Speaking slowly or quickly: what is your opinion?

5
votes

Hi all,

A question for the Spanishdict.com community: do you believe listening to someone speaking more slowly in the language you are studying is better for learning than listening to someone speaking rapidly or at their native pace?

This question is on my mind, because I am part of a group learning Spanish and English in which most the participants are native Spanish speakers. When I read phrases in English at my natural pace, they tell me to slow down, that I am reading too fast although they are advanced students of English. Personally, I prefer when the Spanish-speakers read their phrases as quickly as they would in conversation; in my mind, this just gets the listener more accustomed to the rhythm of the language. I have learned much more listening to radio and movies in which the characters speak rapidly than I have listening to my teachers slowly instructing us in class. Not that the slow speech is completely useless; you can really hear the correct pronunciation from this. But at this point, I feel a benefit more from hearing more natural speech.

However, some of the Spanish speakers in the group always read slowly, although there aren't many English speakers that are true beginners in the group. They simply think it is more beneficial for learning to be able to really hear each word.

What do you guys think? What helps you more?

3529 views
updated MAY 28, 2010
posted by aceydoubleyou
May I suggest that you have not learnt because people are spesking quickly - but in spite of them doing so.
You certainly may, ian-hill! :-)

14 Answers

4
votes

Very interesting question. I have heard that it is always best to be immersed and to listen to the natural rhythms of the Spanish language.

However, I think there is something to be said for slowing down the pace a bit.

I think a combination of both would be ideal. I think that we should be exposed to slower speech in order to differentiate words and to learn proper pronunciation. We should also spend a good amount of time listening to the normal pace of Spanish speaking people. Keeping things at a slow pace continually will only lead to bad habits and will not prepare you for normal conversation.

updated MAY 28, 2010
posted by Nicole-B
Estaba pensando la misma. There is a nice itunes podcast called 'Hola Viajeros'. It is beneficial to listen to slower speech to help with getting used to hearing the entire sentence, but also we're going to have to be able to keep up at a normal speed!
2
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My answer: Both.

When you´re first starting out, you NEED to be able to hear what the speech sounds like slowed down to be able to at least guess what it might sound like at a natural ´fast´ speed.

Then with a bit a time, normal speed should be employed because if you stick with a slower speed, you´ll never get the hang of ´conversation speed´.

I have some sessions with some professors where I help their english speaking by listening to them and of course, talking. I slow down sometimes when they really don´t know what I´m saying or come across a new word or phrase, but for the most part, I like to keep it at a more-or-less, normal speed. Why? I feel like I would be doing them a dis-service if I didn´t, almost as if I were patronzing them. I know for me I wouldn´t want someone to talk to me super slow. I would feel like they think I was mentally retarded.

-Charlius-

updated MAY 30, 2010
posted by Charlius
:) lol
2
votes

My opinion is that if a student can't understand anything because it is too fast it is a waste of time even trying to listen.

Therefore teachers at least should slow down to a speed that gives the students the chance of understanding. As their ability increases then the speed can be increased.

updated MAY 30, 2010
edited by ian-hill
posted by ian-hill
What do you think for more advanced students? I completely agree beginers and even intermediate students sometimes can't get much out of listening to rapid speech.
Advanced or even intermediate students should / must be confronted with "normal" speed native speakers.
1
vote

I am wondering a little if the spoken Spanish will have changed very much because the soap is set in the 50's, (in Madrid) if any native speaker could give it a look and let me know I'd be grateful!

Sally, that would be

Amar en tiempos revueltos

updated MAY 28, 2010
posted by 00494d19
I think Sally wants to know if they are using a slightly older-sounding Spanish due to it being set in the 50s.
1
vote

I am still at the stage of easy frustration with the spoken language. I really struggle to understand what is being said. My favorite phrase is "Más despacio, por favor." So in answer to your question, the slower the better for me. Hopefully, someday...

updated MAY 28, 2010
posted by DR1960
1
vote

I hope everybody who is participating in this thread has seen this wink

Audi killer Anadaluz - Spanish

updated MAY 28, 2010
posted by 00494d19
1
vote

As language is there to express thoughts and share knowledge it seems a shame that the recipient might miss out because of the speed of the speaker.

