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Your favorite Spanish media?


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Old December 29, 2014, 02:46 AM
Sami Sami is offline
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Your favorite Spanish media?

Hello, all!

My name is Sami [I'm new here], and I'm currently studying in Japan at an international university. While here, I've had the opportunity to interact with a number of native Spanish speakers, and have realized a notable issue with how I've learned Spanish (I just read, a lot). That is, I've got a very difficult time understanding what people tell me in Spanish. That seems to be the opposite problem that most people have - I find it very, very simple to talk and can do so at a relatively normal pace. And of course, if anything is written, I've got close to no difficulty understanding it.

My goal to mend this is simply to immerse in more Spanish media, because my overwhelming issue is simply hearing the actual words being spoken - unless I'm really, really, really trying to listen, speech tends to sound like an unintelligible buzz. I'm comfortable enough with Spanish that I don't need to translate my thoughts or what I read, and I can normally understand from context if I don't know a word - I just haven't had an auditory aspect to the language whatsoever, so I'm wanting to catch up here. To put that in perspective, I've been living and studying in Japan for only 4 months, but my ability to hear/dictate Japanese is already leagues ahead of my ability to do so in Spanish.

So, that being said - I'm looking for recommendations about things to listen to or watch - preferably something to watch with subtitles. So far as music goes, I enjoy a wide variety of things - more poppy Latin like Reik or Camila, more traditional soundings things like Juan Luis Garcia or Elefante, and softer things like La Oreja de Van Gogh or the older Luis Fonsi. I haven't dug into very much television content, but I have really enjoyed the bit of Chavo del 8 that I've watched. I am interested in comedy in general.

I'm looking forwards to interacting with others here, it looks like a neat corner!

(Si tu solo hablas en español, estoy buscando por unas recomendaciónes en comedias de televisión, de modo que puedo mejorar mi abilidad a escuchar en español. Muy gracias! )
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Old December 29, 2014, 07:44 AM
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Rusty Rusty is offline
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You've learned that total immersion is the best way to learn a language. That is why your Japanese is coming along more quickly.
So, I would suggest that you do the same with Spanish. Befriend the native Spanish speakers and spend as much time as possible hanging out with them, always allowing them to speak in their native tongue and always communicating with them in Spanish.

There are many recommendations here in the forums about where to find Spanish media, but I don't remember anyone asking for the particular things you listed.

Many members will steer you away from watching movies with subtitles. They don't teach you to hear what is being said, and they are sometimes incomplete or incorrect.
Hearing everything spoken in another language requires all of your concentration.

(Si tu solo hablas en español, estoy buscando por unas recomendaciones de comedios de televisión, para poder mejorar mi habilidad de escuchar en español. ¡Muchas gracias!)
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Old December 29, 2014, 10:35 PM
Sami Sami is offline
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Mm, my thoughts on having [Spanish] subtitles, was simply to begin attaching sounds to the words, which I haven't done before - also in that if they aren't there, I catch tantalizingly little of what is being said. It just seemed more viable a route to grow with the subtitles, because if I know what I'm looking for, I hear everything just fine - but it's also a big crutch. I just wasn't sure.

I am also a tad embarrassed in regards to the speaking - I chat relatively frequently in Spanish, but I worry that it would be annoying to the native speakers if I always began speaking to them in Spanish, without prompt.

There is definitely much more content available without subtitles, though, so I will keep trying Do you have suggestions for breaking the ice, in that regard?
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Old December 30, 2014, 01:06 AM
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Listening to a movie or a television show is very different than participating in a conversation. The blur of words will continue until you want to add to the conversation. That can't happen until you hear a word repeated several times. This is how you learned your mother tongue. A word that is repeated several times must mean that it is important. It may be the topic at hand.
When you've heard an important word, break into the conversation to say that you understood "blank" (the thing you were able to pick up on) and then ask the person who just used it to say more about it. Those already involved in the conversation will want to involve you in the conversation, too. They'll take the time it takes to help you make sense of what they're talking about.
Your ear training will be at a whole new level in a short amount of time.
All of this will happen without a script (no subtitles).

A long time ago, I knew a boy named Domingo. I knew that he spoke Spanish at home, but when he and I hung out, we spoke English. One day he asked me to go to an activity with him where Spanish would be spoken. When we arrived, a Spanish-language conversation was in process and Domingo and I just sat down and listened. He, of course, had no problem understanding the conversation but I was listening to a blur of words that meant nothing. That happened for probably a minute. Then, all of sudden, I heard the speaker say Domingo. I looked at my friend, but he didn't seem to notice that they were talking about him. I kept listening. Again his name was said, but my friend didn't flinch. I focused more on the conversation. Sure enough, I kept hearing his name. Unable to contain myself any longer, I finally turned to Domingo and asked what they were saying about him.
You know the rest of the story.
After a bewildered look and then laughter when he realized why I was asking, I learned that my friend happened to share his name with a day of the week. The conversation I had been listening to wasn't about my friend at all, but about what was going to be happening on Sunday.

I learned a few things on that occasion-in a blur of Spanish words I could single out a word that I had heard before and that Pugsley Addams' sister, Wednesday, wasn't as weird a name as I had previously thought, since one of my friends was also named after a day of the week.

That event led me to start asking how-do-you-say-that-in-English questions every time I listened to my friend and others speaking in Spanish. I think it was about two days later when I learned how to ask "¿Cómo se dice ... en inglés?" in Spanish. Every time I could pick out a word that seemed to be important, I asked about it using my newfangled question and have never looked back. I have been an active participant in many, many Spanish conversations since then.

Last edited by Rusty; December 30, 2014 at 09:46 AM.
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Old December 30, 2014, 07:00 AM
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Besides Rusty's good advise, there are shows on TV that are easier to understand mostly because they cover shorter subject matter. Univisión has "En rojo vivo". It's a semi-news program that's entertaining. You may find segments that interest you are easier to understand. One show I like is "Mexico tiene talento". Sometimes the performers are truly awful, but the opposite is true also, and it's fun to watch. What the contestants and judges say is often easy to understand.
Me ayuda si corrige mis errores. Gracias.
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Old December 31, 2014, 08:04 PM
Glen Glen is offline
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Happy New Year, Sami, and even though it sounds like you want recommendations for audio-visual material my experience has been only with the first half: audio. Being the cheapskate that I am, I benefit tremendously from listening to shortwave radio. (Go ahead and laugh, but it's free of charge anytime day or night)!

There are many stations from around the world to choose from but one in particular, broadcasting a very strong signal from a certain Caribbean island whose name we won't mention, is the most useful for me because it features international news in short segments that repeat the same things over and over. Eventually those words and phrases sink in enough to understand. Political viewpoints aside, it's a goldmine of vocabulary and grammar on world events, sports, economics, health matters etc. - at least for me, nothing beats listening to live play-by-play broadcasts of Major League baseball games, with my digital voice recorder and notebook in hand.

Anyway, that's the old-fashioned Spanish media this cheapskate uses.

Good Luck with your search, and once again Happy New Year!
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