I wanted to provide an update to my original post.
After some great recommendations and experiences shared by those on this thread (thank you!) I have tried to shift my focus more towards my listening comprehension as it was so far behind my reading. As many of you have said, this is natural given how difficult listening comprehension is to acquire.
I have tried to read the same amount to continue growing my vocabulary, but wanted to listen more to improve this side of things. Which means, more total exposure to Spanish. Some things that have helped:
- When I walk the dog in the morning I wear my headphones and listen to Spanish only. Usually some short stories that I have read before.
- Dreaming Spanish YouTube videos. These have been great! I have filled in some dead time by watching these when I have dinner. The key is that I really trying to listen to the words rather than just letting them pass by. I am watching the intermediate videos now and most of the ones with Pablo that I have watched, I understand pretty much everything. I flirt between INT and BEG levels to get different levels of exposure and love how comprehensive input is developing my listening abilities.
- Listening while commuting. This has been great and I find it easy to listen on the way to work, on the way back is a different story and I have a tired mind and struggle to pay attention to my TL. Does anyone have experience with this and what did you do to help this?
- Watching Spanish shows on Netflix. I need to do more of this. I don't watch much TV as it is but watching some Spanish shows after work with a tired mind is another way to get the language in and the cherry on top to my learning and my day.
- Generally trying to make the most of my time. Can I get as much exposure to the language as possible without it being overkill and it becoming a drain. I like the challenge of trying to learn more and I feel like with some intense exposure over the next few months I am going to make huge gains. I already feel like I have.
Ultimately, the progress I am making with acquiring new words is slowing, but I am still progressing. Words that I know feel a lot more 'stuck', and they are embedded well in my long-term memory, generally. This gives me MORE confidence to keep going, and actually do more!
Thanks! I've done all the mini stories and Who Is She but can't seem to locate the podcasts.
ohhhhhh reading is always MUCH MUCH easier !
ohhhhhh leer siempre es mucho mucho mas facil !
My story is the same as yours. I also tried to learn Spanish with different programs. I have a question about reading. How does everybody read. Di you translate every word in their minds. Or do you just read like it would be your native language. I am at story 13 at the mini stories. I understand the story without translating it in my mind. Of course first I had to learn the vocabularies. Listing is the same. I watch enchuveTV on YouTube. Short comedy videos.
After 18 days, listening abilities shouldn't even be entering your mind. It takes thousands of hours practice to tune listening to a level where you can understand a lot of what you hear in the wild (in most native TV shows/movies too).
Reading is easier because you can take all the time in the world you need. Listening is quite a different skill, even though it's closely linked for obvious reasons. I'm at around 4-5k hours of learning Spanish, with probably well over 1k hours of listening practice, and I still have lots of trouble listening. I can read almost anything.
From what I've heard, there will always be some things you can't understand, no matter how good you are. I sometimes watch reaction channels on YouTube and almost all 'English as a 2nd language' speakers use subs when they watch the shows/movies they're reacting to. When they talk, they're really quite fluent, so that just shows you how tough listening can be.
"I usually hit a minimum of 5000 words read per day and then I can relax."
I have to say, this statement worries me somewhat. Just remember that learning a language can't be rushed. After just 18 days, stressing over hitting 5k words/day isn't sustainable and will almost certainly lead to burn out.
We all have this kind of enthusiam when we first start, but there's no need to stress about it at this stage. If/when you get to a more advanced stage, you'll realise that this early stage meant very little in the grand scheme of things. The most important thing is that you find ways to avoid dropping it altogether.
It's such a fun ride, and I hope you stay with it long enough to enjoy the breakthroughs. Just be careful with your expectations at this early stage.
Thanks for the reply, it’s good to get an idea of what other people have gone through before to get an idea of how easy certain aspects are to pick up. I am trying to listen more to some easier content to bring this aspect along.
I will push back on the 5k comment though. For me, I am really enjoying reading so this is not a stress at all, maybe I phrased it incorrectly. I am not ‘stressing’ over reaching this target. I have exceeded this amount everyday and without any stress. i enjoy reading and my speed of listening has picked up a lot while reading. I like trying to hit this target as it gives me a carrot when I have come home from work and I have only read a little in the morning for example. Rather than watching TV or some football, I would read for another 30 mins to hit my target. It’s what is working for me and the momentum I have built up has given me even more enthusiasm to carry on as with the sheer amount of input I have received, I can see progress quicker.
I enjoying the journey :)
OK so the reality?
If you do 2-3 hours a day, half and half between reading and watching laddered up youtube videos (starting with "TPRS", working your way through slowly spoken spanish then to native speakers) over a period of six months, then for sure you'll get to low intermediate comprehension.
Don't expect reading by itself to work for listening comprehension though.
That would be a good level to get to. There content will become a lot more interesting for sure. I am looking to listen more to help as well. The video suggestion is good, I have started watching Dreaming Spanish videos and they are very good.
I am hoping that a combination of those videos, listening to podcasts, my daily reading (with listening) and music should get my exposure to around 2-5 hours depending on which day it is (if I am commuting or not etc).
Should be a fun journey :)
That's good. Yeah, it was "and then I can relax" part that worried me as it sounded like you weren't relaxed whilst reading. If you're enjoying it that's all that counts.
Don't forget that even if you don't hit those targets, or even if you leave the language for a day or two, it doesn't mean you've failed (I realise you probably realise that but I thought I'd mention it just in case). I've often had periods without any contact with Spanish but despite that my level continued to improve.
If I could truly understand one thing when I first started - and not to take it lightly (which I did) - it's that learning a language (to a high level) is 100% about the big picture, about doing all you can to stay the (very) long course.
