Hear that? That’s the sound of you learning Spanish.
To be fluent in the language, you have to practice Spanish listening. A lot.
After all, you can’t be fluent if you don’t understand spoken words.
You probably already know this, but it can be hard to know exactly where to begin and how to branch out.
Thankfully, there are a lot of terrific ways to practice your listening skills.
You can never have enough listening resources, and man, are there ever a lot out there.
To understand all facets of Spanish, it’s best to find a mix of native/authentic Spanish sources and educational/teaching sources.
This mixture will help you perfect your academic Spanish, laying the groundwork for good grammar—but it’ll also help you learn the real Spanish that will make you sound like a native speaker.
By mixing academic and authentic Spanish listening sources, you’ll get the best of both worlds.
Below, we’ll look at 19 terrific websites that will help you amp up both your academic and authentic Spanish listening skills.
But first, let’s talk about why you should always aim for variety in all aspects of your listening practice.
Why Practice Your Spanish Listening with Lots of Varied Resources?
- Listening skills are often overlooked. With so many grammar rules and vocabulary words to learn, it’s easy to forget that you need listening practice. Jumping in with many varied resources will help ensure you don’t leave this vital area underdeveloped!
- Being able to understand a wide array of spoken Spanish takes a lot of practice since there are many regional varieties. Using a selection of different resources will help prepare you to understand any spoken Spanish regardless of the speaker’s accent.
- Practicing listening will also improve your pronunciation. The more often you hear Spanish spoken by a wide range of native speakers, the more natural you’ll sound.
- Using a variety of resources will prepare you for different situations. Hearing Spanish spoken in many contexts will help ensure you know how to use it in those contexts—whether that be conversations, public speeches or business settings.
With so many benefits of using diverse listening activities, it’s high time you dove into the plethora of great resources the internet has to offer…
19 Superb Sites for Spanish Listening Practice to Amp Up Your Skills
SpanishListening offers a nice selection of neatly organized listening activities at a number of different levels of proficiency and focuses on a variety of different topics such as health, animals, sports, hobbies and more.
There are accompanying videos, so if you like to see the person who’s speaking, you can. You can even choose your video by who is speaking, and each speaker’s country of origin is listed. This way, you can select activities where you hear regional Spanish variations.
While this resource offers videos, the real focus is on the audio. If you have trouble, you can refer to a transcript. Accompanying exercises and quizzes help test your listening comprehension. This is a great way to confirm that you understand what you heard.
There’s a wide variety of videos on topics like soccer, Disney musicals, TV shows, music videos and even magical realism, as you can see here:
Each video is captioned, and the words are annotated. That means you can easily see meanings, definitions and example sentences for all vocabulary just by hovering over the word. If you click a word, you can even see how it’s used in other videos on the platform.
This makes FluentU perfect for listening practice. You can always choose to simply listen without the help of looking at the video or subtitles. If you don’t know a word, though, you have the full support of FluentU’s resources to ensure that you learn it.
Before you even start watching a video, you’ll see a list of the Spanish vocabulary words you can learn from it. You can even look at the transcript of the dialogue and see new words in use before you even press play.
What’s more, FluentU offers a unique learning feature that incorporates video clips, pictures and example sentences into exercises and flashcards.
FluentU even learns with you! The learning algorithm takes learner history into account when presenting questions and builds on what you’ve already learned. This makes FluentU ideal for any level of Spanish learner, from beginner to near-native.
Use FluentU to create vocab lists and track your progress through personalized quizzes as you advance through video after video.
By using FluentU to practice your listening, you’ll pick up real-world accents from native Spanish speakers all while enjoying entertaining, authentic videos.
Easy Spanish from Easy Languages offers over 100 unique YouTube videos that are great for listening practice.
Perhaps the best feature of Easy Spanish is that much of the audio is from real people from different Spanish-speaking countries, including Mexico and Peru. This will help you get used to understanding regional accents.
Plus, if you have trouble with any of the audio, you can refer back to the video to see both the written Spanish and the English translation.
SpanishPod101 is a hugely popular name in audio language learning, and they have a regularly updated Spanish course that’s all done in the form of podcasts—along with some video lessons and learning features.
There’s an insanely large library of audio and video goodies here, with 1,600 lessons and counting! And they’re all accompanied by printable PDFs of notes, flashcards, community forums and an app for on-the-go learning.
Not only does this audio course have material appropriate for all skill levels, from newbie to nearly fluent, but it also covers all your bases in terms of topics. You’ll listen and learn about a range of Spanish language topics from vocabulary and grammar to culture and real-life conversations that you’ll bump into abroad.
To check it out for yourself, create a free account and see what the site’s all about.
Looking for something a little less traditional and a bit gritter? Gritty Spanish is a course in street Spanish—featuring Spanish from Latin America, Spain and New York—that will introduce you to the fine art of Spanish cursing. You’ll hear Spanish that you don’t hear anywhere else, because everyone else is too afraid to get real.
Be warned! This course is mean for adults who don’t mind politically incorrect topics and vulgarity—though there’s a censored version for the more sensitive language learner too.
