduce me to his exotic and fascinating country. After greeting each other and getting the luggage all taken care of my mean and nasty partner dropped the bombshell. He said: “Well now that you are going to live here, that means you will have to speak to me in Spanish.”

My Spanish by that stage was still pretty basic. I could read it pretty fluently, but my Speaking ability was pretty much limited to using the present tense. My boyfriend is nothing if not stubborn and every time I forgot and spoke to him in English, he would reply to me in Spanish. I cursed him for about a month (if I could have cursed him in Spanish, I would have), but then suddenly it started getting easier.

After about three months of speaking to each other in Spanish, I found that I could now do it with ease. I was no longer searching for the correct word all the time or feeling frustrated that I could not express myself clearly.

After six months I could now confidently converse with Peruvian friends and his family. More importantly I could make my points well enough to win a verbal tussle with him – very satisfying indeed. At about this point I often found that I would go into a shop to buy something and as I was walking away I would wonder to myself: “Did I just speak to them in English or Spanish?” This happened because I no longer had to consciously think about what I wanted to say.

While it was frustrating at the beginning, I now have to admit that being so strict on me with learning Spanish was the best thing my boyfriend could have done. Now not only have I achieved my aim of becoming fluent in Spanish, but I can function confidently in Peruvian society. I am now coming up to the end of my third year here in Latin America and I can read Spanish novels, watch Spanish language movies and successfully complete all the little jobs one has to do when living somewhere such as banking and paying bills.

If you already have a Spanish speaking partner, make sure you are taking advantage of their presence to help you become better at the language. Having a Spanish speaking boyfriend or girlfriend gives you the opportunity to learn the language much faster, to learn slang and clear pronunciation and get an insider’s perspective on important cultural elements that accompany any language.


Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply