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https://www.duolingo.com/forumkrew17

Closing the gap between Duolingo and being fluent.

Hola Mis Amigos!

After finishing my tree, and now in the process of re-gilding the entire thing I feel like I'm no longer making progess in Spanish. Don't get me wrong duolingo has been a tremendous amount of help in learning the language, especially from a reading and writing standpoint. I can read newspapers and understand signs, its the conversation part I'm struggling with.

I was wondering what tools people have used after Duolingo to help them better understand people speaking Spanish. Movies, shows, etc... I've tried watching some movies people have posted on here, but again they are speaking WAY to fast for me to comprehend. I would love to have something to just listen to throughout the day to help me understand the pronunciation and lingo. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Gracias,

Tony B

3 years ago

35 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/writchie4
writchie4
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If you haven't seen Extr@ en español on youtube, I'd definitely recommend that series. It's only a dozen or so episodes, but it's easy to understand and quite entertaining too. Here's a link to the first episode.

With respect to podcasts/things to listen to during the day, Notes in Spanish and Spanish Obsessed are pretty good for background listening. They both have a similar format with a man (native English speaker) and his wife (native Spanish speaker) walking through the basics of the language from a cultural perspective.

News in Slow Spanish is another good one if you'd like to multitask and get caught up on World News while you're learning. The best material there is subscription-based, but you can try out their podcasts and see if it's something you'd consider spending money on to get the full experience.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/forumkrew17

Hahaha YES the girl on Spanish Obsessed has the sexiest voice ever! This is awesome! Wooooo.... Thanks again!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/nyladigm
nyladigm
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Jejejejeee! Me encanta Liz tambien! Spanish Obsessed is lo mejor!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/forumkrew17

Gracias! Keep em coming!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Evaaano

Here's what I did after Duolingo.

Everyday I would watch at least two or three episodes of a kid's tv show. Like little kids! haha My niece (who was 2 at the time) and I were basically watching the same shows. Although I found it to be incredibly boring at times, it is a good way to pick up everyday vocabulary and learn the accent a little better. Plus they speak very slowly and clearly. An important point that you MUST do, is keep a workbook close and write down any word you're unsure of (with the time on the video they say it, just to make it easier to find later) then review all the words you didn't know on Quizlet (or flashcards).

Next, slowly, move out of the 2-3 year-old's shows, into documentaries. They allow you to pick topics you may already know in english and learn the vocab in spanish. Then finally, I moved into anime. They speak clearly and more rapidly, closer to the real world, plus they aren't completely boring! haha Just remember to write down ANY word you aren't 100% sure on, find it's definition later, and review a few times. Then re-watch the episode. I had to repeat episodes sometimes as many as 3x before understanding it all but when I did, I finally completely got it.

GOOD LUCK DUDE! :D

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/zutot
zutot
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I would like to suggest Peppa Pig in Spanish as a great kid's tv show to watch. Very silly but quite fun to watch. I normally watch a couple of episodes each day while having my lunch. http://youtu.be/x-EBZGG_nig?list=PLd9zf_yM7tNTYuw_DDTXrgrBLT1HqOwsT

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Evaaano

lol! that's actually one of the first shows i watched in Spanish XD

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jorg.Ancrath

First of all, congratulations on finishing your tree.

Now about what can you do to improve you Spanish.

About the speaking part, you can use Verbling with Google + Hangouts, there are lots of South Americans willing to give you a help with Spanish if you return it back with English.

About comprehension, you must have at least one Spanish channel in your tv's channel list, I sugest to watch one of them, and watch the news, or debating programs, this kind of content is easier to understand than movies.

I assume you must have a Ps3/Xbox/PC etc. Well you can combine learning with pleasure. Remember all those games you love? They have a hidden secret which is perfect for people who learn a new language. Yes, it's the possibility to change the audio and subtitles to another language, in this case Spanish. And you are lucky since Spanish is a language spoken by millions of people almost every game has Spanish áudio.

In regards to reading, you could read comic books in Spanish, but I think you are confortable with reading so you can read nearlly anything.

There it is.

This are some of the things I do for French.

