SPEAKING STRATEGIES: ACTIVE LISTENING

“Active listening is a powerful technique, which makes the listener absorb the language intuitively by listening time and time again to the same structures and sentences”.

Studies have shown that to attain fluency in a language, you need to listen to the same structures and sentences between 50 and 100 times. Here you can find a practical trial to assess the benefits of active listening.

By clicking on the link below, you will have access to a 27 minutes length audio in Spanish, a Mini -Story with its PDF transcript:

1.MASCOTAS. MINI HISTORIA PDF

In this Mini -Story, Kike tells us a true story about a beautiful dog called « Txomin». The audio file contains many questions and answers made in an infinite variety of ways, and as you will notice they are all different from each other.

Now listen to the Mini- Story for the first time. Did you understand the point to this story? Perhaps you were able to get the main idea although you didn’t understand every single word or sentence. Don’t despair; this is normal.

Relax and give it another chance to familiarise yourself with Txomin by taking as much time as you need. I would suggest you listen to it, once a day for a week, and review the daily improvements that will come from listening to it more and more times.

The first time you listened to it maybe you understood only the main idea, or perhaps 50 or 80% of the story. However, by the end of the week, you may be able to understand the full story.

Have you noticed how some of the sentences in Spanish have stuck to your head and you feel like saying them out loud? If your answer is yes, congratulations! It means you are learning Spanish. Keep on working!

Otherwise, don’t give up and continue listening to the audio. But, if after a while you still find it really difficult, perhaps it would be convenient to try an easier material for you.     Free Audio Lesson. Txomin.

SPEAKING STRATEGIES: INTENSIVE LISTENING

“When learning Spanish, around 80% of the effort must be focused on intensive listening to real life conversations, recorded or spoken, by native speakers”.

Intensive listening is the keyword to learn how to speak Spanish effectively and successfully. What is the reason for this? It is the best possible way to acquire a language naturally, and to achieve the final goal of speaking fluently without thinking.

By listening, you will start to learn new sounds and the correct pronunciation of words, and you will be able to identify and use them in different contexts. The key to success is to listen to the same piece as a unit repetitively. It is faster and more efficient to learn sentences as a whole, rather than learning single words individually.

In the video below, Kike gives a great explanation  about the importance of the listening process:

Were you able to understand the main idea of the message he is trying to transmit?

If you did, congratulations, keep going with the good work and never give up!!

UNLEARN WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNT

“I believe that, by using the appropriate methods to learn a language, you become a curious and free thinker, setting personal learning goals and gaining autonomy”.

This process means changing old habits and creating new ones, unlearning things we already were taught at school, to get to know them in a different way, and approaching them with different eyes.

Research has shown that independent language learners are most likely to succeed in the long term. Do you agree with this statement? soy toda oidos

LANGUAGE SKILLS

To command a language means to possess the following 4 skills:

1-   Listen and understanding

2 – Speaking

3 – Reading 

4-  Writing

You can evaluate your personal strengths and weaknesses in Spanish, based on the above four skills. Which one of the four do you need to work on the most? Is it speaking? When learning a language in class, listening skills are quite often overlooked and consequently, speaking and understanding that language becomes the real challenge to achieve.

It is at this point, when it is necessary to become an independent language learner. On a personal note, it is quite a weird situation when someone asks me – Can you speak French? My answer is – Well, not exactly. I can’t speak it, but I manage well to read and write, so we can have written correspondence.

I wish I had spoken French before reading and writing, because that would have been much more practical for me, but I am determined to learn it. I hope you are determined too to learn Spanish. Yes we can!!!

IS THE SPANISH LANGUAGE DIFFICULT TO LEARN?

“Spanish is not a difficult language to learn, but the grammar can be quite challenging”.

This is the answer most Spanish learners give when asked about the difficulties they face.

The following are the most recurring issues:

–  The use of prepositions (“para” and “por” seem to be the most difficult)

–  A very high number of different verb forms (with the subjunctive tense being the hardest to understand)

–  The distinction in the use of gender (this is particularly challenging with languages, such as English, where there is no distinction between  masculine and feminine)

–  The use of articles

–  The use of pronouns

–  Where to place the accents.

All of the above take many years of learning for a native Spanish speaker too. It is not easy for us to learn all the rules by heart either.

The good news is that learning the correct use of grammar becomes much easier by being able to first understand and speak a language fluently.