I often hear from people that they understand Spanish, but they do not speak it. As a Spanish major I read novels and wrote many essays in college, but I struggled to speak a second language with confidence. Any native speaker will tell you that having conversations in Spanish is the best way to achieve fluency.
The real switch happened for me in law school. I was taught to think in law school, “What is the rule?” The same question guides me in speaking Spanish. This language has a rule for how I pronounce or conjugate a certain verb. This created a major change for me and I became comfortable speaking in Spanish with others. I love it.
I have a deep admiration for other Spanish speakers and Spanish speaking attorneys. I have a deeper understanding of legal concepts when I have to explain how the law works using words that mean one thing in English and another thing in Spanish. For example, “embarazada” might sound like the word for “embarrassed” in English, but it actually means pregnant. Or a family law specific example is “la demanda,” which sounds like it would mean demand and it technically does meaning “lawsuit.”
I value having people’s trust and respect — so, when I am able to communicate with a native speaker I feel an instant sense of trust and appreciation from that person. I encourage people to study and speak this language as much as possible.
– MC Skinner, Associate Attorney, McKnight Law