I’ve said before that listening is one of my biggest challenges when learning a language. My Speak from Day One approach to learning langauges, means I’m usually stronger at speaking than listening.
With that in mind, I’ve collected over 50 resources to help Spanish learners improve their listening skills.
I’ve organised this collection into five categories:
Videos: Watching videos helps you understand body language and provides valuable visual cues for your listening practice.
Podcasts and Radio: For covering a variety of topics and speaking styles, podcasts and online radio can’t be beat.
Music: Listening to music gives you a look at the creative and poetic side of a language.
News: This provides you with more formal, standard use of the language, combined with contemporary topics.
Lessons: It is helpful to listen to Spanish in a structured environment, especially when you are first starting out.
These Spanish listening resources are for everyone, regardless of your level. So, let’s get started!
VIDEOS FOR SPANISH LISTENING: YOUR KEY TO UNDERSTANDING BODY LANGUAGE
Since most communication is nonverbal, seeing the body postures, facial expressions and hand gestures of Spanish speakers will make it easier to understand them. And video is the only type of listening practice which allows you to practise this important part of Spanish communication.
SPANISH YOUTUBE CHANNELS AND WEB SHOWS
Here are some Spanish YouTube series to view life in the Spanish speaking world.
Freaklances: An animated series following the lives of several freelancers.
Malviviendo: This show follows the lives of several friends living on the outskirts of Seville, Spain.
Enseriados: A comedy about two flat mates who share a passion for television. English subtitles are available.
Apples: A comedy about a group of lesbians, a dummy and a stuffed cat who work together to solve their problems.
Gangster Que Hago?: This is a comedy series about a man looking for love in all the wrong places. Please note that it also comes with a parental advisory warning for content.
SUNY Albany: The State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany put together an extensive list of video resources in the Spanish Language.
LIVE VIDEO CHAT WITH NATIVE SPANISH SPEAKERS
I’ve had great success in my language learning missions when video chatting with my tutors and teachers. Interacting with a real person is much more authentic than just watching actors in a movie.
The best part? Everything you watch is 100% related to you and your life!
It’s worth checking out the following:
Google Hangouts: You can chat face-to-face using Google’s popular video and voice calling system. To put yourself out on a limb, you can broadcast the call live to the whole world!
Periscope: If you haven’t jumped on the Periscope bandwagon yet, you might not be too familiar with this live streaming video service. Recently I discovered you can search for live streaming video from different countries around the world, including Spanish-speaking countries. This is a direct pipeline to listen to Spanish (or any language) in a very authentic way. (Follow my Periscope by searching for “polyglot”, and I’ll do streams in Spanish every once in a while!)
Apple Facetime: If both you and your conversation partner have Apple devices, then you can have a free call on Apple’s video conferencing software. This comes bundled with Apple computers, tablets and phones.
Tango: While I don’t have direct experience of this software, I’ve heard it is a good way to have face-to-face conversations with people all around the world.
Skype: The standard for most people when it comes to making video calls online. If you download eCamm’s Skype Call Recorder for Mac, or Pamela on Windows, you can record your conversations to review them later on.
Of course, all this assumes you have someone to speak with in Spanish. If you need a language conversation partner, be sure to check out iTalki, where you can find amazing native Spanish speaking teachers and tutors.
HOW TO WATCH SPANISH TELEVISION ONLINE
There are a wide selection of Spanish language television programmes available online. Here are a few worth checking out:
Drama Fever: This website provides telenovelas (TV dramas) with English subtitles. As a bonus, you can also use it to watch TV dramas from Korea, China and other countries!
Hulu Latino: Hulu, a popular video streaming website based in the U.S., streams televisions shows in Spanish.
Multilingual Books: This website provides a link to online television station streaming video feeds from a wide variety of countries. A treasure trove of Spanish TV.
Streema: Streema is a service that provides links to the websites of many television stations in Spain. You can also search for programmes from other Spanish speaking countries in Central America and South America.
Univision: A network name synonymous with Spanish language television, the Univision website provides access to an amazing selection of their Spansih-language television programmes.
Telemundo: Telemundo is another television network with an extensive selection of programmes in Spanish.
There are actually so many Spanish language television shows available to view online that there’s no way to list them all here, The resources above will get you on the right track.
Spanish speaking movie goers are currently the second largest demographic in the United States, and with the startling number of films coming out from all of the Spanish language countries in the world, there is plenty of viewing fare for Spanish language lovers everywhere.
Spanish Movies Online: This website provides exactly what it says: Spanish movies online. Lots to choose from here.
Zumvo: This website provides links to movies from Spain that you can stream online.
Hulu Movies: Hulu comes to the rescue again! Not only do they have Spanish language television shows; they also have Spanish language movies.
SBS: SBS, a service out of Australia, has a large selection of free Spanish language movies from around the world.
Netflix: Netflix has movies from both Latin America and Spain. Just remember that Netflix is a paid service and you may need a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service to view it outside the U.S.
Fandor: Fandor, similar to Netflix, is a paid subscription site that provides many films from around the world in a variety of languages.
SPANISH VIDEO LESSONS
The best part about Spanish language video lessons is that they follow a structured format and are perfect for those new to the language.
The following is a selection of some of my favourites, as well as a few that have come highly recommended.
