https://www.duolingo.com/DnHrrs

Reading/Writing vs. Speaking/Understanding

How have you Duo-Lingers made the jump from having a 2,000 word vocabulary and still not being able to speak much? I have nearly finished my tree and still find myself only understanding about 15% of spoken Spanish. What can I do to improve this since I live in a place with no Spanish speakers?

3 years ago

18 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/eleanorlh

Try listening to Spanish podcasts and reading Spanish newspapers. I grew up in Los Angeles, so I find that despite being barely level nine I can usually figure out what Spanish speakers are talking about like half the time I hear it spoken, just because I'm so used to the general flow of it. The more you hear a language spoken, the better your comprehension will get.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Rob2042

Not having any Spanish speakers around is a real disadvantage. To speak Spanish you have to practice translating your English sentences to Spanish. You can make up things to say in your head or you can do as I do and translate articles from English to Spanish. Understanding spoken Spanish is a lot different. Once again, it involves practice but in the form of listening. I listen to the radio and watch telenovelas. I have also watched videos on YouTube and other sites where the speaker is talking slowly. A fast speaker is worthless. One must crawl before one can walk.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MollyAFM

I would recommend listening to spanish television with english subtitles. It's easier than seeking out someone to speak with in spanish and it's enjoyable :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DnHrrs

How do you turn on the subtitles? When I try to do the CC button nothing happens?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MollyAFM

What I do is watch the spanish version of a movie/tv series on dvd, and it'll often have english subtitles. I don't know how to do it on any other place for watching tv/movies, but there is a series called "Extra en español" on youtube that is targeted towards spanish learners, so even though it doesn't have subtitles I am able to understand a lot of it.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Efian

Hi there, much like others are saying, try podcasts and television series and making Spanish speaking friends. If I can recommend some of these for you, tryout Coffee Break Espanol and Audiria (My holy grail go-to Spanish podcasts). Go to telemundo, the website, for some good spanish series, there are some with subtitles but you're gonna need to do some digging to find their full episodes. There is also Extra, an originally American adapted to Spanish old-fashioned series that can be found on youtube. It's a little cheesy which makes it perfect for Spanish learners because it's easy to understand. As for making Spanish friends, if you're not really being exposed or have the opportunity to be exposed to Spanish speakers (much like myself due to my environment) try Sharedtalk.com. Perfect website for language exchange (any language) for both voice chat and text chat with like minded learners.

Hope I was helpful to you. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/knos15
knos15
  • 25
  • 11
  • 5
  • 2
  • 2

Listen, listen, listen. Try your best to differentiate between the words being spoken, even if you do not know what the words mean. As, you listen, you could try and write down the words that you do not understand and look them up later.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vcel10
vcel10
  • 25
  • 22
  • 12
  • 6
  • 4
<h1>Here's a bad analogy.</h1>

A young boxer watches video footage. He's in they gym lifting weights, running, and plyometrics. He shadow boxes all the time. Then he feels he's ready to begin an amateur career as a boxer. He gets knocked within seconds. He's tryiing to figure out what went wrong?

He never sparred with anyone.

There are many language learners that fret over grammar, split infinitives, they can write well, match gender and plurals, and they know 2,000+ kanji. They can also read Cien años de Soledad without translating the text in their heads. Are those language learners actually talking? Are they afraid of sounding dumb or uneducated? DuoLingo forces your to engage words and sentences but you're not talking.

The solution to being able to understand what you're listening to is REALLY simple. Like many of the other commenters said, just listen. I would strongly suggest you listen every day.

Side note: Sparring everyday is not strongly recommended.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DnHrrs

Great replies so far. Does anyone have any experience with finishing a tree on DuoLingo? Can I expect to be able to take my vocabulary and use it to listen, or will it be good only for reading and writing? I am on track to finish the tree in 3 weeks.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vcel10
vcel10
  • 25
  • 22
  • 12
  • 6
  • 4

You should not wait until you finish your tree to start listening. There's really nothing in your way at the moment. What if Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin , David Karp or Lebron James waited until they finished college to make sure they were certified, received their degree, to be good enough? It's another exaggerated analogy but I think it is applicable in an odd way.

Babies don't wait. They start listening to their target first langauge and 2nd language depending on their environment. Listening requires no effort on your part, just soak it in. Don't worry if you don't understand everything. I finished my tree, and I'm working on my reverse tree but I've been listening well before I started DuoLingo. Eventually when I get serious about learning from French or possibly Portuguese desde español, I will start watching a bunch of cartoons du français. Todos los días.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DnHrrs

Good advice. Thank you. What is a reverse tree?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vcel10
vcel10
  • 25
  • 22
  • 12
  • 6
  • 4

When you're finish with your Spanish tree, try to learn English from Spanish.

Quiero aprender inglés

Basically you're learning English like a native Spanish speaker. There are many posts discussing the reverse tree.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Isrianth
Isrianth
  • 25
  • 25
  • 25
  • 21
  • 21
  • 18
  • 16
  • 3
  • 2
  • 409

Great advice! I'm going to listen to Japanese music and radio stations whilst I'm practising on Memrise.

Edit: Sir, take my lingots. :P

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/M4rt4a
M4rt4a
  • 25
  • 25
  • 22
  • 21
  • 17
  • 15
  • 13
  • 12
  • 12
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 9
  • 7
  • 7
  • 6
  • 4
  • 4

you're learning japanese on Memrise? could you recommend some courses you think are good? ;)

actually this post is about being able to read and not being able to speak/understand but my problem with japanese is quite the opposite. I learnt it by watching movies and series and now I can pretty much understand most of it but I cannot write or read anything 'cause of my lack of knowledge on kanjis and grammar.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vcel10
vcel10
  • 25
  • 22
  • 12
  • 6
  • 4

There are many ways to tackle the kanji but I would recommend:

anki + "Remembering the Kanji 1: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters" by James W. Heisig (professor emeritus of Nanzan University and permanent research fellow at the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture in Nagoya, Japan)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vcel10
vcel10
  • 25
  • 22
  • 12
  • 6
  • 4

¡uau! Vaya, que bueno 50!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TerryHMay

http://streema.com/radios/s/live+spanish+radio?

I agree with folks on duolingo. I am a native English speaker now learning Spanish. Like many of the posts say: You just have to dive in. I listen to live Spanish radio and understand about one quarter of what is being said, but I am noticing that words are becoming clearer as I continue to listen. The main thing is that you begin to pick up on intonation, pace and pronunciation. There are some good you tube demonstrations too. I watch some pretty cheesy soaps on you tube made for beginners in Spanish but they are fairly easy to grasp. In order to swim you have to dive in. Good learning!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/redneckray

Listen to vcel10, speaking(doing) Spanish is a very different discipline than reading Spanish.

Some teachers say you will never hear it until you can say it, going as far as to say you must place your entire face the way native speakers do.

Some students of musical wind instruments find the study of embouchure as important as reading. Embouchure is the study of the physicality of playing the instrument: mouth, lips and more. This is where most instrumentalists fail, since beginners spend most of their time learning to read they never learn to play correctly they fail to find the subtleties that the written music demands. They will usually sound like amateurs and never "hear" the music that they read and play.

Likewise people who learn Spanish without the study of speaking Spanish correctly are at a disadvantage. The world is full of people who have had two or three years of school courses and can read,semi-accurately, but can't understand a Spanish speaker. They have never learned to play their instrument correctly and can never understand, accurately, those who do.

The Michel Thomas theory of learning languages is an excellent way to learn to speak and hear the language. Google him and be amazed. His CD's can often found on the net. Can you say torrents?

3 years ago
Learn Spanish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.