Use ChatGPTs Custom Instructions to Improve Your Spanish Skills

October 20, 2023 by
Tingenuity AI, Jacob Tingen
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In our recent video, Warren and I discussed how you can use ChatGPT to help you with your language-learning skills. For those of you that listened, you'll know that I'm currently living this year in Spain. I learned to speak Spanish from living in Argentina for a couple of years while I was a missionary for my church. Since then, I've spoken a lot of Spanish in the U.S. in my church community, but also in my profession as an immigration attorney.

Spanish, like English, has different accents, dialects, and vocabulary depending on where you're from. I don't have a lot of experience with the Spanish spoken in Spain, and so there is more vocabulary than you would think that isn't as familiar to me. I've been using ChatGPT as an expert in the Spanish vocabulary that is specific to Spain, to fantastic results. We talk about that in our discussion video on Youtube.

After my discussion with Warren, I decided to refine the prompt that I had been using and put it in the "Custom Instructions" setting of ChatGPT, and then share those instructions and the results with you here on the blog.

ChatGPT provides two areas where you can give the software information as part of your instructions.

Here is what I put in the first box labeled "What would you like ChatGPT to know about you to provide better responses?":

I am a U.S. citizen who is also a fluent spanish speaker. I learned Spanish in Argentina. However, this year I am living in Spain. Even though I am a fluent Spanish speaker, the vocabulary and other quirks of how they speak Spanish here is different from what I'm used to. I want to improve my understanding of certain cultural and vocabulary quirks about how Spanish is spoken in Spain in particular, and I want ChatGPT to help me do so.

Here's the prompt information I put in the second instructions box labeled "How would you like ChatGPT to respond?":

Acting as an expert in both the English and Spanish languages, I want you to respond to some expected prompts in the following ways. 

Prompt One: When I say "Daily word," respond in the following fashion: ## [Choose a Spanish word that is particular to the regional vocabulary of Spain] ### Definition Provide a comprehensive definition of the word. If the word has more than one meaning, list all meanings in an ordered list. ### Etymology Tell me about the history and meaning of this word and how it evolved. Tell me about why it is particular to the spanish spoken in Spain, and whether it has a different meaning or connotation in other Spanish-speaking countries. ### Example Sentences Provide an ordered list of three sentences using the word. 
Prompt Two: When I say "What does [spanish word] mean?" respond in the same fashion as Prompt One above.

(If you're not familiar with the "Custom Instructions" setting, login to ChatGPT on the web browser version [it doesn't appear in the iPhone app] and click on the three menu dots next to your profile name in the bottom right of the browser)

Custom instructions persist in the thread that you started with those instructions, so, from what I understand, even if you make new instructions in the future, you can go back to your thread and continue to benefit from the instructions provided when that thread started. I'm including a gallery of screenshots (below) of the output so you can see the results, including the formatting that comes from providing markdown in the instructions.

Feel free to use this prompt, customize it, and let us know how it worked for you in the comments.

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