I just thought to share an excellent free resource I’ve been using recently to improve my listening comprehension skills in Spanish. Some of you may have already heard of the ‘Easy Languages’ Youtube channel, others may not. Basically ‘Easy Languages’ is a Youtube channel where volunteers make short videos of them going out and about in real life and talking to real people (native speakers of their language) about a wide variety of different subjects. It could be what they’re doing today, what they do for a living, what the happiest moment of their life was, what they think about their city/country, what their favourite films/foods/drinks/books are etc. Because they’re talking to real life people of all age groups and backgrounds and it’s all completely off the cuff, it makes it more authentic, exactly like what you might encounter when talking to a native Spanish person.
There are ‘Easy Languages’ channels for many different languages, including Spanish.
I’ve found it works in conjunction with the ‘SSI’ Spanish course and listening practices in the following way:
Listen to 1 or more of the listening practices from SSI Spanish to acclimatise your ears/brain to hearing and comprehending fast Spanish (ideally you should be doing this every day for at least 5 minutes anyway).
Pick a video on ‘Easy Languages Spanish’ about a subject that interests you.
Youtube now has an option to speed up or slow down videos. I recommend watching the video at 2x speed the first time through. Don’t worry about understanding it, just watch and listen. Btw, although the videos come with subtitles, just divert your eyes away from them (easy to do) and focus on the words you’re hearing and the rest of the video. By NOT looking at the subtitles, you’ll force your ears/brain to listen and make sense of the words you’re hearing.
Next, watch the video at normal speed, again without looking at the subtitles. You’ll be amazed at how slow and clear everything sounds. Of course depending upon how big your Spanish vocabulary is, you will likely not be able to comprehend every word yet. Don’t focus on the words you DON’T understand, simply focus your mind on the words you DO understand. Then make an educated guess at what was said.
Watch the video through again at normal speed, and this time look at the subtitles to see how close your educated guess was compared to what was actually said. Feel free to make a note of any words you didn’t know.
Then watch it again, this time without looking at the subtitles. Your brain will fill in the blanks you didn’t previously understand because you’ve now looked at the subtitles.
Do this regularly and you’ll see a massive improvement in your listening skills.
Here is the link to all the street interviews from ‘Easy Spanish’:
You can see the rest of their videos in their Youtube channel also.