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ABOUT THE PODCASTS
The Teaching Yourself Spanish Podcasts are designed to give you practice with your Spanish. Each podcast is a translation exercise. First you will hear a sentence or phrase spoken in English. You have to come up with a good Spanish equivalent. Then the answer is given in Spanish by a native Spanish speaker. Then you repeat the answer.
These translation exercises help you develop:
1) Listening comprehension – Hearing the Spanish answer will help you practice your aural skills.
2) Vocabulary and Phrase Building – You will learn new words and phrases and reinforce your memory of words and phrases you have already learned.
3) Pronunciation speed – By speaking aloud, you practice sounding more like a native Spanish speaker.
4) Your ability to speak more like a Spanish speaker – Usually before we become fluent in a 2nd language, we go through the process of thinking about how we might say something in English, then translate it in our head word for word. As English speakers, what we think would be the most logical answer often sounds clumsy in Spanish. The translation exercises in these podcasts specifically target this problem, by giving you the more natural way of saying something in Spanish.
5) Grammar review – Many of these podcasts feature a specific aspect of grammar. They are the perfect supplement to your studies.
My favorite thing about Translation drills is #4. I think that is why these drills are so useful. The other thing that I find useful is having to come up with a way to say something that is rather random, but really quickly. That is how our brain would be working in real live situations. So some of the translation drills will combine different verb tenses and random topics.
The podcasts are divided into Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. Beginner level podcasts are for more advanced beginners. Intermediate podcasts start to mix up different verb tenses. Advanced podcasts use more complicated sentence structures and more use of subjunctive and command forms.
EPISODES 001 – 008
The recordings are from the FSI (Foreign Service Institute) Spanish Basics course, levels 1-4. The entire series has been broken up into individual sections and converted into translation drills. For those who have taken the courses, the content may seem familiar, but being presented in a different context, it will provide plenty of useful practice. For those who haven’t taken the course, for various reasons it is quite tedious to get through. These translation drills are perfect because most of the vocabulary you should already know, and you can supplement your own study by working with grammar subjects that correspond with what you are concurrently studying elsewhere.
To learn more about the FSI Spanish programs, read this article.
Each podcast has a page with notes on some of the words or grammar. I realize these kind of drills, no matter how incredibly useful, can be somewhat boring. To make things a little more interesting, each podcast will feature a different musical track from a Latin musician. Song title and artist info, with appropriate links, will be available on the corresponding page for the podcast.
The podcasts are FREE for anyone to use. You may download them and have them available to use on your iPod or mp3 player.
You can subscribe to all the podcasts, or only the level you are interested in: Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced. To subscribe to one of these categories, visit the Podcast Archive page and then select the desired category.
New podcast episodes no longer use the FSI material.