Do You Have Trouble Understanding People When They Speak Spanish Quickly?
You've learned the basics of Spanish, you've been through the classes, you can read Spanish but how many times have you been overwhelmed, frustrated and discouraged when people start speaking Spanish faster than you can keep up.
Perhaps, you've even felt like giving up, or that you're just too old to learn Spanish.
I've been exactly where you are, and I know how horrible it feels.
The information in this letter will show you ways you can develop your ear for Spanish and overcome the challenges of rapid speech.
I know exactly what it's like when Spanish seems to just go by too fast. One day you feel like you're on top of Spanish, then someone speaks to you quickly and all of a sudden you're completely lost.
I remember one particularly brutal day that made me feel like a complete idiot... all because of a simple misunderstanding.
After 18 months of living in Mexico, I was stumped by the most basic phrase.
I remember it like yesterday. I was in a government office renewing my FM3 Mexican work and residency permit. I handed my papers to the official behind the window. After very deliberately checking the required mountain of paperwork, he looked up and said, "tome asiento".
"perdón", I replied
"Tome asiento por favor".
I just stared back, like a deer caught in the headlights.
Then, after he said it a third time, someone else said in English, "take a seat".
I felt so stupid.
After 18 months of living in Mexico, how was it possible that and I couldn't even understand a simple everyday phrase like take a seat?
I felt completely dejected.
I remember thinking...
"Maybe I'll never master communicating in this language.
Perhaps only kids can really learn properly.
What about all the gringos, who've lived here for years and can't even hold a simple conversation?"
It was a rotten feeling because...
Spanish meant so much to me.
I had dreams of traveling, being able to interact in all the exciting and interesting places throughout Mexico that I wanted to visit. And then there was the rest of Latin America and Spain.
There was so much I wanted to do and see.
But without being able to keep up with Spanish, it wouldn't be the same.
How could it?
That is, unless I went to the typical tourist traps. But I already knew once you get 5 miles away from the Cancuns, Acapulcos and Ibizas keeping up with the way they really speak Spanish is a different ball game.
And I wanted to go where the locals go. I wanted to eat where they eat and to get to know the people where they live. I wanted to explore the real culture.
Unfortunately, being a part of the real speaking Spanish world was starting to feel like a distant dream, and fading very quickly.
Maybe all the effort I was putting in just wasn't worth it.
How could I be so useless that I didn't even understand - take a seat?
You can't get a much more basic everyday phrase than that can you?
Fortunately... now I know better.
It really wasn't such a big deal. All that happened was...
I got stung by a comprehension killer.
I was disoriented by a simple synonym.
I'd learned to say sit down, sientese, not take a seat, tome asiento...
From then on I started paying a lot of attention to how native Spanish speakers communicated amongst themselves.
As I dug deeper, I found many of the ways they expressed themselves just didn't make sense to me.
It didn't relate to the Spanish I'd learned from books and I couldn't find it in my dictionary.
The deeper I searched the less sense it all made. I either got convoluted grammar analysis, or the one size fits all answer...
"That's just the way Spanish is".
So, I decided I'd have to beat my own path and I threw a bunch of textbooks in the dumpster.
What a great feeling that was.
I decided they were so worthless that I wouldn't even give them away... I figured they did more harm than good and I didn't want anyone else to suffer.
I found that what the textbooks teach and what you really need to know to thrive in a Spanish speaking country are completely unrelated...
In fact, what is taught in most books is often a handicap to communicating with real people because it destroys the natural flow of conversation.
I kept looking for ways to bridge the language barriers.
In my search for answers, I identified 7 different types of comprehension killers. They are almost never taught in books, courses or classes, yet they hold the keys to greater comprehension, even when Spanish is spoken at a rapid rate.
I've also developed a 7 step sequence designed to strengthen your ear for Spanish.
My red face was simply caused by not knowing a commonly used synonym. A very simple comprehension killer to overcome... especially when you learn the most frequently used synonyms
Unfortunately, the other comprehension killers aren't always as gentle or easily noticed as synonyms. Some have meanings that are almost invisible to English speakers.
What I'm talking about is the way words are combined to create totally different meanings from what you might expect.
Let me explain...
Do you know the meanings of these words? mucho, bien, más, cuando, dar, quiere, cada, como, luz, decir, no, una, si, vez, caer, cuánto, tener, de, que.
Most of the words look very familiar right?
How many do you know?
I expect you know at least 10-15 of those words, perhaps more.
What if we put the words together, do you know the meanings of the following word combinations?
1. cuando mucho
Here's a tip: the meanings are very different from the individual words.
