Real-world listening resources

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Real-world listening resources

Postby Catling121 » Mon Oct 28, 2019 8:12 pm

Hi all, I don't think I'm duplicating a thread, but if I am, I apologise profusely!

My main problem is my listening comprehension. I see that other people have had the same issues and I can confirm that transcription works wonders. However...

My problem is not understanding the news, the radio, or even one-to-one conversations in various situations. I live in Castilla-La Mancha, what they call 'Deep Spain', and honestly, I am really struggling to understand the locals when they talk amongst themselves. I mean, when I'm talking with someone, I understand about 75% of what is said and the rest I can fill in. But when I'm part of a group of 3 or more, my ability to follow their conversation is a real struggle. So...

My question is, can anybody recommend any specific resources for audio or video that contains actual, real-life conversations as people talk. The problem that I have found with most stuff online is that it's either scripted or an interview, and generally, this isn't the sort of raw "bar language" which I could really use help with.

I really appreciate any suggestions.

Kind regards,

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Re: Real-world listening resources

Postby jonm » Mon Oct 28, 2019 10:12 pm

Hi Chris,

I like a podcast called Notes in Spanish. The podcasters are a married couple from Madrid, Ben and Marina. Marina is native, and Ben is English but has lived in Madrid for many years, and his Spanish is very good. When he makes the occasional mistake, Marina corrects it. Each episode is about ten minutes of unscripted conversation on a particular topic, with lots of useful expressions. The advanced series is here, and they also have another advanced series that's similar except that following the Spanish conversations, they discuss in English the different idioms that they used in that episode.

And then this might not be to everyone's taste, but Jaleel10 turned me on to Auronplay's prank call videos, and they crack me up. The exchanges get quite animated, with lots of colorful vocabulary. :)

Hope you're having a great experience in Spain! I lived in Madrid for a few years and miss it. I can relate to finding it hard to keep up in conversation, especially in larger groups. Even when I understood what was being said, I always felt like I was a beat slow in coming up with something to add.
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Re: Real-world listening resources

Postby Versus » Wed Oct 30, 2019 12:37 am

Notes in Spanish is great podcast. I also like it.
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Re: Real-world listening resources

Postby coldrainwater » Fri Nov 01, 2019 6:35 am

I also vote for podcasts, especially for improving listening comprehension in peninsular Spanish. We have an ''official podcast thread" with various recommendations. Tactically, the approach I used was fairly simple, but required a bit of search time. I basically raid iVoox and listen to samples of each podcast under various categories (it is often the specific group and people that make it tougher to understand rather than it just being ''standup comedy'' or ''history'' etc). I don't download a bunch of episodes until I know what I have is tough enough to mimic what I cannot understand. Fortunately, the world of Spain-based podcasts is so incredibly prolific that I think you will find plenty to at least get you one nice rung up the ladder of listening. Tertulia after tertulia...

Edit: as a search technique, I like to listen for presenters that tend to get a little over-excited and have tons of enthusiasm. They tend to slur their speech a bit, elide some terms, and do various other fun things that make conversation real. The faster the better and don't be afraid to play it back at 110% (I find 110-125 to be the most I fiddle with playback speed and anything faster just gets totally unnatural). As a litmus test, you really should not have to speed it up to find it challenging (I sped some of them up mainly because I was really enjoying them even though they might have been a bit too easy at the time). Finally, podcasts often have some sound troubles in the transmission, which adds an extra challenge, making in-person easier to understand when you go back to it. I would not completely write off lone presenters either. Some can be a real doozy and tougher to understand than an entire group if you get the right one.

I should also note, that I wasn't in any way afraid to listen to 3-8 hours per day on many days of podcasts. At an advanced level like yours, volume + challenge can lead to major breakthroughs (and within a few months, at least based on my experience).
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Re: Real-world listening resources

Postby Catling121 » Thu May 14, 2020 10:39 pm

Hello everybody!

I just wanted to write here and say that I've clearly got some settings turned off because I had no idea that any of you had replied! I was completely unaware of all your contributions. So, despite the lateness, please accept my thanks for your suggestions! I'm going to look into them from tomorrow.

As an update, obviously a bit of time has elapsed since I posted the first message. I have noticed an improvement in my listening, particularly listening to television and radio. But conversational stuff is still difficult (not that that is likely to be a problem for the time being since we're not allowed to see each other!)

Thanks again for your contributions and sorry again for not replying sooner!

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