Understanding spoken language

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by Rich696, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. Rich696

    Rich696 Senior Member

    England, English
    I wasn't quite sure where to put this, but I thought it would probably get the most responses in here.

    Basically, I've been re-learning French for about a year and a half. I have good reading fluency and a solid working knowledge of all eighteen tenses and grammar. I can write pretty fluently and can express myself, if rather crudely sometimes, and make myself understood with no problem at all.
    HOWEVER, despite all this, I really struggle to understand spoken French. And boy, I mean struggle! I think I've finally worked out the problem: when I read I think I'm basically translating into English in my head as I go along, and when it comes to listening to spoken language, this is obviously impossible to do - hence, I can only understand French films when there are sub-titles in French!

    I just wondered if any other language learners have had similar problems and how you overcame them?

    I just find it incredibly frustrating. I sometimes try to listen to French radio or watch French TV, but just end up getting annoyed when I can hardly understand a word when I know that if I was reading the same words there'd be no problem!
     
  2. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    I have exactly the same problem, not only in French but also in English, German and Swedish (those are the languages I can fluently translate into Finnish on paper).

    I have never overcome this problem, and probably never will.
     
  3. Rich696

    Rich696 Senior Member

    England, English
    But do you find that you can understand those languages when they are spoken without resorting to translation?
     
  4. Laia

    Laia Senior Member

    Catalan, Spanish
    Don't worry.
    The same happens to me with English.
    I have no problems reading, few problems writting, but... aha! trying to understand spoken English is a big problem! (ohhh listenings... ufff). And then, even worst is the speaking thing. If you could hear me speaking in English... maybe you'd cry.

    Most of people learning other languages have the same problems...

    Here you have a thread called improving listening skills
     
  5. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    Only partly. Generally I have to translate it in my head and that takes too much time.

    Sometimes the native speaker understands that I'm a foreigner and tries to speak slower and clearer. Then it's easier, but this happens very seldom.
     
  6. Rich696

    Rich696 Senior Member

    England, English
    Those clever people that I know who are bi-lingual (mainly French and German) always tell me that they understand English for English and don't have to resort to translation. I always considered that most people on these forums were the same. Nice to know I'm not alone!

    And Laia, I'm sure your spoken English is better than you think! Most English and American guys love the Spanish (and French accents), so I don't think they necessarily be crying!
     
  7. Laia

    Laia Senior Member

    Catalan, Spanish
    Hmmm... yes, I know ;) :D
     
  8. tigger_uhuhu

    tigger_uhuhu Senior Member

    mexico city
    spanish-mx ct
    Well, as all you know, I have a big trouble with mi English... I have no problem reading but, you really don't wanna read me or hear me speaking because I'm a complete disaster, then listening is worse... I can understand only if you speak to me s-l-o-w-l-y :eek:
    Cheers
    Tigger misunderstood ;)
     
  9. Laia

    Laia Senior Member

    Catalan, Spanish
    C'mon Tigger!! You know this is not all true ;) (exageradoooo!!)

    Anyway, we could found the PSTMS (Please Speak To Me Slowly Association)... :D

    Cheers,
    Laia
     
  10. SpiceMan Senior Member

    Osaka 大阪
    Castellano, Argentina
    Though related, writing, reading, listening and speaking have different learning curves.
    You can find people that in just a couple weeks speaks some sort of pidgin really well, and can't write a single word nor have any grammar knowledge. You find people who know every grammar aspect and can't say "hello" without freezing. Every and each aspect of the language have to be developed when learning.

    Rent French movies, listen to French music, talk in French with people that knows French (even if not native). With a good grammar basis and vocabulary, you should improve fast.

    Also keep in mind that writing is way slower than speaking. So is reading. Learners tend to get stuck at first mainly because of not having the habit of thinking in that particular language at such speed, and freeze, feel unconfident, etc. rather than being translating inside their heads.

    my .2 cents
     
  11. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    My personal experience : read loud (don't need to make your voice reach all the neighbors though) :)
    Listen to songs, maybe start with children song (at least you can revive your childhood this way) :) Also listen to songs with the lyrics before your eyes, this way you can sort of compare what you hear to what you read, and will get used to listening without having the written text.
    Don't give up when you don't understand, why not watch French movies with french subtitles ? It can also help.
    Good luck :)
     
