Listening to Spanish can be fun and fulfilling in your journey to mastering the Spanish language at home, while you’re driving, while you’re working out, or any other daily activity. But before we talk more about this, I want to give you some insight into listening to Spanish. This may sound a little abrubt but its the honest truth.
Listening to Spanish can sometimes be a cop-out to actually sitting down and learning Spanish.
Why? Because its easier than the other modes of learning. You’re simply listening and soaking it in. You’re not having to force your brain to really identify with visual objects. You don’t have to respond vocally to anyone. Your brain is not being tested to conjugate any verbs or form any sentences. It’s important to remember that learning Spanish is not about checking it off your to-do list for the day. Its not about posting something on Facebook telling people how you just knocked out your Spanish lessons for the day. Its not about snapping an Instagram photo of you listening to a lesson of Spanish. Learning Spanish is a personal triumph – involving no winners. Its just you and your brain learning to communicate and see the world in a whole new light. I know, this sounds all spiritual and crap, but its the truth.
So, back the point. If you’re just using Spanish audio lessons to fulfill your Spanish learning quest, you’re only going to learn about 10% of Spanish and you for sure will not get the point of speaking in Spanish. Its one small piece of the holistic pie.
HOWEVER, its an extremely important piece of the Spanish learning pie. Here’s a few reasons why.
Learn to Hear Voice Intonations and Fluctuations
One of the most frustrating things for me, a native English speaker who learned Spanish, is to hear other Spanish as a second language speakers completely suck at pronunciation. Pronunciation of double r’s, failure to emphasize hyphenated letters in certain words, and so on. These little verbal aspects ARE Spanish. When you leave them out or skip trying to say them correctly, you actually say words that have nothing to do with the sentence you’re trying to convey. Use listening to Spanish as a way to really hear how the Spanish speakers are using their voices and emotions when pronouncing words and sentences.
Visualizing People, Objects, Emotions, and Scenarios
As much as visual identification is important to vocabulary learning, seeing the conversations WITHOUT any visuals is equally important. If you’re talking to someone in Spanish on the phone or listening to someone in Spanish on the phone, you need to be able to visualize what they’re telling or asking you. If you can’t, there’s no point – might as well hang the phone up. When you’re listening to Spanish, really try and see the object or situation when you hear the words coming from someone else. Don’t just tune them out like a song. Think of audio learning like a dream you’re having. This will not only help you learn Spanish faster but it will make your Spanish audio learning lessons much more complete and memorable.
Learn to be an Active Listener and NOT a Passive Listener
This point has less to do with Spanish and more about just being present in situations as human being. This will make you a better conversationalist and a better friend/spouse/parent/student etc. Becoming present in the conversations you hear, whether you’re a part of them or just a spectator, will allow you fully remember and process the points, emotions, and meanings of the conversation. This applies directly to your Spanish audio lessons. If your brain is off in never-never land thinking about all the tasks you have for the day or all the worries you have on your mind, you’ll only process about a small percentage of the lesson. You’ll then need to listen to the lesson another 20 times until you’ve ACTUALLY heard the whole thing. Train your brain to stop, focus, and repeat points that you hear throughout the lesson – even if the lesson is only 5 minutes long. By doing this, you’ll not only improve your Spanish learning environment, but you’ll also improve your personal communication and understanding skills as a human being.
Here are some great Spanish audio resources:
These are great for several reasons. One they typically follow a series of themes so you can learn things in sequences rather than just jumping around all the time. Also, there are many free Spanish podcasts available for you to listen to.
Spanish Audio Lessons on YouTube
This is great if you’re sitting down and on your computer. Often times, these Spanish audio lessons are also video lessons so you can see people pronouncing words, reacting to comments with facial expressions and hand gestures, and much more. There are a few Spanish audio lesson YouTube channels that I like but one that really stands out, and its free, is LightSpeed Spanish. Its a Spain Spanish based channel so the pronunciation of words is a little different than Latin American Spanish, but nonetheless, still great and still free.