If you don't know the combined meanings, you'll get confused about what people are saying to you, and...
When you're confused, Spanish seems faster than it really is.
Here's what those word combinations mean.
The answers may surprise you...
Some combinations seem to have nothing to do with the individual words.
These word combinations are called collocations.
An essential element in understanding Spanish almost nobody ever talks about.
I believe they are much more important than the typical grammar path of ser vs estar and por vs para.
Learn the most common collocations, the most frequently used synonyms and your comprehension of spoken Spanish has to improve.
Learn to recognize and build your understanding of the comprehension killers and your understanding of Spanish will go from black and white to color.
Take active steps to strengthen and fine tune your ear to the pace of Spanish and it'll be like going from black and white to color to high definition.
It'll help you deal with words and phrases coming at a mile a minute.
You know what I mean right, when...
Spanish goes by so fast, it doesn't even sound like individual words, it sounds like one long continuous word.
The machine gun blast
"Wha wha what?"
It's ok you can get out that way.
vrooooooommmmm a formula one car goes flying by...
Have you spoken with my daughters?
At times it just seems sooooooo fast.
What can we possible do, besides saying, más despacio por favor?
There's actually plenty we can do.
Instead of getting so caught up in analysis of very minor points of grammar...
Why not address these comprehension killers head on?
Why not take steps to systematically open up your ears in lessons that take the strain out of listening?
If you remember back to my embarrassing situation when I couldn't even respond to "take a seat"...
Imagine if someone had shown me the most commonly used synonyms? Laid them out, not in a list, but in a step by step process to recognize synonyms instantly?
Would I have been so deflated?
Red face saved
Frankly, finding ways to improve your ear for Spanish has been my biggest challenge. There's nothing to draw upon. I had to create everything from scratch.
I've haven't seen anyone else address the comprehension killers in a step by step process...
I haven't seen anyone willing to even admit that learning to deal with the speed of Spanish is a problem.
That's why I created the Spanish Ear Training program... to take on this challenge - head on.
This program is going to be very important to the lives of many people, especially those living in Spanish speaking countries.
Here are the components I have created to strengthen your ear every month in the Spanish Ear Training Coaching Program
Monthly 7-Step Ear Strengthening Lessons
Every month members receive a 7-Step Ear building Program. We pull apart and put back together an audio of typical fast paced Spanish speech. Each of the 7 steps will strengthen your ear, broaden your vocabulary and enhance your understanding of how Spanish is really spoken by native speakers.
This is about as far from dry textbook Spanish as you can get. Fresh material every month will expose you to the real living language as it's used today.
Steps 1-5 Ear Building - Expand your listening and understanding skills, so you can learn to keep up with rapid fire Spanish.
Step 4 is of particular interest to anyone spending a lot of time in a Spanish speaking country or with native Spanish speakers. It is called- how they speak.
In this step I explain very clearly how Spanish speakers use their language in ways that could easily cause you to misunderstand them... That is, until the subtleties are pointed out to you. Once you know them your overall understanding of natural Spanish improves.
Step 6 - Spanish up close - This step is speaking practice and teaches you to use Spanish collocations, expressions and idioms for more authentic communication. Your Spanish will sounds more natural and you'll bond more with your Spanish speaking amigos because you'll start using their language the way they do.
Step 7 - Variations on a theme - Also a speaking step that makes complex Spanish structures easier to understand and use. That way, not only will you understand more of what you hear, you'll also speak with more clarity, confidence and expressiveness.
Transcripts - Steps 1-7 are audio lessons. However they come with complete transcripts if you like to see the written word.
Printable Flashcards - Each month has a pre-learning module. It's quite a simple idea, before you can understand rapid Spanish you need to know the words. In the pre-learning module I give you a selection of tools to help you expand your Spanish vocabulary. They include printable flashcards, word lists and audio flashcards.
By the way, in this step you don't just learn individual words. You'll learn collocations, expressions and phrases that are tricky for most people. They'll be a breeze for you once I show you what they are really saying.
Audio Flashcards - Again this is a simple idea, but a big help for many. It's fun too, like a game. You try to say the meaning before you hear the answer.
Got the new words down? Great! Now let's turn up the heat a little. This time you'll hear the English first and try to say the Spanish before you hear the answer.
This simple idea preps you to handle Spanish at the speed it's realy spoken.
The audio, printable cards and transcripts are all fully downloadable and portable so you can learn Spanish when you exercise, when you commute or anywhere you enjoy learning Spanish.
That's not all that there is in Spanish Ear Training.
Also included monthly Master Classes to overcome the comprehension killers
This is probably worth the price of admission by itself.