  12. tigger_uhuhu

    tigger_uhuhu Senior Member

    mexico city
    spanish-mx ct
    Cherine... you are rigth! The other day I saw a tv cartoon in English and I understood very well... I think this is a good tip to learn to listen ;)
     
  13. cherine

    cherine Moderator

    Alexandria, Egypt
    Arabic (Egypt).
    Yeah! Cartoon are great :D I personally love Tom&Jerry and Duck tales :)
    And I watched some Walt Disney's movies "dobladas en español" and you can't imagine how happy I was when I saw myself understanding most of them (not all of course, I'm not that good-yet) :)
     
  14. opsidol Senior Member

    US - English
    Tienes que escuchar más. Cuanto más escuchas, cuanto más te mejorarás.
     
  15. Jhorer Brishti Senior Member

    United States/Bangladesh English/Bengali
    I agree with Opsidol. I especially recommend listening(and mimicking) to songs in your target language. I've done this with Spanish and found to my great amazement that I can now read in as quick a pace as any native speaker(though I suppose I don't sound like one) and can understand news broadcasts, tv show hosts, and most of what a native speaker is saying(unless they happen to be Cuban/Chilean). I have more trouble forming sentences on my own and responding since half the battle's in learning how to think in the language.

    The other aspect is that you have to understand and copy the intonation, hand gestures, and expressions of the people who speak your target language and if this is done incorrectly it's likely to result in a lot of laughs. In essence you have to not just learn how to speak a language but also to become a Spanish, French, Tagalog, Swahili or what have you, speaker and I suspect most of us are too xenophobic/clinging to our own identities to perform that giant leap...
     
  16. Chaska Ñawi

    Chaska Ñawi modus borealis

    an old Ontario farmhouse
    Canadian English
    I also tend to lose the "flow" of a language if too much time passes without my using it on a daily basis. This is particularly true of Spanish, since these days my spoken Spanish is limited to telephone conversations ....a few times a year .... with friends in Buenos Aires.

    I think verbal fluency also depends on HOW you learn a language. Last year, when I taught French, I used a new method that incorporated a hand gesture with each word. (It's called AIM, the Accelerative Integrated Method.) It embeds a language faster than anything I've ever seen. I'd gesture and speak a sentence, the children would gesture and speak with me, and because they were seeing, speaking and doing the language (visual, verbal and kinesthetic), they were soon able to carry on a conversation with only an occasional gestured prompt. I was also pleased to see that with this program, they didn't immediately lose their spoken French during the 2 months of summer vacation. With this program, writing isn't introduced until the children have a good grounding in the verbal language (Spiceman's pidgin language) - this is much the same way we learn our mother languages, where writing comes only after verbal mastery.

    I'm not teaching language this year, but if I were - whatever the language - I'd stick with this method. I even taught my students rudimentary Quechua using AIM when we started our unit on the Incas, Aztecs and Mayans.
     
  17. ckapz New Member

    english
    Thats funny, I have the opposite problem. I understand spoken french almost perfectly now but I'm not so hot at speaking it.(mostly because I dont practice enough)
     
  18. Nadine Beck Senior Member

    Arlington VA, USA
    español e inglés, Puerto Rico y la EE.UU.
    I have an opposite problem too. I can speak & understand SPanish almost like a native -- and I can interpret and translate-- but I can't relax and read a novel in Spanish without a dictionary. (And how relaxing is that??) Also I am much better at interpreting than translating. I can simultaneous interpret -- but I could never translate without the help of the word forum!!! :eek:

    I think Spice Man is right about the learning curves being different.... Aren't different people more comfortable learning in different ways? When we get a new computer at home my husband reads the manual and I turn it on and play with it. Then he tells me what I'm doing wrong when I get stuck!:D

    BTW, I grew up in PR with US/American parents, from the age of 6. My theory is that it was more of a priority for me as a kid to fit in than to understand what was going on in the page of a book. I remember clearly that in the 2nd half of 2nd grade I had 2 grades in Spanish, a 90something in pronunciation and a 40something in comprehension!:D

    So there you go, don't be feeling bad because you don't sound good or need to learn how to say "please speak to me slowly." Probably at least half of the people who sound good can't read half as well as you can!!!

