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https://www.duolingo.com/louis1010

Do the Spanish really speak that fast?

Or is it just that I'm not used to hearing the language being spoken. I try to watch TV shows and listen to the radio but they sound like Busta Rhymes when they talk. Of course the more I listen the better I'll understand but do they still speak fast?

4 years ago

51 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
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Agree 10% with tinnmel.

As your ear is getting used to hearing Spanish and separating all the syllables into meaningful words, it can be helpful to listen to slow, simple Spanish. Check out Extr@ en Español on YouTube. The best quality video/audio that I've found is in the videos uploaded by ApfelstrudelXXX. Here is a playlist of most of those videos, but you'll have to find the last few by going to ApfelstrudelXXX's videos or doing a search. There are 13 episodes and whoever made the playlist failed to include part of the 12th and all of the 13th episodes. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6F08726B27FB4ED0

Also there is a podcast called "News in Slow Spanish" that is excellent. I think you have to pay for it now, but it's really, really good. Each week they release a new podcast that has news stories, a section on grammar, and a section on culture. The podcast can be downloaded via iTunes to your PC or iPod. Their website has flashcards, transcripts, etc. I think you can listen to a couple of episodes for free.

Finally, it can be helpful to go to YouTube and search for "documentarios espanoles" and watch them. Typically documentaries are narrated very clearly, have lots of visual input to aid your understanding, and have long pauses between sentences so you have time to digest what you've just heard.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/raans
raans
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You can subscribe to the podcast of "News in Slow Spanish" but it covers just one story (about 6-8 minutes). "Notes in Spanish — Inspired Beginners" is also a rather good podcast (but it has been discontinued after 30 episodes; there are several other podcasts from "Notes in Spanish"). It teaches some "real" Spanish words and they also have a short conversion in Spanish about a specific topic. I can recommend "A mi aire" as well, also kind of slow and if you use the website the sentences are highlight just in time (edit: as you listen to it; they say it is level A2/B1).

As to the speed: I think it varies and is sometimes a regional thing even in the same country or it even depends on the speaker him/herself. However, watching the news (or series) in Spanish on Spanish TV (RTVE or Mitele, for example) is sometimes really hard to follow. Someone from Mexico and another one from Colombia told me, in these two countries they speak rather slowly and clearly.

I sometimes use Spanish radio (RNE) as background noise. Oddly enough, at times, I pick up things without really noticing it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/yimantuwingyai
yimantuwingyai
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I grew up in California and all the Spanish I've ever heard for the most part is the Mexican accent, which is quite rapid. I used to know a guy (a soccer coach) who grew up in Spain and he, back when I was using limited Spanish to talk to customers, he would tell me how alone he felt because culturally he didn't have a lot in common with them apart from language. He also stood out for his use of "vosotros" which he felt was just proper Spanish. He usually spoke in English but when he would occasionally practice with me it sounded a little less clipped and hurried. The Argentinean/Chilean accent tends to be a slower one as well from what I've heard.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/palocortado
palocortado
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The Spanish guy's speech wasn't necessarily slower because he was from Spain. In some parts of Spain people speak a little slower (mostly Galicia and Extremadura, in my experience), but most Spaniards speak extremely fast. I lived in Spain and am very much used to the rate of speech, but whenever I run into someone from Valencia, I need to pay a lot of attention. They literally speak much faster than most people can read.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlejoPF
AlejoPF
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That's relative. for me, Chilean Spanish is much faster than Andean Spanish (Bo, Pe, Ec, Co) and perhaps than the Caribbean one.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/louis1010

Notes in Spanish my favourite podcast. I love the way they teach, as you said, "real" Spanish words. It's just the best!!!!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/disneybecca

You can get a subscription to News in Slow Spanish and get 30 minute episodes with more stories covered.

There is also a News in Slow Spanish Latino version

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/louis1010

Ye I just subscribed earlier and it seems very good

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/louis1010

Thanks, I actually watch Extra en espanol and love it and I'll definitely watch some documentaries but I'm not too sure I'll be willing to pay for the "News in Slow Spanish" but I'll have a look at it and see if it's worth it.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tinnmel
tinnmel
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It will slow down for you as you hear more, but it is faster. I saw a study that showed that the amount of thoughts conveyed in a given time is the same as English, but Spanish uses more syllables to convey those same thoughts. Therefore, the more syllables to convey the same thoughts makes for faster speech. But not as fast as it seems to you now.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kassandra8286
kassandra8286
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That's interesting that there was a study about it. I had the same theory - that because almost every word in Spanish has more syllables than the equivalent word in English (sometimes four to one!) they have to speak faster. My son said Japanese is like that as well.

