Spanish Listening: Top Tips and Top 3 Resources
Listening to and understanding Spanish can be a very difficult and also daunting task whatever level you’re at; you’ve probably had that feeling where you’re listening to a recording in Spanish and boronia simply can’t understand a thing.
Luckily for us all, the internet now offers a range of Spanish resources to help improve your Spanish listening – from beginner to advanced level Spanish there are websites and courses for you to practice, practice, practice which is the only way you’re going to get better. In this article we’ve put together the best Spanish learning resources we’ve come across to do just this.
It is really important to listen to a range of Spanish around different themes and in different styles and eventually you’ll start to understand 80 or 90% of what is said, rather than 10 or 20% now. Make sure you are challenging yourself to learn new Spanish vocabulary and to really learn exactly what people are saying and the expressions they are using. This might mean listening to the same thing two or three times but you’ll see the results quicker if you persist.
1) The first resource we would recommend are the Notes in Spanish Podcasts available from iTunes – these recordings last around 10 minutes each and range from beginner to advanced level Spanish. This means you can follow them through at your own pace and listen to each podcast over and over until you are comfortable with the Spanish vocab and speech patterns they use. The recordings cover discussions about a range of different topics and are all free to download from the iTunes store.
2) The second resource for listening we would recommend is BBC Mundo, the BBC’s world service for Spanish speakers. The service offers a range of short, interesting news videos which will challenge an intermediate level Spanish learner, expanding their vocabulary and improving their listening
3) The third recommendation would be the Spanish national television and radio website RTVE.es. RTVE is a fantastic resource to improve your Spanish listening skills once you’ve reached an intermediate or advanced level. The ‘RTVE A La Carta’, or on demand service, provides hundreds of documentaries, soap operas and news broadcasts to help you improve your listening skills.
To begin with I would recommend watching the Spanish news because the language is clearer and therefore easier to understand – there is a huge choice of local and national Spanish news along with panel discussions and interviews so you can choose the programme that best suits your Spanish level; a good place to start however is ‘La Tarde’ or ‘La Noche en 24H’.
Once the news is mastered watching documentaries such as the Documentos series will help to widen your vocab, and finally watching soaps like ‘Amar en Tiempos Revueltos’ will challenge you to listen to difficult everyday Spanish conversation. The advantage over watching films is that Spanish is constantly spoken, especially on the news programmes – watching movies you often watch large chunks where the characters do not speak and this is an inefficient use of your time (although watching movies is still very useful).