You'll learn to overcome comprehension killers that shut down your understanding of spoken Spanish. Find out how you can rapidly strengthen this gaping hole in your Spanish comprehension.
And while you're expanding your understanding you'll speak even better Spanish.
Each Master Class gets you speaking Spanish more naturally, fluidly and closer to the way native speakers really use their language.
Together the Ear Strengthening Lessons and Master Classes make a powerful ear expanding package. If your Spanish has hit a plateau, this is what you need to rejuvenate your enthusiasm.
Who Should Join Spanish Ear Training?
Firstly, if you're interest in Spanish is only fleeting. If you think they should speak English, even when you're in their country, this program isn't for you.
If you still think you can't learn Spanish after everything I have told you to prove to you that the problem is not you, but rather you're approach, and you have given up any hope of ever learning Spanish... then this program is not for you.
If you can't yet hold a basic conversation, you'd be better off building a strong foundation first before taking Ear Training. My starter level program, Synergy Spanish, will teach you to get by in Spanish very quickly.
On the other hand...
If, like many of my students you've decided to relocate to Spain or Latin America and you want to communicate and move freely in your new home, don't read anymore, just go and sign up now. It'll make such a big impact in your life that you can't afford to miss out on it. You really need this program; it'll make your life more fulfilling, and may even save your life one day.
If you have Spanish speaking friends or relatives, if you live in a community with a lot of Latinos, you won't feel so left out or feel like you're a step behind everyone. This program will make you feel like an insider and a much better communicator.
If you work with, or provide service to, Spanish speakers this program may well be the missing link you've been looking for to really bond with your workmates and enhance the lives of your customers.
How much is it to become a member of Spanish Ear Training?
Membership in Spanish Ear Training is $29.95 per month; there is no obligation on your part to stay a member. If you ever want to leave, you simply send an email asking to be unsubscribed. In fact, I am so sure that you'll love it that if you're not delighted with the first two months, let me know within 60 days, and I'll refund your payments in full.
Ready to get started? Just click this button to claim your position in the Spanish Ear Training Coaching Program
Spanish ear Training may become unavailable at any time. Why?
I work very hard to make sure the lessons flow smoothly for you. In fact, you may never need to use my support system. However it's there if you need it. All you do is click and leave a ticket anytime to ask about anything that is confusing you.
To make sure I can answer your questions, and that I continue enjoying helping you, I will close Spanish Ear Training if it becomes too busy for me.
"The Ear Training is very helpful for the most difficult aspect, understanding someone talking in Spanish."
Your courses have helped me so much. Each one has built on what I have learned from previous ones and the Ear Training one is very helpful for the most difficult aspect, in my opinion, understanding someone talking in Spanish. Also, the collocations are particularly useful.
Another vital factor is that your courses manage to generate enthusiasm in me and I love learning through them. I think that a large part of teaching is having the ability to generate that enthusiasm from a pupil and I think you have that ability in abundance.Brian Murray - UK
"I am now at the stage of understanding documentaries on Spanish TV."
I have tried many courses (classes/books/DVDs/CDs) but for me the Spanish Ear Training Course is unique in its teaching style. It has been great in giving me confidence to converse with my Spanish friends. I am now at the stage of understanding documentaries on Spanish TV.
I have nothing but praise and gratitude to you Marcus in devising what for me is the most successful course around.
Your communication is excellent. Always generous in your support.
ThanksJulie Bruce - Scotland, UK
"Now I can comprehend a lot of what is said, even on the first hearing at normal speed."
When I started the Spanish Ear Training course, I didn't think I would ever understand what was being said. However, after lots of repetition and practice, it slowly started to fall into place. Now I can comprehend a lot of what is said, even on the first hearing at normal speed.
Your communication is excellent. Always generous in your support.
ThanksJo Madle - UK
"You've done a fantastic job of simplifying a lot of grammar I just couldn't grasp before hearing you explain it."
Your courses have helped my understanding of how the language is actually used and helped me understand phrases and grammatical structures that would otherwise escape me. And you've done a fantastic job of simplifying a lot of grammar I just couldn't grasp before hearing you explain it.Rodney Prince - Florida, USA
"I have lost all nervousness when speaking with someone Spanish."
You are my hero!
You make learning Spanish so enjoyable. I have lost all nervousness when speaking with someone Spanish -even tho' I make mistakes. They don't bite my head off - they correct me! And my Spanish pen-pal says my SPanish is improving all the time.
Gracias!Adrienne Ferguson - UK
"I now receive the words in Spanish, rather than trying to translate into English."