Oh, I forgot to mention, this might be a bit extreme, but only watching Spanish content for a year will do wonders to your Spanish. ;D

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jorg.Ancrath

Forgot to mention, there is a podcast called Coffee Break Spanish, it's great, I'm using the French version. ;)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Efian

Awesome tips, coffee break espanol is an amazing podcast . I'm completely in love with it. Another one I use alongside it is spanishpod101, they have listening comprehension based on your level.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jorg.Ancrath

Do they have it for french too, or just Spanish?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Efian

Yup both podcasts are available in French

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jorg.Ancrath

Thanks for the info. I'm going to check them. ;)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AuntieJenny

Do you use the paid subscription of SpanishPod101? They keep nudging me to buy, and I keep wondering if it's worth it. The free membership is only a 7-day trial.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kimberlytylr
kimberlytylr
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Destinos is an older show designed for people learning Spanish. If you can get past the 80s hair and clothes it is really helpful. :-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Talca
Talca
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There is a continuation of Destinos out now. Raquel has a new hairdo and is back in her LA law office. The story line is just a recap of the past, but you should check it out.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paulaha88

I posted the following on a different thread earlier today.

Perhaps take some time for other methods. Download some Spanish language music. Find a native speaker to converse with, or use one of the chat sites for language learners (LiveMocha?). Follow on Twitter El Universal, the newspaper, for Mexico, Spain, or wherever. Get a book like Practical Spanish Grammar (Prado) and brush up on your formal grammar. Read some books at your level - Dover Publishing has beginner Spanish readers meant for adult learners, at very low prices. Go to a site like Lang-8 and start writing short journal entries for native speakers to correct. Start listening to programs in Spanish - TV shows, podcasts, etc. I love SermonAudio.com for this because several of them use a Public-Speaking style - clear diction, slower delivery, educated use of language - the kind of delivery you learned in Speech Class.

My point is, yes, Duolingo is a wonderful method. But learning a language requires mastery of a variety of skills - grammar, vocabulary, conversation, listening, reading, writing... No one program does ALL of them well. So take some time to strengthen areas where DuoLingo is weak.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wtinney
wtinney
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Hi Tony-

Have you seen/heard the podcast "Slow News in Spanish" ? Sounds like it might be a good fit for you. Buena suerte!

Wade

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/slogger
sloggerPlus
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Doing the reverse course, English for Spanish speakers may help. It gives you a different slant on the material. If there's too much English-to-English material in it, try turning off the microphone and audio.

"Destinos," which has already been mentioned, is good.

There are lots of older books as e-books that you can find online to read.

And once you are getting pretty good at understanding spoken Spanish, do some searches online for titles of Spanish books you would like to read. You can often find amateur recordings of material that are very helpful. Or buy recordings, if you can find them.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Cleeent
Cleeent
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Aunque mi racha es 525 días, el trayecto sigue siendo largo. Te recomiendo el sitio MOOC MiríadaX:

https://www.miriadax.net

Allí, estoy tomando cuatro cursos. Tres son solamente en español.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/BrookeLorren
BrookeLorren
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If you watch the same movie several times, it really helps out.

I've watched Divergent in Spanish more than I have in English. The first couple of times I was pretty lost watching the movie, but I can understand just about everything in the movie now.

There are podcasts too. I second Notes in Spanish (they have an intermediate version if the advanced one is too fast). Buenos Dias America comes out on weekdays and only lasts 1/2 hour, and it has the news. I know that there are others too. There are some very advanced ones out there on different topics if you become good.

You can find kid's cartoons in Spanish too. Those are often pretty easy to figure out.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WendyHazelM

Hi Tony, I started duolingo about a year ago as I was planning on moving to Spain, as I am no spring chicken I thought I would just be able to pass the time of day with the locals in shops etc. No such luck... I get totally lost and just get one or two words in a sentence even when I ask them to slow down. I seem to know a great many words but cant use them in conversation. I was putting it down to age and being slow on the uptake,I still cant converse in Spanish but at least I don't feel past it now. Will just have to keep trying I guess.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tomatosoup

I have been learning on and off for two years, have been to Spain three times and I still can't understand most of what they say so don't worry it's not just you!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wynrich
wynrichPlus
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One of my favorite things to supplement Duolingo are the free audio lessons at Language Transfer: http://www.languagetransfer.org/#!blank/cbjz

I also love the Pimsleur Spanish audio lessons. They are expensive, but I was able to check them out from our public library.

I love memrise.com for vocabulary building.

