How to learn to understand native speakers?
Hello everyone. I've been learning Spanish for about a year and a half now. I'd probably say that I'm at about an intermediate level in terms of reading and listening. I can read books at a B1/B2 level. I still have to look up words in the glossary but reading books at this level is not a struggle. I can also understand most of what I listen to when I listen to podcasts aimed at Spanish learners. The problem is that, when I listen to native Spanish speakers talking normally, I still understand very little. So little that most of the time I do not even have a general idea of what people are talking about. I want to be able to understand native speakers, so I have a couple of questions:
1. What have people found the most useful activity for improving your listening comprehension of native speakers?
I have tried just listening to content made for native speakers, such as podcasts. But I have found that even after spending lots of time listening to such material, I don't seem to get much better. Maybe I'm just getting better very slowly and don't notice and I just need to spend more time listening. But I don't want to be wasting my time doing something that isn't helping. On that note:
2. Does anyone know of any research that has looked into what technuiques work best for improving listening comprehension in relation to native speakers?
The problem I find is that when I listen to native speakers speaking normally, their speech usually just sounds like a blur of sound. I had an idea for a method to help overcome this obstacle, which would be to find content where native speakers are speaking naturally that includes a transcript. Then, I could read through the transcript first and listen to the audio after, and hopefully I would then have better success at picking out what people are saying. In that way, maybe I would be able to start learning how to understand native speakers speaking naturally:
3. Does anyone now where you can find content *with a transcript* where native speakers are speaking naturally?
I know you can find podcasts for Spanish learners that includes a transcript, but I don't really have much problem understanding this type of content. The ideal scenario would be to have a transcript for a normal Spanish podcast where people are speaking in a more informal conversational style. Such as this:
4. Will the fact that I can't understand native speakers speaking naturally mean that I will not be able to have conversations or make friends with native speaker when travelling to Spanish speaking countries?
This was the whole point of learning a new language. I was thinking that maybe at my current level I will still be able to find people that are willing to speak more clearly and simply when talking to you, and so perhaps this will still be possible. Or will the vast majority of people simply not have the patience for this?