    ;) Nadine
     
  19. opsidol Senior Member

    US - English
    ¡Qué interesante saber de todas las distintas dificultades que encuentran personas diferentes! Supongo que debe tener algo que ver con su personalidad y también con su situación. Si vives en un país donde se hablan español, y tienes que comunicarse cada día con gente que no habla inglés, entonces creo que hablarías mejor que escribir, pero al mismo tiempo si estás estudiando en tu propio país y no tienes mucha genta con la que hablar, vas a poder escribir mejor.

    Para mí, tengo la misma cantidad de problemas en cada área del idioma.
     
  20. Zakalwe

    Zakalwe Senior Member

    I studied english during 12 years and has been living in england for one year. There i could understant the teachers perfectly, but i had difficulties with understanding young people. And i'm always watching english movies with subtitles.
    On the contrary, i've been able to understand every spanish people and spanish movies only 6 months after starting to learn the language. Maybe it is because it is very similar to French or because here i'm surrounded by spanish people. I think both.
    If you really want to understand perfectly the language, you have to live//speak/work with people of the country, and as soon as you understand perfectly different kind of people/accent, you will be able to see movies or listen to radio without any problem.
     
  21. tvdxer Senior Member

    Minnesota, U.S.A.
    Minnesota, U.S.A. - English
    I don't have too much trouble speaking Spanish, and little reading it or writing it, but it's also listening to native speakers speak it that gives me problems.
     
  22. tvdxer Senior Member

    Minnesota, U.S.A.
    Minnesota, U.S.A. - English
    That's interesting. Personally, the kinesthetic applications have never really worked for me - but I think I'm very much not a kinesthetic person. I'm definitely a visual and verbal person. For me, the best way to learn is to constantly hear the language, so it integrates in my head, and to read, read, read texts and about verb tenses, prepositions, etc.
     
  23. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    In Finland the movies, TV-films etc. are never dubbed, always subtitled. The consequence is that when speaking with a foreigner I may unconsciously try to find the translated text; so I move my eyes from the person's face somewhere lower, which can be misunderstood when I speak with a woman.
     
  24. Alberto77 Senior Member

    Italy
    i have also problems in understanding english people speaking... i guess that it stems from the fact that i had only little contact with english speaking people, while i read much. so i can easily understand any kind of text while, for example for songs, i really feel "stupid", as i can understand a very low percentage... and the problem is that most of the time there are all words that i know, inside...
    i'm only glad i'm not the only one! ;-)
    ciao
    alb
     
  25. nanel Senior Member

    Madrid (Spain)
    Spain (Spanish)
    Well, as you may see, I have troubles with writting, because it's been so long since I wrote regulary, so I misspell some words, create new ones... :eek: and sometimes I also have troubles when talking because I get really nervous at the beginning, but when I get confident, everything goes fine. Understanding is not that difficult for me (spoken or written English). Of course written is easier, but spoken is not that difficult, you just have to practize a little with songs and films, that's why, having learnt British English I tend to speak more with an American accents (sort of, 'cause my accent is awful), and American words.
     
  26. ChloeM New Member

    Hampshire
    English/England
    hi!

    I used to find oral comp quite difficult and tiring, but it is just a case of practice and to try to stop translating everything and just listen. It becomes a lot easier if you are thinking in French too. If that makes any sense...

    I think the suggestion about watching films etc might help, if not a good holiday in France would help too ;)

    Good luck!
     
  27. Nadine Beck Senior Member

    Arlington VA, USA
    español e inglés, Puerto Rico y la EE.UU.
    Alberto --

    I think you should go easy on yourself about how much or little you understand of the language you hear in songs. I always find myself loving a song long before I have understood half of the words, even in my native English. Also, there are lines in songs I have heard repeatedly since childhood that I found out as an adult I had always misunderstood. (In one case I made up a new word...I was so sad when I found out it wasn't the singer who had made it up!)

    I think it's harder to understand the language used in songs because of the instruments playing at the same time, and also because a lot of singers run words together when they sing, even more than when they talk (which we do, too, unless we are careful because we are conscious of speaking with a language learner.) My theory is that unless the songs are being sung for children (who are also language learners!) the last thing the singers are thinking about is how well people can understand the words they are singing. (MOst of them include the words to the songs in written form -- probably they know most people can't really understand them all.) Try listening to children's music in English if you want to test my theory -- most of it probably won't hold your attention, but at least you will know it's not something about YOU that is preventing you from understanding the words!

