100 hours of listening

I have just reached another mini mileston of reaching 100 hours of listening.

I started really trying to focus on listening to Spanish for minimum of 1 hour per day once I reached 10.000 words

I had about 40 hours when I started.

has my listening improved?

yes my listening has improved but I still do not hear or understand everything but as I have read numerous time of previous posts of mine that listening is probably the hardest skill to acquire.

I have been trying to make a real effort of watching series and YouTube videos in Spanish to really boost up my listening hours, if I had a higher number known words I would probably be able to watch more and more series and content in Spanish with subtitles but there still are a lot of words that I do not know just yet as this makes it as always discouraging.

I feel that if I continue my target of listening for minimum of an hour per day that I will keep improving and as my known words increase this will also make me watching Spanish content more enjoyable.

I will be starting the gym soon and have said to myself that I will be listening to 1 hour of audio while in the gym and perhaps 30 mins while at home.

making a total of 1.5 hours of listening everyday.

I would love to be able to listen more but its hard to keep finding the motivation to something you do not understand.

Muchas gracias como siempre

If you can’t understand most of what you’re listening to (or enough of it for it to be worthwhile), then I think you should do something different. Either listen to easier material, or listen to material at the same level with transcripts that will help you improve your listening (either reading as you listen, or reading after you listen and then listening multiple times). For the latter, you could try Notes in Spanish, which has three levels with free audio and a small fee for the transcripts.

On this topic, here’s a blog post I wrote about how to use transcripts in listening (the context is listening to our English podcast but the points I make are relevant no matter the language):


It sounds a bit like you’re passively hearing it, not actively listening to it. If so, you could be doing that until the cows come home without much improvement. If you’re not understanding much of it, it’s likely too far over your head.

Jungleboy made a good suggestion with NIS, it’s a free podcast and has beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. TBH, even the advanced level is a little bit slow (for advanced), but depending on what you can understand, it’s unlikely to be too easy at this stage. It’s based on natural conversations from a couple who live in Spain, the guy is English but the woman is from Madrid. The English guy, Ben, speaks very good Spanish, although his pronunciation is a little off, but that’s OK IMO as he’s easier to understand and he kind of acts as a bridge making it easier to understand his wife, Maria.

You probably want to skip the beginner series as there’s a lot of English between the rather short Spanish conversations and it’s really, really slowly spoken Spanish, aimed at absolute beginners. Start with the intermediate pods. I’ll just say, the early one’s are a little bit faster than the later intermediate episodes, I guess they got feedback during the series suggesting they slowed down a touch, so if you find the first few too tough (I suspect you won’t), work backwards through the series.

As Jungleboy has said, they offer transcripts for like £40, or something like that, which usually covers something like 30-40 episodes each consisting of 10 minute (approx) conversations on various topics like living, eating, and working in Spain, cultural differences with England, politics, famous Spanish people, as well as discussing various books and studies they’ve found. If you want to purchase the transcripts, I’d wait until Easter as they often have a sale on during the holidays where you can probably get them half price, or a third off, something like that. There’s also one episode here on Lingq about the mafia in Spain, it’s one of their free sample episodes, you should be able to find it under early intermediate/beginner level on here. It’s one of the more slowly spoken intermediate episodes. Give that a try first and see what you think.

If they’re not for you, then you could perhaps try LIghtspeed Spanish who are basically a clone of NIS, same setup, English guy, Spanish wife from Madrid. They have a YouTube channel with lots of videos, including the videos they also made into a podcast. I find it quite a bit more basic than NIS in that they talk much more slowly and the topics aren’t very highbrow, let’s say, but they’re very funny, and I’ve laughed out loud many times listening to them. Go straight to the upper intermediate and advanced speaker levels as the earlier two levels are too basic, with too many explanations of grammar in English, of which there is none in the higher levels.

Both those podcasts are nice introductions to understanding the spoken language without feeling too overwhelmed, and they’re fun to listen to, at least for me they were. One last thing I’d suggest is to dedicate some time to listening where you don’t have other distractions going on, don’t just press play at the gym hoping you’ll eventually understand them if you’re not able to follow them right now. Do some studying as you listen (with the transcripts, if you get them), really try hard to understand, repeatedly listen if you have to, when you feel you can understand enough to follow along, then play them whilst you’re at the gym or whatever, otherwise it’s a waste of time IMO.

Good luck.


I have this same problem right now with my Spanish listening. Basically, I have two specific problems:

  1. I currently have trouble holding all the words in more than 1 sentence in my head.
  2. I sometimes have trouble determining the initial sound of a world like the word puedo if it starts a sentence because it is a softer sound or a word like va that sounds like a when I hear it at the start of a sentence. Or I will have trouble determining when a word starts and ends and am unsure what the word is. For example, a sentence could read Está en la casa and I am not sure if I am hearing Está, Están or Estaban. These issues are also part of the reason why I struggle with #1 because my mind wastes time trying to solve these word puzzles instead of simply focusing on the meaning and places iin the sentence for each word.

For #1, I think the OP is right that this can be improved by continuing to listen to audio (and talking with native speakers) and trying to actively follow along. As I learn extra words, reinforce the ones I know and learn some deductive reasoning for common sentence structures, I believe I should be able to spend less brain power doing these mental conversions and focus more on the order of all the different words in the 2 or 3 sentences.

