Spanish, when it is casually spoken, is like all languages in that people commonly use many shortcuts. Words are shortened; words become contractions, and this often affects the pronunciation.
For instance: Para – in this sense meaning toward. Note how it’s casually said in many Spanish speaking countries –Pa’allá – meaning over there. Note that this combines into what sounds like one wordpallá, but you are meaning para allá. What happens with the sounds in the above is linguistically called elision. It’s just a fancy word for words sliding together, such as the two vowels in pallá. A good example of this elision is mi hija. Your ear will perceive this as mija, as the h is silent, and the two I’s slide into each other.
Pa’cá – meaning over here. Para acá. Acá is a common substitute foraquí. You will hear it often in the command, Ven acá. Come here.
No tengo dinero pa’ comer. I don’t have money to eat. No sirve pa’ na’. This is short for no sirve para nada. It’s (or he/she is) not good (of any use) for anything These shortened forms are commonly heard (particularly in Mexico)
Feliz cumple – short for Feliz cumpleaños, Porfa – short for Por favor, La compu – short for la computadora
The key component in learning these shortened forms is to listen, listen, listen.
Yes, you need to actually speak and practice to improve your Spanish,but it’s equally as important to listen carefully and “sing back the song” you’re hearing around you. And just to remember why you’re doing all this and working so hard at your Spanish.