Spanish Ear Training is teaching me how to listen to rapid Spanish - I now receive the words in Spanish, rather than trying to translate into English. I can't tell you how pleased I am about that - it seems such a big step.Aileen Jayes - Spain
"Your course has been great for giving me lots of extra information which I constantly find myself using in conversation with people here."
I moved to Spain 2 years ago. I have been having lessons with a local teacher and am learning a lot.
However, your course has been great for giving me lots of extra information which I constantly find myself using in conversation with people here.Alison Tuohey - Spain
"Have found a system that works for me."
Have found a system that works for me. I find your way of teaching gets me talking and that's what I want to achieve.Sharon Jackson - UK
"I love Spanish Ear Training."
I love Spanish Ear Training. It has helped my comprehension.Terry Vann - Maryland, USA
"My Spanish speaking friends tell me I speak Spanish very well."
I use Spanish Ear Training frequently. I like the Collocations because they are "how they speak" and not just what you get from a dictionary. For example, to say "I realize" as "Me doy cuenta" - when I use a phrase like that, my Spanish speaking friends tell me I speak Spanish very well.Debra Matovich - Texas, USA
"It has really helped me to think in Spanish."
This course has been so helpful for me! It has really helped me to think in Spanish more, and also has helped my pronunciation.Michelle Coe - New York, USA
"It's fun to understand folks speaking Spanish."
I am a high school teacher in Connecticut. Our Spanish speaking population is growing and I use what I've learned for your courses to speak with students and parents.
It's also fun to understand folks speaking Spanish when I'm in Hartford, the largest city in our area, or at the mall.
As always - many thanks!Ray Campbell - Connecticut, USA
"Your classes make sense of things that before were just rules."
Spanish Ear Training helps me with thinking and speaking like a hispanohablante.
The lessons are like a friend that I carry along in my iPod. I have taken other classes and I find that your classes make sense of things that before were just rules.John Merk - Texas, USA
"I was able to write for the first time with confidence."
I just wrote a letter to a friend of mine in Chaipas, Mexico I was able to write for the first time with confidence.Vicki Tyndall - Canada
"I have taken a lot of Spanish classes, and this was the best."
I have taken a lot of Spanish classes, and this was the best. I learned more in these lessons than any other I've taken.William Dale - Washington, USA
"I could understand everything without any problem."
My teacher the other day give me a test and she was very surprised that I knew the answers, because she said it was hard.
She made me listen to a cd and I could understand everything without any problem. She said that all the other students complained that the Spanish was too fast.Pauline Dechamplain - Ontario, Canada
"Everyone tells me that my Spanish has improved enormously."
I think this is the best program that I have used. Everyone tells me that my Spanish has improved enormously.
Thank you for a great program.Shirley Foley - Massachusetts, USA
"I am at last becoming a Spanish speaker."
Thank you so much for your absolutely brilliant series, Spanish Ear Training. It is so simple and a tribute to your excellent mind.
I really feel that I am at last becoming a Spanish speaker, which is my greatest wish.
SaludosVictor Young - UK
"It has changed my life."
It honors me to tell you that I have become quite fluent in Spanish. And oh how it has changed my life. Its one of the best things I have ever done with my life so far, and I owe it all to you.
I respect you and commend you highly for all that you do. I consider it a blessing that I was able to be one of your students.
In a few weeks I will be departing on a two year mission for my church. I am going to be a missionary in Ecuador! I am grateful and feel so blessed that my extensive knowledge of the language will serve as a huge help and advantage for me while I am there.
I know that I have never met you in person, but I am honored to say that you are someone who has been a wonderful help and influence in my life.
Gracias por todo lo que hace. Usted tiene regalo maravilloso de Dios. Le deseo lo mejor con todo.
Hasta la proxima vezJoseph Nelson - Arizona, USA
"My understanding skills have improved even in my first month."
I do really love your program.
I have studied Spanish and live in Iquitos, Peru but always the listening and talking just didn't happen.
I am so thankful that I signed up for your Spanish Ear training course, my understanding skills have improved even in my first month.
Thank you.Georgina Barboutis - Peru
"Your program gave me the confidence to record a puppet show for our Vacation Bible School mission team to take to Peru."
Spanish Ear Training was a HUGE help to me in every area - in fact, I would credit your program with giving me the confidence to record a puppet show for our Vacation Bible School mission team to take to Peru with them two summers ago. (It was a huge hit, by the way! :)
"I'm learning in leaps and bounds with your style."
While in Mexico, I take weekly Conversation Spanish classes but there is not much conversation. In comparison, I'm learning in leaps and bounds with your style.
Gracias,Heather Leonard - Ontario Canada