All in all, it’s a cool boost for Spanish learners at the intermediate level and above, and for anyone who wants to get grittier. You can try a free sample lesson to see how entertaining this course can be.
LingQ is a combo learning tool that covers everything from audio resources—like interviews, audiobooks, podcasts and more—to community forums, group classes led by professional instructors, one-on-one Spanish tutoring sessions, goals assessment and tons of learning tools.
You can use this program on any device from your computer to your tablet or smartphone.
The American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) offers listening exercises for six levels from beginning through advanced students.
Each exercise offers several brief audio passages accompanied by related questions. This will help you practice your listening while testing your comprehension so that you can see how much you actually understood.
These exercises are helpful for any Spanish student, but they are particularly helpful for students who plan on taking a test with a listening component, such as the AP Spanish Language and Culture Exam.
Audible is a subscription service for audiobooks. They offer a number of great Spanish-language options which are perfect for listening practice.
Since audiobooks offer clean, precise spoken words, they are often less daunting for language learners than authentic conversation. Plus, there are enough different books that you can certainly find something to suit your interests, and that will make listening practice much easier.
Audible offers options for every level of Spanish student. Beginning Spanish speakers might try “El principito” (“The Little Prince”), which uses relatively simple vocabulary. For more advanced learners, there are a plethora of options, too, including “Bajo la misma estrella” (translates literally to “under the same star,” but this is the Spanish title for “The Fault in Our Stars”)—perfect for the John Green fan (i.e., everyone).
If you are a beginning or intermediate student who wants to practice listening to Spanish news but you aren’t quite ready for the speed of actual newscasts, this is a great option for you.
News in Slow Spanish offers real news spoken at a slower rate than typical conversation. Additionally, there is a supporting transcript if you have trouble with the audio. You can even hover over some words for definitions. This resource is sure to help prepare you for more advanced listening activities.
While a lot of people get music from Pandora, you might not know that you can get Spanish-language music through it. Music is a terrific tool to help you learn Spanish, and Pandora has plenty of it.
This site offers hundreds of listening activities at four main levels: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and Superior. Each level is even broken down into further sub-levels to ensure that you find the listening activities that are perfect for your abilities.
Each activity offers a listening excerpt followed by a series of questions to test your comprehension and help you more thoroughly engage with the audio.
RTVE is a state-owned TV and radio network out of Spain. It offers an array of video and radio clips that are perfect for improving your listening skills.
You can watch news and TV clips, focusing on the audio and simply referring back to the video for context. You can also listen to radio clips. This is a great way to have an immersive listening experience at home.
Since RTVE is out of Spain, keep in mind that all of this will have a continental Spanish accent.
Spanish movies are a great way to practice listening. While the visual element can help you interpret what you are hearing, you’ll need to listen carefully to understand what is happening. Plus, movies are a great way to view lifelike conversations. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to navigate your way through the wide world of Spanish-language movies.
Spanish Movies Online is a good resource for finding a limited number of YouTube trailers for popular movies—like “Como agua para chocolate” (“Like Water for Chocolate”) and “Mar Adentro” (“The Sea Inside”)—along with summaries, all sorted by country. It can help you find movies that might interest you and understand what they are about before you dive in.
Plus, watching movie trailers is great practice in and of itself. They are brief, so you can easily fit a few into your busy schedule, and this is a great way to compare and contrast regional dialects very quickly.
Netflix on the other hand, is great for binging… on learning, that is.
There are some great Spanish-language Netflix movies out there, so your movie night can be educational. And if you are in the US, finder.com has composed a tremendous list of Netflix movies available with Spanish audio and/or subtitles just for you.
Cervantes.es has a Catálogo de voces hispánicas (Hispanic voices catalog) that offers audio excerpts of native Spanish speakers from a wide variety of countries and even regions within those countries.
Since accents can vary a great deal, Catálogo de voces hispánicas is a great way to practice listening to different accents. If you plan on traveling abroad, this is great preparation that will ensure you can understand Spanish wherever you go.
Again, listening to Spanish-language music is always great for listening practice.
Live-TV-Radio.com offers links to stations from all over Latin America. You can select your country of choice. From there, you have options for what sort of content you want or even what city the station is based out of.
There are plenty of awesome YouTube channels for learning Spanish, but few are as entertaining as HolaSoyGerman (Hello I’m German).
This Chilean YouTube sensation offers up funny videos (with some adult language). You’ll practice your listening and maybe even pick up some punchlines. Unfortunately, this channel no longer updates, but it has such a great collection of videos that it’ll still be useful for learners!
While AudioViator is intended for travelers, it is also a great option for Spanish learners.
AudioViator offers narrated Spanish-language travel guides for destinations around the world. This is a great way to practice listening while picking up geography and travel terms.
There are lots of great Spanish podcasts out there, and Cadena SER is a treasure trove of them.
There are options for people interested in sports, news, gastronomy and more. For instance, try SER Historia to learn about history and practice your listening skills at the same time.
So tune in to these 19 websites and listen up! Thanks to some Spanish listening practice, your language skills will be rocking in no time.
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