For listening practice:

Notes in Spanish: notesinspanish.com (also mentioned by @writchie4 above, and thanks to them for pointing out Spanish Obsessed -- that looks good!)

Basic Spanish with Claudia Fernandez, available free from iTunes U: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/itunes-u/basic-spanish-spn101-spn102/id388885594?mt=10

Spanish Listening: http://spanishlistening.org/

Cactus Language Minis, a bunch of free lessons beginning to advanced: http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/learn-spanish-with-the-independent-1831558.html

Some books I really like:

Madrigal's Magic Key to Spanish: http://www.amazon.com/Madrigals-Magic-Key-Spanish-Creative/dp/0385410956 (It's old -- no mention of texting but of telegraphs instead! -- but I like her approach to teaching Spanish.)

Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish: http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Beginners-Spanish-Joseph-Keenan/dp/029274322X

Correct Your Spanish Blunders: http://www.amazon.com/Correct-Your-Spanish-Blunders-2nd/dp/0071773002/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424290112&sr=1-1&keywords=spanish+blunders

Best wishes on your way to fluency!

PS. Thanks for posting this. I've found some great resources through similar posts. E.g., I learned about Language Transfer, one of the best resources I've come across, from another comment on Duolingo.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/amy1098

Unlike a lot of people here, I already speak Spanish but I need to work on reading, writing, and grammar. I learned to speak Spanish through traveling and music. I know this probably isn't the answer you are looking for but -- go to Mexico. It is so cheap to just travel around on buses, stay in inexpensive pensiones, and see some pretty awesome sights. Real conversational skills come from real conversations. A more practical idea is to listen to music in Spanish while reading the words. Spanish language music comes in all types- rap, rock, pop, etc. Shakira's early stuff is all in Spanish. You can go to youtube and read the lyrics while she sings. (I recommend Estoy Aqui and Pies Descalzos).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/GlenfordNunez
GlenfordNunez
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Watch a lot of YouTube. Cartoons dubbed in your target language (Spanish) are very useful.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/nyladigm
nyladigm
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I started watching a children's tv series on Netflix called The Hive. The first couple of times I watched it in Spanish with English subtitles. Next I watched it without the subtitles and if I didn't understand a word or phrase I would type it into google translate and also write it in a notebook so I could easily reference it later.

I've also been listening to podcasts and translating a lot of articles online. Things are coming together, slowly.

One thing that has also really helped (and really forced me outside my comfort zone...which has helped me to grow) was to attend a Spanish speaking meetup. I live in San Francisco and there are several of these groups that meet twice a month. You show up at the location (usually a Spanish bar) and you can only speak Spanish. Everyone is very accommodating and will help you speak and learn. IMO, this environment and experience is priceless!

Buena suerte!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/forumkrew17

You guys have been above and beyond helpful! With all of this new material I have no doubt I'll be taking my Spanish to the next level. MUCHAS GRACIAS MIS AMIGOS!!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/D.Krynicki
D.Krynicki
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Hola forumkrew17 I know exactly what you're talking about. What I'm doing right now is that I found a show that I really like. You can basically find a show in most languages if you try hard enough. I know that's true for cartoons/anime for sure. Find that show and watch it with subtitles in that language, assuming that it's Spanish it won't be that hard, then when you're comfortable keeping up with the common language used on the shows then try to find the show with the language's speaking dialog. Before you know it you'll be speaking better than you thought you could! Oh by the way, definitely use the app WordReference for any words or phrases that you don't know. It's imperative.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/tampanews

Have you tried turning on the closed captioning or subtitles while watching TV?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/gracieb81

Luis Miguel music. The CDs have the words printed so you can listen and read, then listen, listen, listen to his wonderful voice. His recordings of the old Romantico songs are fabulous!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jccarlisle
jccarlisle
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Singing along to music is usually helpful for me. Cooking shows and children's programs – pick someone on the show and imitate.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/dpatkat

Tony, remember when you first started duolingo? Your brain will learn what hits your ear. Try materials for children. Saturday cartoons. And movies with slang or people talking on the bus. Be surprised at each new word or two more. Repetition. Try a meetup groups, too. you learn, you progress when you are challenged. Oye!?!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/stav.kidro

You can try watching a movie with Spanish subtitles. I did that and it really helped. You'd pause A LOT but its great for at least trying to listen

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chau01

You can try listening to Spanish songs and check English version for further clarification.

3 years ago