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Old March 19, 2012, 11:59 AM
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Exclamation Escuchar y entender

Okay... So I've been trying to learn Spanish for a long while, yet I don't seem to fully understand a native when he or she is speaking. This makes sense of course, since I'm still learning the language, I mean it's not that I expect myself to be fluent only after a little while. But I thought that I would've been better as I've come this far. Writing en speaking Spanish is not a problem for me though, but the listening part is really a challenge. So I wanted to ask you guys if you've any idea how I could possibly improve my listening skills? I kind of understand people when they're talking, but not always and it's getting very annoying... So should I watch more Spanish movies/news or are there plenty of other ways?
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Old March 19, 2012, 12:49 PM
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Radio broadcasts, movies and television shows are good for listening to fluent language, but you can't press the 'pause' button and figure out the things you're missing. DVD movies, MP3s, CDs and podcasts come with the 'pause' feature, so they're better, at first. But I think the very best way for you to beef up your listening skills is to find some hispanic friends that will allow you the luxury of true listening during a dialog. Don't be afraid to just repeat what you're hearing, in the form of a question. The native speaker will give you a reassuring nod that you're picking up on things.

Understanding what is being said is most likely being hampered by a need to translate everything into your native tongue (or another tongue). If so, you need to focus on the idea of a phrase instead of its individual pieces. Words and body language paint a mental picture. Try to envision it. This skill will take time, but when you realize you're thinking in Spanish instead of translating everything, you've arrived.
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Old March 19, 2012, 12:52 PM
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Finding someone to speak Spanish to you rather than hearing people speak amongst themselves is a better way of understanding the language.
When it spoken directly toward you, magically it is easier to understand. I have written before that in think obtaining the lyics to to boleros online and finding a good recording of the corresponding song can be helpful in understanding the language.
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Old March 19, 2012, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aycaramba View Post
Okay... So I've been trying to learn Spanish for a long while, yet I don't seem to fully understand a native when he or she is speaking. This makes sense of course, since I'm still learning the language, I mean it's not that I expect myself to be fluent only after a little while. But I thought that I would've been better as I've come this far. Writing en speaking Spanish is not a problem for me though, but the listening part is really a challenge. So I wanted to ask you guys if you've any idea how I could possibly improve my listening skills? I kind of understand people when they're talking, but not always and it's getting very annoying... So should I watch more Spanish movies/news or are there plenty of other ways?
I had the same problem with English many years ago -and I still have troubles with that as I'm not speaking English on a daily basis, and let's admit it, I'm quite a moron in all this business of sounds translating immediately in ideas and vice-versa-. One day I was watching an old Hollywood film on TV and it had English subtitles, but they were out of synch in a way I was able to read the dialogue about one and a half second before the actors would say it. I started to understand almost all instantly, so I used that method wherever available during some time. Later I realized that I have created a set of sounds that could be called "the way I think English sounds" and not the real way all varieties of English sound -including that from India-. So I started to watch films with English subtitles -synch'ed this time- and to listen carefully what was said the way it was said and associate it with the written words I already know and not with the way I thought they sounded. I muffled that little voice that silently pronounces everything we read, so to speak.

So I recommend both methods to you. Spanish films with Spanish subtitles are a common option, and many systems allow you to tweak the synch between image, sound and subtitles. The advanced subtitles allow you to discover how real language sounds; the normal subtitles allow you to get rid of any wrong conceptualization about how real language sounds, provided you force yourself to avoid "reading" and you just listen and "watch" the texts.
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