A frequent comment is about difficulty in Spanish listening comprehension. These are a few tips which you may find helpful.
Stop talking and start listening…a lot! It’s really helpful to find something to listen to, spoken at normal speed, which you can pause and repeat. The telenovelas offered on Netflix, Hulu and other services are terrific for this. If you want to see the acting career of the first lady of Mexico, watch one called Destilando Amor. You’ll also learn something about the production of Mexico’s national drink. Sometimes you can listen to the same sentence 10 times before the light dawns, and then it will be completely clear. Practice writing in your head what you are hearing. If you can visualize the writing of the sounds, you can often see the logic of those vowels sliding together.
Learn to listen in what I call clumps. You don’t have to hear every little word to understand a phrase. Just listen for the key words and let your mind slide over the little ones. There’s really no time to have every syllable register in the speed of normal conversation. If you’ve ever filled in words you assume are a part of an English conversation in a noisy bar, you’ll know what I mean. Educate your mind to listen for the main concepts, not the details.
When you’re listening to Spanish, put on your “Spanish hat” and don’t allow your mind to think or interpret in English. I was reminded of this recently when some intermediate speakers were following a dinner conversation. The key word in the Spanish situation was caos. In writing it’s clear that this word is chaos in English. But the intermediates were hearing the sound of CA – OS and thinking that the conversation was about bovine animals or cows. It was amusing, and a good example of letting English interfere, instead of visualizing a word pronounced with your “Spanish hat”. Laughter reigned at the table when we all figured out what had happened.