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  #1  
Old November 10, 2011, 05:15 PM
feugen feugen is offline
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Question about distinguishing words

Greetings,

I am new to the forum, but I have read through several threads and haven't found an exact answer to my question. I am trying to learn Spanish and have only recently began my study (about a month). I am using various methods and programs mentioned in other threads.

The biggest problem I am having is distinguishing words when I hear them spoke. I listen to a podcast of linguista 360's news in slow Spanish and even then it is difficult for me to separate the words spoken. Will that just naturally come with time? Is there something I can do to train my ear to differentiate the words, i.e. just continually listening to Spanish over and over? One example is "tenemos". Even though it is commonly used and I have seen/heard it many many times, it is hard for me to make that word out when it is used fluently through a sentence.

Great site, really enjoyed reading other strategies and techniques.

Thanks,
Chris
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  #2  
Old November 10, 2011, 05:51 PM
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Rusty Rusty is offline
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Welcome to the forums, Chris!

Distinguishing words is a skill that you pick up gradually. Knowing all the individual words isn't enough when it comes to conversation. What you'll learn over time is that words are blended together, especially final and initial vowel sounds. Some consonants morph when followed by particular consonants. Some words, particularly those that end in 's', aren't fully enunciated (the 's' is elided). There are regional variations.

For example, Spanish courses may teach how to pronounce an 'n', but may fail to teach that it is pronounced like an 'm' when certain consonants follow (like 'm' and 'p'). 'Un minuto' sounds like 'um minuto'. 'San Pedro' is pronounced 'Sam Pedro'. Likewise, the 's' is pronounced like the English 'z' when certain consonants follow it. 'Riesgo' is pronounced 'rree ehz goh'.
There is a great tendency to elide word endings. 'Tenemos que' becomes 'tenemo que'. In some areas, the word 'para' becomes 'pa'.

We do much the same thing when we speak English. For example, 'What are you going to do?' becomes 'Watcha gonna do?'. The really nice thing that Spanish has going for it is that they don't get lazy with the vowel sounds. If they're not elided/blended, they have a consistent pronunciation.

Hope this was helpful.
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Old November 10, 2011, 06:25 PM
feugen feugen is offline
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Greatly appreciate the reply. It does help a bunch and was very informative. I guess I just need to keep moving forward and let it absorb. I won't lie though, I am finding this to be a quite difficult endeavor.
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Old November 10, 2011, 09:09 PM
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You're right Chris, that was a very helpful comment of Rusty's, like he always gives. That bit about the vowels is particularly useful: Spanish abhors the conglomeration of consonants we have in English, so it helps to listen for syllables rather than entire words. Incidentally, that's also how friends of mine spell their words, by syllable instead of letter-by-letter as we do. Congrats on joining this Forum - it's the best one around!
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Old November 11, 2011, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feugen View Post
Greatly appreciate the reply. It does help a bunch and was very informative. I guess I just need to keep moving forward and let it absorb. I won't lie though, I am finding this to be a quite difficult endeavor.
Everything is difficult when starting, but with time it gets to be easy... (practice)
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Old November 12, 2011, 07:07 PM
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CrOtALiTo CrOtALiTo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by feugen View Post
Greetings,

I am new to the forum, but I have read through several threads and haven't found an exact answer to my question. I am trying to learn Spanish and have only recently began my study (about a month). I am using various methods and programs mentioned in other threads.

The biggest problem I am having is distinguishing words when I hear them spoke. I listen to a podcast of linguista 360's news in slow Spanish and even then it is difficult for me to separate the words spoken. Will that just naturally come with time? Is there something I can do to train my ear to differentiate the words, i.e. just continually listening to Spanish over and over? One example is "tenemos". Even though it is commonly used and I have seen/heard it many many times, it is hard for me to make that word out when it is used fluently through a sentence.

Great site, really enjoyed reading other strategies and techniques.

Thanks,
Chris
i'e have read slowly your text and I have found something curios for me, I'm desperate with mix up some text and you have started your learning one month ago, and then you take of the hand the language now, I believe that is very prompt for that you have learnt, now you are listening a radio news when you are listening the news in Spanish, but you have troubles with the distinguish of the words.

How do you do that?

I'd like to you give me a tips as I can learn the language solely I listening the radio or TV show If I'm not able to understand any word spoken in English and you do it.

I'm crash my head upon the table or the TV if I'm not understand anything of a movie dubbed or subtitled.

Hahahah.

Really I have troubles with, and I need to listen your own view point in all this.

By this mean I mean, literally I want to learn completely the language without desperate me completely and became crazy because I don't want to became me crazy for I don't understand completely nothing for myself, that is crazy man.

There is the distinguishing words.

Complicate right!

Greetings.

You apologize me for the way that I write my text only I tell you my trouble as learning and one learning has took four years for that can write all this in English.

Sincerely yours.
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Last edited by CrOtALiTo; November 12, 2011 at 07:17 PM.
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Old November 12, 2011, 07:57 PM
Glen Glen is offline
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Chris, in spite of my previous post mentioning the value of listening for syllables rather than entire words, there is virtue in memorizing certain words in their entirety so that they're immediately recognizable. Take numbers, for example. When I realized my friends say telephone numbers in groups of two instead of saying each digit individually as we do in English, I started working harder on memorizing the numbers 10 through 99 for immediate recall. Hey, it beats counting sheep, to fall asleep at night! For practice with this, you can select the Spanish option when calling your telephone banking service and hear many, many numbers (or in my case, not that many) come at you quickly. Good luck!
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Old November 15, 2011, 05:52 PM
feugen feugen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrOtALiTo View Post
i'e have read slowly your text and I have found something curios for me, I'm desperate with mix up some text and you have started your learning one month ago, and then you take of the hand the language now, I believe that is very prompt for that you have learnt, now you are listening a radio news when you are listening the news in Spanish, but you have troubles with the distinguish of the words.

How do you do that?

I'd like to you give me a tips as I can learn the language solely I listening the radio or TV show If I'm not able to understand any word spoken in English and you do it.

I'm crash my head upon the table or the TV if I'm not understand anything of a movie dubbed or subtitled.

Hahahah.

Really I have troubles with, and I need to listen your own view point in all this.

By this mean I mean, literally I want to learn completely the language without desperate me completely and became crazy because I don't want to became me crazy for I don't understand completely nothing for myself, that is crazy man.

There is the distinguishing words.

Complicate right!

Greetings.

You apologize me for the way that I write my text only I tell you my trouble as learning and one learning has took four years for that can write all this in English.

Sincerely yours.


I wish I could help you friend, but I am also having difficulties with distinguishing words. I have already begun to see some improvement using some suggestions here. For example, I wrote numbers Cero to Cien, as suggested and have gone over them several times. I can now differentiate the number words from the other words, even if I can't figure out exactly which number, I still can separate it from the other words. I have also tried to listen more to syllables, which was recommended and has helped.

Your English is very good in my opinion. I wish I could write as well in Spanish as you do in English. I think oftentimes we forget that the entire point of language is to convey a message, and if the message is received it should be considered a success, regardless of whether or not you pronounced or spelled every word correctly.

I am using other methods and strategies for acquiring the language besides just listening to the radio and watching t.v. I do enjoy radio commercials because they are usually written with easy to understand words and they repeat important words several times.


I would be glad to help you out any way that I can, sorry I can not be of more help as I am still very early in acquiring language myself.

your pal,
Chris
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