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Intermediate Spanish: Understanding spoken Spanish
Intermediate Spanish: Understanding spoken Spanish

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7 Deducing meaning

Sometimes we all face the challenge of not being able to hear clearly or understand what is being said in a foreign language film, perhaps because of background noise, the speed of the language or the speaker’s pronunciation of words. For example, a Spanish speaker from Andalusia will typically drop the letter ‘s’ from the end of words. You may feel frustrated when you can’t distinguish each word that is being said. In the final part of this course, you can practise some useful strategies to help yourself overcome this challenge.

Box 7: Deducing meaning

In your own language, you deal on a daily basis with understanding other speakers despite background noise, unfinished words and sentences, ungrammatical sentences, unpronounced letters and information not fully given. In your own language your mind will automatically fix incorrect language or fill in the gaps of what you can’t hear or understand.

When learning a foreign language you need to rely on other strategies to fill in those gaps, such as making an informed guess based on the knowledge and experience you already have of languages and of the specific situation or topic, whether you are talking to a native speaker or watching a video.

When watching videos you have the advantage of being able to pause and go back or to view more than once.