THE SIX MONTHS TERM

“Having a medium term goal will give you the motivation to begin with.“
The summer has gone by and autum is already here. I believe that November is a month of changes as days become shorter, temperature falls down and nature changes (at least in The Northern Hemisphere where I live).
November is a great month to fix new targets and start a new activity from scratch.
I will recommend you a very interesting one: listen to the Spanish Audio Lessons during 45 minutes- 1 hour everyday for the following months: November, December, January, February , March and April.
Before spring season you ´ll feel skillfull to speak Spanish and eager to practice with natives all you have already learnt. Probably you will be flirting with the idea of spending your summer holidays in a Spanish speaking country. Why not?
Turn your ears on and… start speaking Spanish!!!

Close the textbook and open your ears to improve your Spanish speaking

THE KEY TO SUCCESS: THE HABIT OF LISTENING

«Get into the habit of listening to Spanish everyday until it is something that you need to do and becomes a passion»

This is one of the most essential keys to success.

Our lives are full with daily habits that we get so used to that we end up having to do them. Think about all the things that you decided to start doing at a certain point of your life and make a habit of them: maybe eating healthier, playing a sport, giving a walk with your dog, playing an instrument, reading a book.

Are they habits that turned into passions or passions made into habits? I think it is both of them together. It is the perfect equation for success : «I do it because I love it and because I love it I need to do it daily. It makes me feel good and it also contributes to my health or intellectual well- being».

In the beginning It takes commitment and determination to change old habits and introduce new ones, but over time, habits become passions and passions become habits when we do them happily and enjoy the activity.

Imagine making Spanish listening part of your daily life for 30 minutes or 1 hour. And imagine you can also have the flexibility to do it whenever you find the time in this hectic life and wherever you want (while lying on the couch, running, going for a walk in the forest or during any idle time).

Which are your passions or hobbies ? Is learning Spanish a passion for you or a chore ? Leave us your opinion.

THE KEY TO SUCCESS: LISTEN TO INTERESTING MATERIAL

“Learn Spanish with a real, comprehensive and effective material which is seductive enough to keep you motivated”

I recall trying to learn languages by listening to audio tapes and CD´s, songs, movies, watching the news and all kind of material that was available in the market . I tested it all :

– Track 1- Listen and repeat «Excuse me Sir»- Me : «Excuse me Sir

o The tape – «Excuse me Sir»

o Me – «Excuse me Sir, excuse me Sir»

o The tape again, repeat – «Excuse me Sir »

o Me- «Excuse me Sir »- (but I am going insane).

After some minutes being all ears to a tedious mechanic and robot- like voice, ordering me to listen and repeat the same short and single sentence, I would soon become bored to death and increase my anxiety levels.

Next I would go to the other extreme and try with too difficult material for me, like decipher the meaning of metaphoric song lyrics or switch on the tv to listen to the structural adjustment package of the International Monetary Fund in Asia. None of this worked out, neither the basic audio tapes nor the metaphoric songs or the economic situation in Asia trapped my attention for a long time. I would lose my enthusiasm quickly and worst of all, I would blame myself for giving up and not attaching to those herculean efforts : -Maybe I should try harder- I thought.

Many years have past since my first experiences in learning a foreign language. I have tried to find the reason why failed in all these frustrated attempts. First I was not interested enough in the topic I was listening to. Second the material and methodology I was using was not suitable for my intermediate level and third I had no clear goals to achieve.

Now I know I shouldn´t have tried harder but find a more simple path instead. That is how I learn now. I listen to engaging material in my mp3 device. It is definitely working as I keep on being in high spirits with my progress, and I keep on going. I have learnt that simple solutions in life are always the best !!!

Did you ever have similar experiences? Which ways have you used to learn Spanish and how did it work for you ?

SPEAKING STRATEGIES: USE REAL MATERIAL

-“In the real world, conversations with sympathetic native speakers who are willing to help the acquirer understand are very helpful.” – Stephen Krashen-

By clicking the link below you will have access to a real conversation in Spanish. Kike met Carmen in the street and started to chat about Kike´s dog named Txomin.

They ended up discussing about animals in general. You also have the correspondent pdf text to follow the conversation:

3.MASCOTAS. CONVERSACION

Try listening to it once a day during a week and don´t panic if the first time you can´t understand 100%, it is normal. Do you think they speak too fast? It´s just a normal speaking rate, and if you travel to Spain you will hear much faster conversations than this one .It always happens that when we are learning a new language, we think that natives speak too fast.

Now, after one week of listening to this conversation, have you changed your impression? Do you still find It is too fast or can you understand the whole conversation without effort? Isn´t it great to understand what was just a jumble of words at first?

SPEAKING STRATEGIES: LEARN GRAMMAR BY LISTENING

Listening is the most effective way to learn grammar and to be able to use it correctly later”

At this stage you will probably wonder how can you manage to learn Spanish without studying grammar. How can that be possible? Yes, in fact, It is not only possible, but listening is a faster, easier and more effective way of learning than studying grammar.

Let´s practice how to learn grammar by listening. Are you ready? By clicking on the link below, you will gain access to an audio in Spanish called “Point of view “section:

 

 

2.MASCOTAS. PUNTOS DE VISTA. PDF

The Point of View section is the same story that you already have listened to in the Mini Story section but this time, instead of making many questions and answers, the story is told in present, past and future verb tenses. You will also notice that the story is told not only in different verb tenses but It also changes the main character who is telling the story.

All you need to do is relax and listen to it many times without memorizing, and pay attention to the changes made each time. Did you notice the difference? If you did, congratulations, you are learning grammar!!!

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.