Originally, it was assumed that learning to speak a language led to understanding it to the same extent, but this assumption has proven to be incorrect. The main objective in most courses is usually that the student learns to communicate a message and many times listening comprehension is left aside, that the student learns to listen and not only with another speaker face to face but also when the speaker is not present. Either way, no matter how satisfied or dissatisfied we are with any language course, the truth is that acquiring a second language depends entirely on the learner and his or her willingness to be exposed to the new language.
Commenting on our teachers’ experiences with learning English, many agree that listening to the language on a daily basis helped them with more meaningful learning. Experts also say that the best way to acquire a language is to follow the way a baby learns: listen and try to imitate the sounds.
For this reason, today we suggest some activities you can do to improve your listening comprehension in Spanish:
1. Listening to music: this is the easiest exercise you can start with and do on a daily basis. You don’t need to understand the lyrics (at least not at the beginning), the important thing is that you listen, that your ear gets used to the new phonemes so that after listening to the song a couple of times you will be able to imitate some sounds.
2. Podcasts: to start, you can listen to one or two short podcasts a day on topics that interest you or search for podcasts for learning Spanish. In general, you can also turn to YouTube videos and the many channels dedicated to teaching the language.
3. Watch TV series: this is one of the most difficult exercises because you have to follow a longer plot but, depending on the length of the chapter, you can better distribute the time you can dedicate to it and have subtitles in any case.
How To Improve Your Hearing In Spanish
Many times when we are learning a new language, we find that it is difficult to understand what the native speakers say and many times we do not understand anything they say. This is totally normal, the brain has to get used to how the new language sounds. The positive side of this is that it is something that happens by itself, so what remains on our part is to dedicate as much time as possible to be immersed in the language we want to learn so much. And even if we do not understand much, keep listening and if we have the possibility of subtitles or lyrics in the case of songs, read them or play them from time to time, this helps to understand what they say and to notice the rhythm of the new language. Another important fact to improve our hearing is to improve our vocabulary since it is more difficult for us to understand words we do not know. So:
How Much Time Will You Dedicate To Listening To That New Language?
To improve something as fundamental as listening, strategies should be taken into account the tastes or ways of learning of the students, since these are different and vary according to their age and culture. The student can be approached by talking about topics of common interest, such as soccer, video games, movies, theater, etc. Or being a little more experimental through music, dynamics such as riddles or even jokes and word games to give the student a way of learning out of the ordinary and out of their comfort zone in a friendly and entertaining way. They can be invited to watch movies in Spanish, preferably in the different types of Spanish from around the world (Spanish from Spain and Spanish from Latin America) so that their encounter with the different accents and ways of speaking Spanish around the world is not so abrupt and frustrating.
Another way for students to learn and improve their listening skills is to listen to different songs according to their tastes, watch series and movies of their liking dubbed into Spanish, try to listen to lectures, podcasts or interviews of actors they know or people of public interest. Another strategy can be to record yourself on voice memos and listen to your own pronunciation, so that you can improve your speaking and listening at the same time.
Strategies To Improve listening:
Normally our auditory system is very harmonic to musical sounds or pleasant sounds of nature, if we notice we can see that when we listen to a song or pleasant music we try to memorize it to sing it or try to interpret it this makes us feel better about ourselves or relax at different times. When this happens our memory works in a very intelligent way we could say that it is a kind of human computer for some reason the sounds captured by our memory can last for a long time.
It happens to us that when we listen to a song that we like maybe we had a long time without listening to it but it automatically activates our mental file and takes us to pleasant moments related to times, funny anecdotes, maybe not so pleasant moments etc. that is why one of the recommendations to improve the listening that we find so difficult when listening to another language different from ours is to listen to music in this new language, do not try to translate everything literally but first listen concentrated the different sounds or intonations in songs with this new language this will help us a lot to improve our listening and listening comprehension.
Remember that one of the most difficult things when learning a new language is to understand the people who speak it naturally, the native speakers, because it is something that we have never heard and it seems impossible to learn; during the learning process listening to music, reading the lyrics and repeating them, makes you understand little by little in a better way and gets your ear used to the new language.
We all learn in different ways but any advice is welcome, so Nathalie from Language Experiences this article has suggestions in the reverse case (from Spanish to English) because she says that to improve her listening comprehension she performs similar actions and although she did not understand everything the same she kept trying and was improving and over time she saw the result, so there is no better way to achieve your goal than the constancy and the desire to do it. You just have to find the way that helps you and that you like the most to practice.