Practice your Spanish: as easy as pressing play
July 1, 2013 Leave a comment
Listening is easy. If we can hear, we can listen, and we are always doing it, whether we want to or not. When you were a baby (and even before you were born) you listened to sounds and your brain learned about language, even when you couldn’t speak yourself. Listening is one of the easiest ways to practice a language, because if the language is going in your ears, your brain is doing something with it. Here are some resources to listen to Spanish on a regular basis and help your pronunciation, vocabulary, and language skills improve.
Passive listening is also called listening for the main idea. With passive listening, you don’t worry about understanding everything, or even knowing specific words. Passive listening is about understanding the gist of a passage, the idea of a song, hearing the way words are pronounced and being exposed to different accents. Even if you can’t understand anything you hear, your brain will pick out certain sounds and remember them when you hear them later.
News in slow Spanish: http://www.newsinslowspanish.com/ Just as the title says, it’s the news, in Spanish that is much slower than the speed people normally speak. Each episode starts out with a brief (but slow) recap of the week’s news. Then there is a short grammar lesson and discussion of a Spanish idiom. On the website you can also read transcripts of the episodes and do other interactive activities.
Intermediate and advanced:
What do you like to listen to? Whether it’s the news, sportscasts, music, TV, or movies, there is something in Spanish out there for you.
Music: July is our favorite month for Spanish-language music here at Bilinguish. We publish our Maratón Musical, with a new Spanish-language song plus activities or suggestions for ways to listen with friends, with a new song every Tuesday and Thursday. Check out the 2012 Maratón Musical songs here: Maratón Musical 2012.
Click here for all the music videos we have posted recently on Bilinguish: música. And don’t forget to check back every Tuesday and Thursday for a new Spanish-language music video.
News and sports:
TV and movies: If your TV provider has a Spanish channel, check it out. You can probably find comedias or telenovelas (soap operas) in prime time, movies dubbed in Spanish, and variety shows. Depending on where you live, you can also stream TV clips or episodes online from these channels: MTV Latinoamérica, El Trece (Argentina), TV Azteca (México), TeleMedellín (Colombia), La Sexta (España), or look through this list of TV stations from Latin America, this list of TV Stations in Spain, or watch the TV station in Guinea Ecuatorial (yes, it’s in Spanish!).
Active listening is also called listening for specific information. These are some listening activities you can do to practice your Spanish. They usually involve listening to a short conversation and answering questions about it. With active listening, your goal is to pick out and understand specific words to meet a small goal.
The National Spanish Exam is a contest for students of Spanish in the United States. The NSE website has online practice exercises for all levels. You listen to ten short audio clips and answer a question about each one, then get your score.
NSE Level 1 Practice Exercises
NSE Level 2 Practice Exercises
The University of Texas at Austin has a collection of listening comprehension exercises organized by level and by topic. You can watch videos, download audio for your MP3 player, or listen to the podcast.
Beginning Spanish proficiency exercises from the University of Texas at Austin
For intermediate learners:
Intermediate Spanish proficiency exercises from the University of Texas at Austin
Audiria.com is a website with a variety of audioclips and some videoclips for Spanish students. The activities are labeled by level, but even the beginning ones are fairly complex, more suitable for intermediate learners.
For advanced learners:
Advanced Spanish proficiency exercises from the University of Texas at Austin
Las voces de las mujeres: entrevistas con mujeres en Guatemala, México, País Vasco, y la República Dominicana