    --Nadine
     
  28. Alberto77 Senior Member

    Italy
    ciao Nadine! thank you soooo much! u cheered me up a bit ;-)
    sometimes also when i listen to english people talking on the underground or on the bus i find it a bit hard to get wht they say, but in that case it is difficult also to understand italian people (too much noise...). what i promised to me to do is to watch english movies in original version, but i have no time to do that regularly... maybe that could help me...
    bye
    alb
     
  29. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    There is a whole book about misunderstood song words, at least in English and in Finnish, maybe in other languages, too. And they are misunderstood by natives.
     
  30. Nadine Beck Senior Member

    Arlington VA, USA
    español e inglés, Puerto Rico y la EE.UU.
    Now THERE's something that would be a lot of fun! Do you know what the books are called, Hakro? I bet there are books like that in other languages -- SOME, anyway.

    Alberto, I'm glad you found this information helpful. Movies might help, but only if you like them. They would have to be GOOD movies, so that they are fun and not a big chore -- then it wouldn' t be so hard to find time for them. If they are subtitled into Italian, that might make it a bit easier -- and you will still have to pay attention to the English to make sure they got the subtitles right -- because subtitles are so often inaccurately translated!
    --Nadine
     
  31. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    I didn't find the names of the books yet but I found this in the web.

    A good example is the Beatles' "Michelle":
    Actual words: Sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble, tres bien ensemble
    Misinterpreted: Sunday Monkey won't play piano song, play piano song

    ... or Jimi Hendrix' "Purple Haze":
    Actual words: 'Scuse me while I kiss the sky
    Misinterpreted: 'Scuse me while I kiss this guy
     
  32. Nadine Beck Senior Member

    Arlington VA, USA
    español e inglés, Puerto Rico y la EE.UU.
    Those are great! I remember the Purple Haze one -- it was talked about a lot, and it really sounds more like "kiss this guy." I NEVER HEARD the misinterpreted version of the beatles' Michelle! I will have to pass that on!

    --N
     
  33. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    I give you an example of the Finnish misinterpretations:

    Actual word: Rakkaimpani vierelläin = My dearest (person) by my side
    Misiterpreted: Rakkain pani vierelläin = A very dear person was f***ing by my side

    Even very clearly pronounced it's easy to misinterprete, isn't it!
     
  34. Nadine Beck Senior Member

    Arlington VA, USA
    español e inglés, Puerto Rico y la EE.UU.
    Yes, they look really close. I bet finnish language learners mess that one up all the time, and get very embarassed!

    --N
     
  35. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    No problem, Nadine. In fact, 'rakkaimpani' is so complicated linguistical construction that Finnish learners won't use it before decades of studying, if ever. The other alternative, 'rakkain pani', depends on the circumstances...
     
  36. voltape Senior Member

    Lima, Peru
    Peruvian Spanish/USA English
    Well, some languanges are easier to understand than others. Particularly Latins. Spanish and Italian are very clear. French has lost much of its clearness and Portuguese has a similar nasal sound and R sound as annoying as French. English has so many variants that you can only expect a few of them; hardly them all.
     
  37. Istriano

    Istriano Senior Member

    -
    At times I find it hard to understand Lisbon Portuguese and Madrid Spanish on TV, but it's because the actors speak too fast and don't have clear diction. In real life (face 2 face communication), it's easy to understand them. Most British accents (or shall I say dialects) are difficult to understand (Vicky Pollard for example). Some are so displeasing to my ear, I don't even bother with them...oh well...I think the best English in Europe is spoken in Dublin. :)
    Swiss German is impossible to understand too.
     
  38. ilocas2

    ilocas2 Senior Member

    I don't understand any spoken language except Czech and Slovak.

    I can read English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and French to great extent, but when I listen them, I can recognize only 4 words from 20 or something like that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
  39. voltape Senior Member

    Lima, Peru
    Peruvian Spanish/USA English
    That depends on your mother language. The one you have utilized since you were born.
    I am a Peruvian and my language is Spanish. Yet there are TV programmes from Argentina I can hardly understand a word, when they are talking in funny shows - If it is educated, standard Argentine Spanish then we all understand
     
  40. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    Translating in your head definitely IS too slow in odrder to understand spoken language. I can't really understand why you do that, but it probably has to do with the way some people teach languages.
    I can only suggest that you all train to transfer what you read and hear in any language into mental perceptions - images, emotions, smells whatever - just like you do with your native language.