Spanish Pod 101: You might know Innovative Language’s Spanish Pod 101 podcast series as a great place to learn a language. This is their YouTube channel to help you see the language being spoken.
FluentU Spanish: FluentU curates videos from all over the web, includes subtitles in Spanish and English. Curated videos are carefully organised so you can study them easily.
Yabla Spanish: Yabla specialises in helping you pick up Spanish through videos in a natural way, with real Spanish spoken by real people. Check out some of the their sample videos to see what it’s all about.
About.com: About.com has various videos instructing on aspects of the Spanish language, including a wide selection on verb conjugations.
Web Spanish: An amazingly fun show giving you authentic Spanish instruction with memorable visuals and humour.
ES Audio: This series of videos entitled “How to Speak Spanish Fast” provides insight into many parts of the Spanish language.
Señor Jordan: This might be one of the funniest Spanish language video courses out there. Definitely worth watching if you want to bust a gut while learning a language.
Complete Spanish: Language Transfer have put together this series of Spanish language lessons to take you through their entire Spanish programme.
ONLINE RADIO: COVERING EVERY TOPIC YOU CAN THINK OF
Online radio provides a wide sampling of topics you may not normally be exposed to. That’s why I love listening to it. Plus, it represents Spanish spoken the way you hear it in real life, in accents from all around the world.
Listen Live Europe: This website contains online radio stations for a variety of countries in Europe, including many in Spanish.
Cadena Ser: Several podcasts and shows are available on this network’s website.
E-Spanyol: Over 600 Spanish language radio stations are listed in this directory.
Live TV Radio: A large selection of Spanish language radio channels, organised by country.
TuneIn Spanish: TuneIn is one of my favourite apps for listening to radio stations from around the world. For Spanish radio, check out stations in Central America, South American and Spain.
MUSIC: SPANISH LYRICS AND CREATIVITY
Spanish music uses language differently than in day-to-day conversation. The issues and topics are closer to our hearts and minds.
Spanish music can be an entertaining way to improve your listening skills and gain a deeper understanding of cultures in the Spanish speaking world.
Here are some websites and links where you can find Spanish music online.
Last.fm Spanish: This popular music recommendation site provides great Spanish music and downloadable mp3 files.
8tracks Spanish Playlist: Another music recommendation site where users create their own playlists. These include playlists of Spanish music.
Online Radio Spanish: This list of online radio stations from Spain, Central America and South America has many stations dedicated to music.
Surf Music: A German online radio station directory with a vast list of stations from all over Spain.
TuneIn Spanish: TuneIn is ideal for listening to stations that play Spanish language music. Stations listed are from Spain, Central America, and South American.
NEWS: EVERYDAY TOPICS IN STANDARD SPOKEN SPANISH
Listening to the news in Spanish will teach you valuable current vocabulary, and teach you the best way to phrase common expressions on popular topics. Plus, newscasters tend to use very standard pronunciation, so this is a good way to hear things said in a very clear (although somewhat fast) manner.
About.com: About.com has put together a list of Spanish language news sources, some of which are audio and some printed.
RTVE: Spain’s national public broadcaster, RTVE, has a wide array of news broadcasts in Spanish
SBS: SBS provides a list of Spanish news sources.
MIT: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a list of news sources in Spanish in print, audio and video.
News in Slow Spanish: If you are not quite up to speed with the rapid nature of a newscaster’s delivery, this is the resource for you.
PODCAST LESSONS: STRUCTURED SPANISH TO HELP YOU LEVEL UP
Listening to the news or watching television shows might be overwhelming if you’re new to Spanish. Online Spanish language lessons and podcasts are a great way to practise listening to the language using a graded, structured approach.
These online lessons and materials that will help you learn Spanish, while providing valuable listening practice.
SpanishPod101: SpanishPod101 is one of the first resources I recommend to new Spanish learners. Their lessons and materials are top-notch.
Notes in Spanish: Real, authentic Spanish language conversations, broken down to help you build confidence.
Audiria: This podcast, put out by two brothers from Malaga, puts out daily (that’s right: daily) podcasts for Spanish learners.
Coffee Break Spanish: This popular podcast from the Radio Lingua Network provides an introduction to the Spanish language as the host introduces aspects of the language to a beginner learner.
Podcasts in Spanish: Over 170 podcasts for Spanish learners. The audio is free, but you’ll have to pay for the downloadable worksheets.
Spanish Obsessed: Rob and Liz have put together an amazing collection of Spanish language materials, for everyone from total beginners to advanced learners.
Language Treks: Language Treks has a selection of free Spanish language lessons on useful topics for daily life
AiringPods: AiringPods lists dozens of Spanish podcasts you might want to try.
While all of these podcasts are related to Spanish language learners, what if you want to listen to podcasts direct from a Spanish speaking country? Searching through iTunes is often challenging since they target your search results based on your native language or country of residence. Here’s my hack for finding podcasts in your language of choice which will help you locate the best podcasts in the Spanish language. Be sure to check it out!
WHERE DO YOU LISTEN TO SPANISH?
Be sure to use these resources to increase your exposure to Spanish. Soon you’ll be improving both your comprehension and fluency with this wonderful language, and you’ll find that learning Spanish can be easy.
If you have any other suggestions or if I missed your favourite place to listen to Spanish online, let us know in the comments.
This article originally appeared on Fluent in 3 Months and is republished here with permission.