Spanish Audio (only) Course
I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good Latin American Spanish audio course. I'm currently using Duolingo and Rosetta Stone but since I'm a visual learner, I tend to rely too heavily on reading and I feel I need to force myself to use my ears more! I'm already watching some Spanish language things on Youtube but I'm wondering whether a Spanish audio (only) course would be helpful. Any thoughts?? Thanks!
Try watching one of these every day . http://www.learner.org/series/destinos/watch/ followed by http://www.learner.org/resources/series151.html . They start out very easy and gradually become more difficult.
Listen to the material (click on speaker button) at www.bliubliu.com , for instance the Short Phrases., and check yourself by looking at the text if necessary, then listen again until you can hear everything that is being said. The TTS engine there is not the greatest, and it has a European Spanish pronunciation, which is not what Duo uses, but trying to make out what it's saying really is helpful, when you work at it faithfully day after day. Just doing their "minimum daily dose" of five minutes of practice is surprisingly effective as the weeks go by.
Listen to the Spanish material at www.lingq.com (it is nominally graded by difficulty). Only read the text if you really need it. It's a paying site for the whizbang flashcard features, but the texts and audio are free to use and download.
Look for audiolibros online, and if you find something you like, get a copy of the corresponding text, to use when you just can't make out what the reader is saying. A web search will find plenty of amateur audio books in Spanish, for instance in blogs. Online stores like http://www.amazon.es sell professional audiobooks.
The suggestions to listen to Slow Spanish or newscasts or movies are great. If you don't want to use texts, then don't. Or at least do your best not to resort to them.
Keep working away and you'll improve. This is (for me, anyway) a sort of "breakthrough" process where you are at one level of ability for a while, then suddenly you improve dramatically but then stay at that level for another long while, then suddenly . . .
But be sure to listen every day. Even if you don't have any time, just tell yourself, "Okay, I'll listen to only one sentence," and listen to it. Almost always you'll listen to more than that.
Kim_Wilkins, yes! I can say from experience that utilizing audio-only materials greatly assists in the learning process. In fact, I would say that mainly utilizing audio-only resources is the best thing to do at the beginning stages of learning a foreign language. The reason is simple and obvious: it allows our ears to become accustomed to the new sounds, and it helps us to break through the communication barrier. It also forces us to think quickly with the new language (e.g. how to properly respond to a question). I've been doing this for Spanish and it has helped me to speak really early on, even if only on a basic level (but that will increase the more I do it). So, what am I using? Pimsleur! I love Pimsleur. I've been checking out Pimsleur materials from my local libraries, that way I don't have to worry about paying for the course. If you have access to Pimsleur materials at any of your local libraries, then I highly recommend you take advantage of that. Also, a fellow Duolingoist pointed me to a free audio-only online resource that I've been using for the past two days and I find it very helpful. It's called Language Transfer (www.languagetransfer.org). Right now they have courses in Spanish and Greek. They'll soon have courses in Arabic and Turkish. Be sure to check that site out too.
Let me add something. I notice a lot of people talking about Spanish t.v. and radio. While it's definitely good to watch/listen to such things (and I do this too), I believe such things will come in better use later on in the language journey, when you actually have a larger vocabulary by which to understand what you're listening to. The benefits of using an audio-only course (such as Pimsleur) is that you're actually learning the vocabulary in the process (you're told what it is). By the end of each lesson you can actually understand the meaning of what's being said. Here's what my daily routine looks like for Spanish:
1-2 lessons of Pimsleur (each lesson is 30 min.; I do this while driving or working on my computer)
30 min.-1 hr. of radio (again, while driving or working on the computer)
3-5 lessons on Duolingo
2-3 lessons from Language Transfer (these are short lessons, about 3-10 min. each)
Review and Speak to self/others (throughout the day)
The majority of this is audio-vocal-driven. The only visual thing is Duolingo.
I'm impressed with your dedication! I'm doing a few duo lessons and a few Rosetta Stones a day and a little bit of listening but I'm excited to start with Language Transfer and Pimsleur. Thanks again for your suggestions.
I've been using Pimsleur for Dutch, and I tend to agree with the recommendation. Its biggest fault is that it's rather boring (I do my lessons while doing something else that doesn't involve much thinking, like cooking or cleaning), BUT - it will dissect the pronunciation for you, and make you repeat things over and over again, until you can just shoot any phrase out without stumbling or thinking about how to shape your mouth around the words. It also uses two speakers (male and female) with slightly different pronunciation, so you don't just learn to imitate a single person.
Thank you DM86Ling! I just looked online and they have the Pimsleur programs at my local library so looks like I'll be checking that out tomorrow!
I'm glad you found it. Both Pimsleur and Language Transfer will be excellent accompaniments to Duolingo.
Google for Michel Thomas (paid or torrent) and Language Transfer (free) - pure audio courses
Try http://www.newsinslowspanish.com/ or the latin version http://www.newsinslowspanish.com/latino/?force_switch.Plenty of audio here and well supported and up to the minute with transcripts and exercises. Great value compared to other pay sites. Good luck
Ok here's my offerings: (all available for download from itunes podcast feed)
Coffee break spanish magazine - Coffee break spanish podcasts - Showtime spanish podcasts - Notesinspanish.com podcasts - Bueno Entonces - Newsinslowspanish podcast - Ya tu sabes podcast / pa que sepas -
Coffee break Spanish magazine allows you to watch street interviews and then the grammar and content is analysed later. Show time spanish from the radio lingua network is great if you are at a b1 level.
Also if you are feeling brave, why not give verbling a go. They have online classes throughout the day. You can watch classes for free, if you want to participate I think it costs $3 / class but there are unlimited classes on subscription. Verbling.com. I recommend Lorena, Vera, Ana and Moris as some of the best teachers on there. Watch a class it is free, plus you can see the differing teaching styles. https://www.verbling.com/classes/53a1ea7d2a93a49bf3000034?past_present=future_languages=es
Anyway hope it helps!
So many resources, so little time! :-) I am late to this party but thought I'd add my 2 cents in case anyone is still following this discussion today.
I just started my adventure in Spanish about 4 weeks ago. I use Duolingo and also Memrise which is similar but uses a slightly different approach with some overlap of content. I just started following the Complete Spanish course at http://www.languagetransfer.org, and the technique is amazing! It's all audio and I am a visual learner, but it forces me to listen rather than get distracted by what I see. It presents Spanish in a very unique way that I've never heard before. The videos are short and, for me, addictive.
I'm going to look into the other resources others have shared. I hope you found what you were looking for!