    Especially a language like French, where it is sometimes sooo difficult to hear where one word ends and the next one begins you can't afford to lose time in between words - not even milli-seconds.
     
  41. indigofire1230 Junior Member

    Canada
    English - Canada (CaE)
    I was actually given some instruction with AIM in my school years, and I agree, it was great. It helped a lot. Of course, I never finished the entire program, but the amount that I did complete still sticks with me :) It's only things I've had to learn the traditional way since then that has had problems for me.

    But aside from that, my ability to listen in French has improved a lot. Sure, I'm still learning, I do have difficulties with missing information in between, but most times I at least catch enough to get the gist of what's being said. It's harder if someone's asking me to translate something into English that someone's speaking in French in real time, as using that program has caused me to generally think in a mixture of French words and just ideas when French is being spoken, so it takes me a bit more effort to stay right between the two languages the entire time someone speaks. If it's only a sentence or two, not so bad.

    French subtitles, and French text, that's much easier for me. I'm much, much better with written French.

    English, being my native language, not much of a problem :) although I do understand the misunderstood song lyrics thing. I know "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana gets misinterpreted a lot in English. The first time I heard the song, I remember hearing something like "Wear the lights out at the steakhouse/Here we are now eating tables" for part of the chorus, or something. I couldn't understand the song at all until someone told me what it said. It's become rather popular on Youtube now for English speakers to write their "versions" of song lyrics they hear incorrectly of songs in English and other languages. I'm not sure how popular this is in other languages, although I have run across at least one video of this sort in French :) so it's definitely not just us.
     
  42. ensoie Senior Member

    English, Hindi
    I have learnt French and Spanish.. I am very good at writing ,with a very good level of understanding of grammar and vocabulary. My professors have always appreciated my level of these languages and my ability to pick up well..! I can understand native speakers pretty well, though I have difficulties at times. But my problem is I can't speak as fluently.. it does not come out smoothly inspite of my understanding and knowlegde of these languages being really good. This may a times gets me low and also makes me feel nervous when I have to speak to natives(though I don't get that chance too often) and I end up hardly speaking anything for the fear of making mistakes or being stuck for words..! I work as a translator and sometimes need to directly communicate orally via telephone or in meetings to natives, I get too nervous and can't give my best then(also most of the times the telephone lines are not too clear, it gets worse) ! :(
    This I guess is due to lack of practice as I don't have anyone to speak these languages with!

    Well, as I see now people learning languages have similar problems..

    Wish all of you the very best! :)
     
  43. indigofire1230 Junior Member

    Canada
    English - Canada (CaE)
    I also have the same problems you have indicated here, I just did not think to say them in my post. I read better than I listen, but I also listen better than I speak! I can communicate decently well in French depending usually what verb tense or structure I'm using, as I learned several in AIM but I never completed it in school so I never gained the same fluency with a lot of other important tenses and structures when speaking that I can understand.

    And I do not get to practice my French very often with native speakers either. There are a decent amount of French speakers where I live, but English is still the predominant language, and the few friends I have that speak both languages usually only speak French with their families or at school, if they go to a French immersion school (it's a schooling system in Canada where all instruction is in French). As a result, I have not had much practice outside of the classroom with teachers or fellow students, and I am not fond of making too many mistakes when speaking so that hinders my spoken fluency too. You are very much not alone :)
     
  44. ensoie Senior Member

    English, Hindi
    :) :)

    I just don't have a solution to this..If only I could learn to be more calm, I would speak more and that would help me ..! But I get so nervous that I end up saying nothing at all or hardly anything !

    In fact, I have a few non native friends who speak French/Spanish, I am too nervous to speak to them too lest I would make mistakes and be judged..!
    So I end up not practising at all..

    Anyone else facing this problem? :) hehe
     
  45. indigofire1230 Junior Member

    Canada
    English - Canada (CaE)
    It's perfectly understandable to me :) honestly, I used to be deathly shy speaking my native language, let alone any others! I can say that most of my shyness has gone away in other areas, and I don't feel shy speaking in French with fellow non-native speakers around my level, but once I know they are far, far beyond where I'm at... I get the same feelings :) so I understand.