It amazes me how people can understand fluent spoken Spanish, though. I can't imagine ever being able to, but I'm not giving up!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/louis1010

oh cool, thanks for that

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Resonance2001

The consonants in English carry more information than Spanish but Spaniards talk faster so the information seems to be about the same. The limit appears to be in the human mind itself. This will help: http://youtu.be/zUDqI9PJpc8

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/louis1010

Thanks for that video, it was really interesting (and a bit confusing)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MystyrNile
MystyrNile
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Not just the consonants; English has like 15 vowels depending on dialect(and how you count), while Spanish has 9.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Evisceratorium

According to recent linguistics theories, linguists believe that languages are spoken at a universal speed determined not by length of syllables, but by information density. In other words, all languages tend to communicate the same amount of meaning in the same amount of time. Because of this, some languages like Japanese and Spanish are literally spoken faster than English syllable-for-syllable, but this is because they have more "filler" words and so they need more syllables to communicate the same amount of information.

That being said, it'll sound less fast to you once you improve your listening skills to the point where you can pick specific words out of dialogue.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MystyrNile
MystyrNile
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Lojban speakers have to speak really fast then!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kalendulas

Though it makes sense and also explains that for example Germans with longer words do not speak specially fast, I think we didn´t consider also the culture variable. The fact that the same language, as they´ve already said here, is also spoken slower or faster depending on a geographical area within the same country, may explain part of it. We also tend, among with Greeks and Italian people, to speak a bit louder than the north countries in Europe.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/LauraBtls

Yes we do speak fast , I know it because spanish is my mother tongue , but varies you know , a mexican speaks faster than a colombian or an argentine , it also has to do with Spanish accents , it deppends on that , the kind of accent that you use in your spanish.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eey91
Eey91Plus
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As a native Spanish speaker I could say in some places people speak really fast, making it difficult to understand even for us, but this is not necessary and not really that common. You can always find useful sources to practice without having to struggle with this.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ForgedbyHistoria

Really interesting discussion here. I never thought about the syllables influencing speech rate. Everyone has pretty much covered this, I'd just like to add Univision as a resource. You can listen to their news reports on youtube. All of it is easy to understand after your mind adjusts to the manner of speaking. It just takes a lot of time and serious focus, which is quite difficult to do in the age of the internet...

The more you immerse, the easier it becomes. I've had times where I left the tv on in the background, understood what was said by passively listening, and have to wonder if that was English or Spanish. Weird feeling. Happy studies.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/lphoenix

TV can be very mixed. I don't watch Spanish TV much because it seems to be mostly news, novelas, comedies of the kind that I just never watch in English and really dislike. But just yesterday I watched a novela (with closed captions in Spanish) and understood everything--and I felt this was because of the slower pace and literal pauses between most sentences of dialogue that are typical of soaps--you get time to process. Then it was Telemundo Noticias where the captions follow too slowly to be of any use at all. I could not understand the rapid-fire anchor at all, but in several field reports, especially with women reporters, I could get a lot. The important thing with TV is that almost everyone you hear will be trying to enunciate clearly. In real life, few people do.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/SSVegeta

That Busta Rhymes part made me lol.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/louis1010

haha I'm glad you got the reference

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/benny43

Yes spanish people speak really fast. I know because my mom is 1/2 spanish 1/2 cuban and she speaks spanish very fast.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kmkeeley
kmkeeley
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The timing of Spanish and English is also different. English is stress-timed, so we enlongate important/stressed syllables and shorten the rest. Say, "I'd like to have a medium pepperoni pizza." The first 5 words are all rushed together and barely pronounced, whereas we take our time over the last three because it's the point of the sentence so we make it stand out. "Idlktahufuh meeeeedyum pprooooni piiiiiizza"

Spanish, on the other hand, is a syllable-timed language, so every syllable is exactly the same length. That's why it's so musical sounding but also we as English speakers don't get the extra split second every few words to process and we don't get clues as to what's important the same way that we do in our own language. Say ""I'd like to have a medium pepperoni pizza" with all the syllables exactly the same length and see how silly it sounds to us.

You do get used to the speed of Spanish over time, I promise. And just think of how difficult it must be for them to understand us when we lump all unimportant syllables together and don't pronounce them!

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/eggplantbren

I've been learning Spanish for a year now and have had the chance to listen to various native speakers. There is a definite tendency to speak quite quickly in terms of syllables per minute, however it's not universal at all. I've heard some quite slow Spanish speakers. The hardest I find to understand are people with a mumbly kind of speech (it seems like that to me anyway).

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/louis1010

I guess its something I'll just have to get used to

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FritzAnco
FritzAnco
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Es cuestión de entrenar tu oído, yo soy de Perú, y en ocaciones me resulta un poco complicado entender a los cubanos o colombianos, ellos hablan rapido y con un acento extraño...si deseas podemos practicar. español ... y tu me ayudas con ingles

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Isrianth
Isrianth
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Cuando solía ver televisión, pude escuchar varios tipos de acentos y la verdad no tengo ningún problema con enterder a los peruanos, colombianos, cubanos, etc. Pero los cantantes de reguetón son imposibles, ni idea de que nacionalidad sean...

