Becoming Frustrated with Spoken Spanish...any advice?
Recently, while talking with a native Spanish speaker, 'phone calls' came up. She said when she's making a call, she often uses "and this is what I thought I heard her say" cincuenta.
I was thinking~~Hmmm...cincuenta....cincuenta
So, I asked her, "Cincuenta?"
She said, Sí.
I said, 50? Really?
She smiled and said no, "se encuentra"...."se encuentra a María" (as in, Is Maria there? or Can you find Maria?).
And therein lies my problem.
I can read and write in Spanish fairly well, but I can only understand spoken Spanish, when it's spoken at a snail's crawl. When I know in advance what the topic will be, I get through it 'okay', but off-the-cuff, it's like listening to one long song....and I'm missing the rhythm of the beat. Just when I think I 'got it', I end up focusing on grammar and moods mid-sentence....then here come the pauses.
My Spanish speaking friends absolutely Hate it when I want to practice. They don't mind swapping e-mails en español, but they Run for the Hills when I want to converse en español. By the time I finish 'dissecting' their sentence and they "wait" for my response, neither of us remembers what the heck we were talking about. Ayyyy!
I'm not one to give up, but I'm becoming frustrated. I've had it up to Here with all the 'book knowledge' without being able to enjoy a smooth conversation. At this point, I'd be better off carrying a notepad and asking them to write down what they're saying to me.
At what point does it all come together? Do you guys have Any advice that will stop me from dumping all these 'textbooks' in the recycle bin?
Thank you in advance!
Check out the following post *** Transcription of the week (all levels) 2010 / Jan 18 *** by Carlos-F - I still have trouble understanding Spanish sometimes when it's not being spoken by a Mexican and though I've only tried transcribing one of these so far I found it really helpful because you can then go check your answer with the other answers and see if you heard it correctly.
Also, since I first started learning Spanish I've listened to the music. Try listening to songs and pause them and write down what you think you heard. Then check the lyrics and see what you heard correctly. You can find lyrics online easily for most songs if you don't have a cd insert. Just type a song name and "letras" in a search engine. Start with slow songs...something simple like José José.
I went through the same frustration. I looked around for months and finally ran across spanishpod.com. The newbie lessons are free, but they have five levels of difficulty.
Listen to the dialog and try to write it down as you listen -- they repeat it several times. The dialogs are very short, only four lines. And you can check out where you have gone wrong.
I have been doing this for only a month and my listening comprehension has really increased. The dialog is in normal speed and some words run together, so you learn how to hear word groups or patterns rather than separate individual words.
Best of luck.
Practice listening to Spanish on TV.
These are my favourite resources:
There are transcriptions and downloadable podcasts - for free. I usually listen to one podcast two or three times, then I consult the transcription and note some useful words and phrases.
In the midst of learning language and having a goal, don't forget to enjoy. Go to a country for 2 weeks, not with a tour.
Listen to Spanish soap operas. The overactiing is awesome.
Focus on parts of speech. Se encuentra and cincuenta, one is a verb, one is a noun. They would never be used in the same place when spoken.
I have state interpreting certifications and still get frustrated as I am not native. You need to learn without putting 2 much pressure on yourself. It takes years, 15 for me and a degree from UW. Still it's hard sometimes. Think of what is being discussed.
DEFINATELY TAKE A PHONETICS OR LINGUISTICS class. Certain sounds are pronounced a certain way in certain environments. Voy a aprender espaol for examply, is just voyaprender español. You need to take a linguistics class. Audit a 300 level Spanish linguistics classñ
Thanks for asking this question Dee, it has generated some very helpful suggestions,which I am going to try! I sometimes listen to Spanish radio on line, as that doesn't have the visual clues. ¡Buena suerte!
Dee, I felt frustration like yours when attending the language club dinners we have once a month. A friendly informal setting but I am a beginner without the listening skills. I thought of not going anymore and felt awkward since I was only listening and not contributing but realized that I needed to stick with it. It became a question of how important learning the language was to me. I accept that I am going to crash sometimes. My favorite line: "Yo estoy aqui a escuche y aprender" Note: a little red wine helps at dinner.
Read and listen once everyday no matter how little even if it's the word of the day. Buena suerte!
No te sientas desilusionada. Sigue todos los consejos anteriores. Mi consejo sería tratar de rodearte de gente que habla español. Si tus amigos que hablan español odian hablártelo, pídeles que no sean así y que te ayuden, como amigos, por lo menos algunas veces. Otra cosa sería pedirle a la gente que hable un poco más lentamente. Muchas veces la gente no tiene presente que tú aún estás aprendiendo español. No saben lo rápido que están hablando.
No te desanimes.
Don't feel disappointed. Follow all the previous advice. My advice would be to try to surround yourself with Spanish speaking people. If your Spanish speaking friends hate to speak it to you, ask them not to be that way and to help you, as friends, at least some times. Another thing would be to ask people to speak slower. Many times people don't keep in mind that you are still learning Spanish. They don't know how fast they are talking.
Don't be discouraged.
I feel the same. Understanding spoken Spanish is very difficult. I have no suggestions for overcoming this except asking you to be stubborn. Keep at it. It must come in the end. The podcasts that have been recommended by others will also surely help.
If you want to chat, with microphones on, to practice I would be willing. Just let me know.
I listen to a podcast called "News in Slow Spanish." It was difficult at first, but the more I listen the more I hear.