I read that advice when I started but I didn't fully understand it until I got deep into this journey. Finding a way to keep showing up is the only goal you'll need. 👍
I’m heading through the LingQ Spanish podcasts on the app and they have been good with a lot of variety. I like to read about football as well as this is something that I am passionate about.
That’s great advice though thank you. Motivation and enjoyment over a long period of time win in so many aspects in life!
How do you find the LingQ Spanish podcasts? I still struggle a bit to find my way around LingQ. I tried doing a search but no luck!
I find reading so so much easier than listening! I actually started out with Pimsleur and am on level 4. I used to always "listen and repeat" as they tell you to do because I did that while walking our dogs. But now I play it while I'm cooking or showering or house cleaning. Sometimes I listen to lessons 4 or 5 times if I'm not fully paying attention. I wish I could import those lessons into LingQ because I know a lot more words than it shows on LingQ.
When I started with LingQ I did all the mini stories and Who Is She and then I imported the by Olly Richards. I was enjoying reading and felt like I was learning vocab, but I started to worry that I was reading too much and not listening enough because I still couldn't understand most of what native speakers were saying. So I started watching the Dreaming Spanish YouTube videos and I feel like that has helped tremendously. Although a lot of them are not Latin American Spanish, he has added more Latin American instructors. Yesterday I was at lunch with a big group of friends and half of them don't speak English. I was surprised at how much more Spanish I understood since starting Dreaming Spanish. I could follow along on the majority of conversations. Except for the one "fast talker". :) I usually watch a Dreaming Spanish lesson on YouTube using Language Reactor for dual subtitles. I know this isn't his recommended method, but I like the added bonus of reading along, even if it's not always a perfect translation. After watching it on YouTube I import it into LingQ for a lesson (something I wasn't doing earlier on which is partly why my stats are all so low!).
All that being said, I feel like I need to have more of a balance between reading and listening to help boost my vocab faster, so I'll probably add in more reading again this week.
Thanks for the advice Suz. I will have a look into Dreaming Spanish and see how I get on. Did you import Ollie’s book or audiobook?
I did and I tried to make it a shared lesson but it says it's a generated audio and isn't a valid audio to share a lesson. Not sure if there is something I'm doing wrong?
If you would like to boost your stats, you can watch the video on your lingq lesson when you are on the pc. On the mobile app it only seems to count listening time if you listen to the audio. I wish they would fix this so the videos would count for listening time when using the mobile app.
OMG is that a Boxer in your profile picture?! I have a boxer too! they are the best!
Yes it is! She's with me now! She's a 2 year old so still full of energy! How old is yours? They are brilliant dogs :)
My dog is 3 years old! You can check out his instagram if you want to see him! "andytheboxer123" on IG
He has so much energy too! He's so crazy in the mornings!
MarkE I want to see him! I sent you a follow request on Instagram. :) We adore our Boxer boy!
She's beautiful! We adopted a 7 month old Boxer here in Mexico about 7 months ago. We have 3 other dogs and have had many, many dogs over the years. We both agree that he's the best dog we've ever had! But yes, SO full of energy! He is the happiest dog on the planet. He never watches where he's going and he slammed into me 2 weeks ago at full speed on a walk resulting in a pretty bad ankle sprain. I'm in a boot for 8 weeks and still on crutches. But he's worth it! We love him so much!
When I first started German I was really heavily focused on reading mainly and would hardly get any listening at all. I figured how can I comprehend anything meaningful people are saying if I don't know the words. If I know the words then I at least will have a chance to understand what I'm hearing.
(I will still miss a lot of words in the beginning, but at least I have the potential to understand)
I think that you focusing more of your time on reading is a great approach!
It's not until much later that I find that my listening comprehension is catching up to my reading. Vocabulary really is like the foundation. And the quickest way to build that foundation is through a lot of reading.
Listening is still important in the earlier stages, but I totally hear what you're saying. It's hard to get listening in, because most content is too hard.
Thanks for the insight Mark. I feel like my comprehension has come on leaps and bounds and a lot of random Spanish words and phrases will be in my head during the day because of the sheer amount of reading that I am doing.
What sort of material did you listen to in the beginning?
In the beginning I want to say I spent a lot of time on the "Mini Stories" and the short story on LingQ called "Who is she?"
Then I spent months going through the podcast called "Easy German" They make podcasts that are completely in German with transcripts.
I know that "Easy Spanish" does the same thing! I don't know if you are familiar with their content already, but that's a great resource!
You do have to pay monthly to get access to the transcripts though.
"Easy Spanish" is going to be difficult in the beginning.
It'll probably too many blue words at first to listen and Lingq at the same time. I remember at first I would just lingq half of the podcast then listen to that half while reading. Then do the next half.
Because reading and lingqing the entire thing then listening to the entire thing was too difficult to remember what they were talking about. Eveually though, you’ll be able to listen and lingq at the same time. Once you are able to do this your known words and words read stats are going to sky rocket!
Thanks for the tips Mark! I think I have come across one of Easy Spanish's videos on Youtube in which they were asking people in Barcelona where they are from.
I will get cracking with some Easy Spanish tomorrow. I am keen to listen to more real conversations and Lingq at the same time to get some regular exposure to phrases that I can use when I start speaking and really embed them into my memory.
Some of the videos are labeled "Super Easy Spanish"...those are usually more simplistic and focus on specific grammatical topics. They are usually easier to understand compared to the street interviews (depending on your level).
WANT TO LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE?
Learn from content you love!Sign Up Free