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12 signs you've totally nailed the Spanish language

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12 signs you've totally nailed the Spanish language
How fluent in Spanish do you think you are? Can you order what you want at the market without putting your foot in it? Test yourself here. Photo: Caleb Stokes/Unsplash

How do you know when you've really mastered the Spanish language? If you can tick off most of the points on this list, then are well on your way.


1. When no matter what somebody says, whether it be good or bad, it never feels wrong to throw in a claro or a couple of vales whenever an opportunity presents itself.

2. When you know exactly how to order your drink without hesitation - You can order a vaso of wine, a caña of beer or a copa of gintonic (never gin AND tonic for that may confuse everyone involved).

Say goodbye to ordering a small or large beer but instead start using these Spanish measurements: Caña, tubo, doble, jarra, tanque, mini (a mini ironically being anything but small at 750 ml). Photo: CiViLon/Flickr

3. When you start taking on the accents or slang words of particular regions. There is nothing better than hearing an Anglophone saying "Madrizzz me mola mogollón" in a Madrileño drawl, or someone who has spent a lot of time in Andalusia and starts dropping letters from words with such ease you would never have thought they were supposed to be there in the first place, like a casual "¿Qué ‘ase, illo?".


4. When after long days and nights trying to get your head around the subjunctive clause, you finally feel like you have understood it and can even use it well, only to discover nearly everyone uses it incorrectly anyway.

5. When you start taking in the enormous pleasure that is swearing constantly and for no particular reason in Spanish. Slipping in a casual "Joder, I have just lost €50" or a "Jodderrrrr, look how cheap this jamón is". You know you have peaked when you start playing with your vulgarities. Perhaps it is so cold that you are pooing yourself (me cago de frío) or maybe you have started replacing "oh crap" with a "oh communion wafer" (hostia).

READ ALSO: ¡Joder! An expert guide to correctly using the F-word in Spanish

They are obviously getting on "¡de puta madre!"- Not to be confused with "tu puta madre". Photo: Diariocritico/Flickr

6. You start saying English words with a Spanish accent: It is never WiFi but weefee. Not Harry Potter but Herrrry Poterrr. I haven’t caught myself saying Espain yet, but I know this is the next step.


7.  When you finally manage to master the difference between ser and estar (both meaning 'to be'), and you know that in a restaurant situation, the olive oil es bueno (of good quality) and the waiter está bueno (handsome).

"Oyé, qué bueno está el camarero...y además es buena gente"…The same word meaning two very different things with Ser and Estar. Photo: AFP

8. When you spot false friends or incorrect word endings a mile away. When you say you are constipado/a, you are referring to your nose, not your bottom. When you say something embarrassing, it doesn’t usually mean you are embarazada and when ordering a chicken dish at the restaurant you certainly never, ever order polla.

READ MORE: The eleven most annoying Spanish false friends of all time 

9. When you read a text message from a Spanish friend and are able to decipher Spanish text slang. Suddenly "Sipp wapa, por k estan payá" becomes clear to you, even if you do have to read it out loud to clarify it. You especially know that you are a winner, when you start laughing in Spanish jajaja

READ ALSO: Essential Spanish 'text speak' abbreviations


10. When the interjecting noises you have never, ever had to think about before, start to slowly change. For example, you hit your head on the doorframe and you shout "AY" instead of "OW" or when you start replacing brain farts or gaps in your speech, "erm" goes to "ey". Maybe you are even knocking on doors saying "Toc Toc" before you enter a room! (Although telling a Toc Toc joke would surely be taking things too far…)

"Like", "um", "basically" and "so" are replaced with "pues", "o sea", "bueno" and "a ver". Which all mean: Give me a second, my mouth is moving faster than my brain is making thoughts. Photo:Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

11. When even animals start changing their language. Dogs do not go woof but instead "guau" and the cock no longer goes ‘cockledoodledoo but "kikirikí".

12.  When your Spanish gets better but it means your English starts to get a little worse. Your friends laugh when you go home because you start translating from Spanish with errors like: "I want to take a beer later" and then when you ask them if they will be joining you "You are coming, no?"

This article was written by Naomi Swainson, who moved to Madrid from Edinburgh in 2015 to escape The Scottish Haar and primarily, to pursue a lifelong desire to learn Spanish. She now works as a teacher at St Paul's Trinligual School in Barcelona.


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[email protected] 2019/03/16 17:30

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