For #2, I think listening to audio and having conversations with Spanish speakers will help. But I still think I will need more help to detect the sounds correctly and know when words end and begin. I have started to use a software program called Glossika which I hope will help me with this. It will tell you a phrase(s) and you need to repeat it or write it out. This is what allowed me to discover I have trouble understanding some of the sounds I mentioned #2. My hope is focusing time each day on this repetition can help adjust my mind to recognize these sounds better. However, I do have a fear that my mind will simply memorize the phrases so I try to fight that and key on the listening aspect each time pretending I don’t know what the phrase is. One other thing I do like about it is it will eventually ramp up to several sentences which is currently beyond my level to follow. So there is room to grow my ability to hold sentences in my head and it is a more active way to force myself to remember each sentence or sentences.

One other thing I have been thinking about to help with distinguishing and hearing sounds is whether it would be very helpful to buy a course like The Mimic Method. It claims to teach you each of the various sounds and how to say them. I think this could help me train my ear to where I can better pick up the sounds that are more foreign to an English speaker. Its focus is obviously on speaking and mimicing native speakers but I would suspect it offers this benefit as well. But maybe there is another program or course that addresses this more directly.

It would be interesting to see how other more experienced language learners are addressing these issues.

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Thanks I will have a look I can understand more or less some of the audio within Lingq but of course my listening is no where near where I want it yet.

Yeah it is not an easy progress. I have a bunch of audio from some of the lessons I have completed within Lingq and I have listened to them a bunch of times. I feel like I need to keep listening to content that is somewhat within my level and just repeat and repeat.

Reading while listening is a way good way of improving comprehension but finding audio with a transcript and an interesting transcript is even more difficult.

The problem is, the way you describe your current approach, it’s actually really difficult to determine at what level you’re actually at. This is one of the drawbacks of there being so many alternative methods and content being available right now: it’s a lot harder to determine what’s the “appropriate” level of material you should be aiming for and it’s harder to find a structured way of progress.

I was lucky enough to start my process with Assimil, which gives a very structured way of progressing with reading and listening and the method has prepared me to tackle native level material at the end of the two courses. But if you’re jumping around a bunch of alternative methods, many of them simply won’t provide you with that structure.

Technically at 13K + Spanish words, you should be able to work through books and be able to comprehend podcasts – but it kinda does depend on where those 13K words came from and where that 100 + hours of listening came from.

My suggestion would be to find a core structure to guide your studies, THEN you can watch all the YouTube clips you want as a secondary exercise.

(NOTE: YES, one can learn a language with a random hotch patch of activities like YouTube and yodeling classes and electroshock therapy, or whatever the next internet celebrity comes up with. My argument is that doing it right tends to be more effective for more people, that’s all.)


I do find some text to be more easily understandable than others, albeit first mentioned might be in a higher level. My mind is simply more absorptive to the interesting contents with pleasant voice.

I highly recommend following courses.
Español Automático

Radio Ambulante - NPR


A lot of basic vocabularies are used repetitively throughout the content, they are certainly helpful and practical.

First I listen to the audio along with the text, and get a general picture. Secondly I aim for full comprehension by trying to pickup “contextual clue” for all unknown words while I listen to the audio without the text , or i might do it on third round of listening.

Lastly I recommend massive speaking after reading and listening to the lesson, and this can be done in 5 ~ 10 minutes segments after each lesson.

Summarize the story, providing arguments, paying attention to the sentence structures or simply talk gibberish using new vocabularies are few things that we can do to bring our listening and overall comprehension up a notch.

I find the ability to adjust the audio in the increment of 10% of the original to be really helpful for listening comprehension.

I wonder if tech at lingq can implement something similar?

Espero que los consejos sean útiles. ¡Que pueda gozar todos los progresos en el aprendizaje del español!

Thanks for the feedback everyone I have just been to Spanish meet up tonight as I usually do once a month and I feel that my listening has most definetly improved there was a female there that was an English native but spoke fluent Spanish and I could understand everything she said, there was also a girl from Barcelona who I also could understand a lot so compared to last month I do feel some progression. I feel like from reading the comments I need to aim toward more my level of content for example lessons I have already completed in Lingq and as my known words slowly increase keep using input activies YouTube videos/Netflix speaking with natives and when I start going to the gym listening to those lessons again but passively.

Very glad to hear you are analyzing your method of learning especially with listening comprehension. This is imperative as you will consistently be doing this in your language journey.

I think memorizing phrases though is not a bad thing; it helps you understand grammar in a more native environment and allows you improve your overall language level versus just by memorizing words. On the contrary, though, it sounds like you are simply trying this for listening comprehension and there is nothing wrong with that. One of the best tools for improving your listening comprehension is as you mentioned, having conversations in the language. It is very scary at first, but you are able to control the speed of the speaker (by asking the individual to slow down if necessary), and you will also hear many of the same phrases used over and over again. This allows you to practice speaking as well as focus on what the person is saying so you can accurately respond.

Keep up the hard work, and continue listening, both active listening and passive. Best of luck my friend. You will see progress and I can’t wait to hear about your progress.

-Cody C.


Sorry, but your Note was hilarious. Yodeling classes. haha. Wow.