Can anyone give recommendations for ways to improve listening and speaking?
I am sure that this has been posted before but here goes.
I am on my second stage of my self-directed language leaning. Duolingo has been immensely helpful (I never thought that I had the ability to understand another language), regarding an overall understanding of Spanish; with the emphasis on reading and writing. However my weak areas are still listening and speaking...
I am wondering what you have all been doing to improve these areas of comprehension.
Ideas that have worked for you or others.
Websites, vlogs, movies anything that you have found has helped you.
Techniques anything really.
What I have done: Look at extr@ on YouTube (Spanish => English episodes). Lots of stuff on Youtube. There is a free video series called "Destinos" and the BBC languages site has a series called "La Vida Loca." Spanish language DVDs, Netlix, and old CDs and lab manuals of college Spanish classes. The university of Texas has a language site where you can listen to native speakers. If possible, hangout with Spanish speakers at the local Mexican restaurant, etc. and you may find someone wanting to learn English and you can do an intercambio. I keep Spanish radio on a lot (streamed on computer if you can't get one on the radio -- Google "La Mera Buena" for a station in Minnesota with Mexican Spanish) I get a few Spanish language TV channels in my cable package. Much is spoken too fast, but if I watch something like baseball or football, both futbol and NFL, I can follow pretty well because I know the vocabulary, likewise CNN. Childrens' DVDs and programs like Dora the Explorer are good because the vocab and pace are well, for kids. ;) For speaking I do a lot of pre-planning what I am going to say before entering a Spanish-speaking tienda, restaurant, bus station, etc., whether in the US, Argentina, Mexico, and I ask people to help me and correct me. Stopping in a Mexican restaurant in mid-afternoon when things are slow is a good time to chat with a bore but perhaps talkative native speaker.
I have found a podcast that I like to listen to; it's called "Notes in Spanish." It has a varying levels from beginning to advanced and provides plenty of conversation spanish as well as learning the technical aspects (estar vs ser, por y para, etc). I hope you are able to find something that helps!