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Author: Oli Norwell

Advanced Spanish Listening Resources For Free

Since the dawn of time (or at least since the invention of the cassette player!) language learners have been subjected to hideously wooden role playing scenes where a tourist typically asks for directions to the train station/museum/beach. The idea being that by following these little sketches, we could improve our listening skills. I want to argue that beyond the beginner level, these…

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How to Visit China Without A Visa (Shenzhen 5 Day Visa – from Hong Kong)

This information was correct as of February 3rd 2014 Update: 05/07/2015: A British traveller has confirmed that the visa described in this article is still available, and the process described below is still relevant. He successfully followed the guide in recent days. Update 06/06/2014: Despite ‘America’ being on the list of countries with a listed price. Several reports have now…

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15 Unbreakable Rules For Successful Hosting With Couchsurfing

Over the last two years I’ve had over 50 complete strangers stay with me through Couchsurfing (www.couchsurfing.org). The basic idea is that as a host you offer free accommodation to travellers who need somewhere to stay. People make requests to stay at your home through the website in advance, you then decide whether to accept them or not. Stage 1…

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Learn Spanish with the stars of La Liga

It’s widely agreed that good listening skills are critical to learning a language. Good listening skills are important when trying to understand other people. You need to understand other people and correctly hear the questions that they ask you to have a decent conversation with them.

There are many forms of listening practice. The most basic being listening to what another person says to you whilst you are talking to them. This is the purest form, but it’s not the best, for one you cannot replay what you hear over again over again until you understand it. If you ask the other person to repeat themselves they will more than likely adjust the words and sentence structure to make the sentence easier to understand.

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The 5 Stages Of The Language Learner

I was recently asked what was the most difficult thing that I have ever done. Without doubt I would now answer with ‘learning another language’. But enough of that negativity, I will borrow Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field and say that Spanish is now comfortably under my grasp.

I moved to Spain knowing nothing more than yes, no and the numbers from 1 to 5 (true story). So I very much began from scratch. Over the last 18 months I have found myself moving through certain stages. In this post I want to describe what for me are the classic stages of acquiring a second language.

1) The honeymoon stage

This is where you move to a foreign country, attempt to make friends, and naturally those who you attract into your life tend to be those who already speak your own language. You bond quickly with them and live in a bubble made up of 95% of your own language, intertwinned with the occasional simple request in the local language. This stage helps settle you into the country, and provides a comforter that you know you can always return to again in the future should you wish to.

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