Weekly Tip 9/7/17: Improve your Spanish comprehension!

Weekly Tip 9/7/17: Improve your Spanish comprehension!


Are you a student that struggles with understanding native speakers?  If so, this is the blog post for you!

The approach that many students take is to try and understand every word.  Sometimes students watch a TV show or a movie or listen to a podcast and sit down and write down all the words that they don’t know.  While this is fantastic for vocabulary building, it does not help to improve your comprehension skills.  

To improve your comprehension you need to do exactly the opposite.  You need to listen for words that are already familiar to you as well as cognates (words that are similar to your native language – for example: aniversario/anniversary or plástico/plastic).  As you tune your ear to the words that you already know and the ones that you can make out, you will start to understand the context.  Maybe when you first start doing this you only understand 5 to 10%, but as you keep doing it little by little, you start to understand more and more.  

Sitting down with a pen and paper and writing down every word that you don’t know and looking it up may help you understand when you’re reading an article and have the time to do that, but it will not help you improve your comprehension skills when someone is speaking.

So next time that you want to work on your comprehension skills, remember to listen for the words you already know rather than the ones that you do not know.  

If this works for me with Italian, it will work for you with Spanish!