En mi caso, me cuesta mucho entender a los británicos, también tengo curiosidad por escuchar a los australianos y neozelandeses. En mi opinión, en cualquier lengua hay personas de distintos países y/o regiones que hablan rápido, no es exclusivo de un idioma en particular.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlejoPF
AlejoPF
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acento extraño? :C .... jejeje creo que todos sonamos extraños en otro país. (las polladas y los carritos sanduicheros de la señorita Laura sonaban extraños para mí) :P

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Preste
Preste
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Just to add up to the fun.... Let me tell you that Spanish (just as in French -although to a lesser extent) DOES have liaison!!! But RAE (Real Academia de la Lengua Espanola = Spanish Language's Royal Academy) has never even hinted at the slightest likelihood of recognizing this fact. Gliding from the end of one word to the beginning of the next is something that -if aware of it- we would consider a sign of being lazy and sloppy. Yet, it does take place more frequently than ever imagined. I am not aware that this happens in Italian or Portuguese (and I speak them fluently, but then again they are probably too close to my own mother tongue for me to actually perceive any liaison.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Eey91
Eey91Plus
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That's true, but the main difference is that in Spanish (as in other languages like German) you pronounce everything that you write so this phenomenon does not depend on specific situations like in french.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AlexisLinguist
AlexisLinguist
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Agreed. It's much easier to follow along, even with the liason, because you can fill in the words with common sense. That is much harder with French.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Israelvj

Yes, spanish people speak very fast, but american people speak faster than spanish people.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Isrianth
Isrianth
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In my opinion, it's the same in both languages...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Preste
Preste
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In my opinion, we speak faster in Spain than we do in the highlands of Latin America (I was raised in Spain and the Latin American Highlands). Believe me, in general, in Spain we speak faster. Now, having said that, in the Caribbean islands and the coastal areas.. people do speak fast.. as fast as in Spain.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bykergrrl

Depends greatly what part of the US you are in. I was raised in the southern US. When I first lived in New York City I would get headaches from listening to fast talking New Yorkers.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/danguelo

I think it is the same in all languages. Some of the native people of every language tends to speak fast because they are use to it. It happens with english too, I just can't understand what people say on some videos I watch and I have to put the subtitles on if there are any.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sizzle1967

I often imagine that I probably sound as though I'm speaking fast to someone who does not speak english. I appreciate the post and the thread of suggestions that it conjured. As I am fortunate to work and live around native Spanish speakers, I quickly learned to say, "Hablas despacio, por favor."

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RuliRock
RuliRock
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Watch out!

"Hablas despacio, por favor" is like: You are talking slowly.

"Habla despacio, por favor" is like: Slow your speech, please.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/louis1010

But could you say "Hablas despacio por favor?

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/palocortado
palocortado
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In slightly dialectal language or colloquial speech, you could say that, but it's rather incorrect in proper speech and in writing. Literally it means "do you speak slowly, please? The most correct form would be ¿podrías hablar más despacio por favor?"

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kalendulas

Not even in colloquial speech you say that, never, hearing that sentence in the context of asking for slow speech sound clearly coming from a foreigner. To make the imperative is either "habla" or "hable", this last one when talking formally (like the Sie in German). Hablas is just the present form, makes no sense in that context. Watch out also about "subjuntive" (don´t know the name in English) verb forms...is actually the last form that native children learn and the same happens with non-native speakers learning Spanish...it is very difficult to use it properly.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kalendulas

You will agree, that even if said from few speakers in spain (most of the ones you named also speak another local language, sometimes their mother tongue is not Spanish) it sounds strange to most of spaniards and it is not common at all, simply sounds strange to most of us. I´ve just advised if someone wants to speak a correct Spanish and if not that correct, at least the most common one. Maybe my saying "never" was wrong then:)

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/palocortado
palocortado
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Not sure I agree entirely. Using the second person present tense conjugation as a form of imperative is reasonably common in certain regions. It's used reasonably often (although obviously, imperative is more common) in Galicia, Asturias and País Vasco in Spain. I've also heard it in Extremadura, in León and occasionally amongst madrileños.

In any case, it's only used in colloquial speech and never in writing.

I can't speak for any of the South and Central American dialects though. I have no clue whatsoever.

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/louis1010

gracias

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Talca
Talca
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Fast Spanish? Book a flight to Puerto Rico...

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/cherhart13

Lehttp://www.quepasausa.org/home/ave a new comment

4 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AmazonGX

like this youtuber he speaks so faster https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oz0hdMkQ_9w

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/La_Foca

No, when speaking Spanish you do not speak terribly fast (NOT saying they speak slow either). Different Hispanic islands, territories, etc. have a different way of speaking Spanish. Cubans speak quickly, Puerto Ricans (ME! ;) ) replace the rolled "RR" with an "L" instead. So maybe your listening to the wrong accents. Try finding one that suits you, and stick to it! :D

9 months ago