    I do watch the French channel a decent amount, and I'll watch some of my DVDs at home (especially ones that aren't too complex) with the French language track turned on. That's the only listening practice I get, and it's helped some, but not nearly as much as practicing speaking would. :) so I don't end up speaking either.
     
  46. ensoie Senior Member

    English, Hindi
    :) At least I am not alone !! ;)
     
  47. Roy776

    Roy776 Senior Member

    Kraków, Poland
    German & AmE
    Well, as I speak several languages, I will subdivide the text into these languages.

    German:
    As it's my first native language, there are almost no problems. But I have to admit that I'm incapable of understanding dialects, especially the bavarian, austrian and swiss dialects.

    English:
    Same as German. I am fluent in English, as it's my second native language. Unfortunately, I have little chance to train it more. My parents are against speaking it (for some reason), and I have only one friend who is american and visits my school, too. We often speak English, yet to me, it's not enough. But my listening and writing skills have been well trained by watching movies and TV in English as much as possible. Actually, I almost never watch anything in German.

    Spanish:
    I am in no way fluent in Spanish. I'm relatively fluent in writing it, yet I still confuse the Imperfecto and the Indefinido at times. When I'm speaking it, I'm sometimes quite nervous and therefore make some mistakes. Those are mostly problems regarding the Subjunctive Imperfect and the Conditional. And as I never had any chance to train it, I am quite unsure about treating someone by Usted (also only in spoken language). Regarding my understanding of spoken language... well it's quite good, I believe. I rarely have any problems understanding a Spanish speaking person right in front of me. Via Skype or other means, it gets a little more complicated.
    Perhaps it should also be noted, that I've trained my Spanish to the level it is now in just one year.

    Swedish:
    In no way fluent. Neither in spoken language, nor in written language. But I think I'm making good progress. There's only one big problem:
    I have no chance to train it. Neither spoken nor written. Therefore, I'm also quite untrained in understanding spoken language.

    Polish:
    Almost the same as Swedish, with the only difference being that I have a native speaker who can teach me and with whom I can talk.
     
  48. Askalon Senior Member

    English (US)
    I'm not advanced enough in any language to be able to have a good comprehension of them spoken or written. But after a year and a half or so of studying I can barely understand any spoken Korean. Part of it I think is segmenting the words, but mostly the word order. It feels like my brain isn't able to process things in SOV word order and is taking forever to adjust. When someone says even a relatively simply sentence, I have to pause and reshuffle the words around (assuming I can even understand the words) and by the time I finally understand it the person has uttered ten more sentences. And that's for simple sentences too--if there's an embedded CP, it's hopeless by that point.

    I don't have anywhere near the same problem in Spanish. It's much easier to process as the person is speaking.
     
  49. gabriel864

    gabriel864 Senior Member

    Georgia, USA
    Spanish-Venezuela
    I've been studying English on my own for over 6 years now, I started teaching myself and I happened to start dating an American Girl who is now my wife :) so I have been struggling with the same problem, trying to be fluent!

    At first I had the same problem, it was so hard to understand English, people had to speak super slow, even my girlfriend (back then)... luckily, she could speak Spanish... but I hated that I couldn't be able to speak fast and understand when people would talk to me in a normal speed!... but then I figured out what my problem was! ... I WAS TRANSLATING EVERY SENTENCE INTO SPANISH N MY HEAD!.. I think that's the biggest issue when you start doing that! because it makes the whole process of understanding very difficult!... so I started learning English in a different way, Instead of linking English words with words in my native language, I started linking them with images, it was hard at first, but believe me... that was the only thing that really helped me!... Now I think I speak more fluently!.. I won't lie .. it isn't perfect! and Im still working on my pronunciation and as you can see I dont speak English with fancy word and I'm really bad with punctuation, but at least now I understand people who speak really fast and even this weird southern accent in GA where I just moved in!.. I believe we will never get to perfection when it comes to languages (not even native speakers do) but it is always good to learn a language and be able to write it, speak it and comprehend it because it will open up many doors in our lives :)

    Good luck everyone.. keep up the good work
     
  50. Angelo di fuoco Senior Member

    Germany
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Started Catalan on Monday. Listening to audio recordings and real speech was not bad at all (I know Spanish, French and Italian very well): I was able to understand known expressions (greetings and farewells) and to grasp the global sense of the dialogues.
     

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