If you're speaking directly to someone I would think that good eye contact would allow you to know if the hearer is getting the sense of your speech and if not then good manners as well as logic would dictate that you slow down or repeat yourself.

On the other hand you are a listener and not being spoken to directly, just being immersed in and listening to general conversation at the normal speed will help you absorb the rhythm if not the exact meaning - also an important part of learning a language smile

Solo mis pensamientos smile

updated MAY 28, 2010
posted by Kiwi-Girl
1
vote

Me encuentro que una mezcla de los dos me es apropriada. A veces me dejo eschuchar una program a toda juete!

I find that a mix of the two styles is appropriatel At times, I let myself listen all out!

updated MAY 28, 2010
edited by 002262dd
posted by 002262dd
1
vote

I definitely prefer when native Spanish speakers speak more slowly in their native language. I have great difficulty understanding and get little out of it when they speak too fast. Normal speed for them is generally too fast for me. Even in some of Paralee's lessons toward the end on this site where she is speaking completely in Spanish I frequently have to pause or rewind the video because she was speaking too quickly and I didn't understand everything. Of course it is good to also be exposed to hearing people speak at a "normal" pace but for learning I generally prefer a slower pace.

updated MAY 28, 2010
posted by fatchocobo
1
vote

For me, Neither of the 2 approaches is more better. Those who speak too slowly try our patience and lose our attention while those who speak too quickly tire us out, but this is a case to case basis.

The point in speaking is to keep the attention of those to whom you are addressing; therefore, your speed is critical if you don't want to lose their attention whether you are too fast or too slow.

updated MAY 28, 2010
posted by cassy_123
1
vote

I think it depends on the purpose of the reading. If the purpose is to understand what you read / say, then you should slow down so they can understand. If the purpose is merely to expose them to the sounds of English being spoken by a native, then you should probably maintain your speed (except that would be rude since they asked you to slow down...so you should probably slow down no matter what just because they asked).

Keep in mind, that I -- a native English speaker -- have asked other English-speakers to slow down because they were talking too fast for me. I would definitely ask this guy to slow down.

I always imagine that were I somehow to wind up in a Spanish-speaking country, my favorite phrase would be "mucho más despacio, por favor" for quite some time.

updated MAY 28, 2010
edited by webdunce
posted by webdunce
Reminds me somewhat of Brad Pitt in 'Snatch' as an Irish gypsy. (Although this footballer is from Liverpool). Jaliekdags? (Do you like dogs?)
jeje, I sometimes think I can understand anybody....even a guy like this, teaching very small children gives you a lot of practice! lol
1
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I like a mix. I've been watching a telenovela for about a month but I also find it good listening to Paralee in the lessons (although I'm only halfway through 4 so far), and Destinos which is definitely slower than the soap.

I am wondering a little if the spoken Spanish will have changed very much because the soap is set in the 50's, (in Madrid) if any native speaker could give it a look and let me know I'd be grateful! link text

It's called 'Amar en Tiempos Revueltos'. I'm totally hooked!

updated MAY 28, 2010
posted by galsally
1
vote

This is very interesting,I tried recently to listen to the young lady on Lomas, I was not doing too well so I slowed it down and it was atrocious , it sounded like a drunken man speaking from inside a drum. From that experience I would say speak at normal pace but be very articulate. thank you for the comments it is good to hear other members having similar experiences.

updated MAY 28, 2010
posted by ray76
0
votes

I agree with both Ian and Charlius.

I needed slow speech at first to differentiate the words that were spoken to me. Too fast, and it all blended together and I got nothing out of it.

Now, as my ability to understand increased the speed can also be increased. I can usually guess which words were spoken too fast in a sentence.

updated MAY 28, 2010
posted by --Mariana--