How to Learn Spanish Intonation Without Boring Yourself to Death

I have thus far been taking a fairly “academic” approach to learning Spanish, i.e., following the Pimsleur program it its listen-and-repeat mode. But there’s a problem.

In an academic approach, everything feels more like a drill and is fairly boring, honestly.

Now, drills can be a very good thing to do. But, with LiveMocha, I have started to learn more organically by interacting with native speakers. This makes it much more exciting and spontaneous to learn. Learning in the moment when you need to do something is just fantastic.

Sometimes I have chatted with native Spanish speakers over Skype, which enables both audio and written modes of exchange…. much better than only having audio capability or only having written capability. This is the best way to learn– talking with another human!

However, this is not always possible… sometimes you don’t have a human to practice with. So here’s a suggestion I received from one of my language partners on LiveMocha (you can tell she is learning English):

I recommend you to listen as the same you try to sing music in spanish… following the lyrics. Andrés Cepeda (he is pretty much clear when he sings) …. hope it works for you ….let me know if you want more recommended artists.

I responded by saying it was a great idea and could she send me some links to music. She responded:

I tried to select  low speed songs. Hope it works for you…
Try them to practice different sounds. If you like the method I can suggest  you more songs and artists.

Andrés Cepeda–Día tras Día:

http://www.musica.com/letras.asp?letra=1563479

ACepeda–Voy a extrañarte todo el tiempo

http://www.planetadeletras.com/index.php?m=s&lid=85711

Bacilos– Tabaco y chanel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSUy9Bj99L8
http://www.lyrics007.com/Bacilos%20Lyrics/Tabaco%20Y%20Chanel%20Lyrics.html

Carlos Vives– La cartera
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgqRFBhFVHY

Fonseca:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUDDV6T1go8

What a great suggestion! She is one of the more generous people I have found on LiveMocha. She took the time to find the videos plus the lyrics and to include the links. I thanked her very much.

So I have begun to listen to these songs as a way of learning Spanish intonation without boring myself to death. I like it better than Spanish TV at this point because the songs are simple and repeatable. With a song, once I learn the lyrics I can have some idea what it means as I am saying it. With a TV show, there really is no genuine learning of the conversations.

Who knows, I might be able to sing along with Spanish radio one day :)

If you have any other suggestions for more creative ways to learn good pronunciation, please leave a comment below!




Published October 1, 2010

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  • http://www.spanishexamples.com Steve

    Hi Ryan,

    I have tried with music, but it just doesn’t work for me. I find that lyrics can often be a bit too poetic for learning proper usage (unless the song is reaaaally boring). When I arrived in Spain I stuck to the TV news for the most part, as you usually can tell what is going on from the pictures. Plus it’s a good way to get to know the culture and history of the country that you are living in.

    • Ryan

      Steve! Great to have you stop by… I have always struggled with TV because it’s like a bunch of gibberish to me, with every 50th word understandable (at least recently). I have had better success with music, but you’re right, the lyrics can be too poetic. The main idea is to just keep learning. :)

  • http://priyank.com/travel/ Priyank

    Hi Ryan!
    That’s very cool, I am learning Spanish in preparation of Mexico and so far I’ve limited myself to audio lessons. I will definitely give this a try, and score some culture points in the process. Thanks! :)
    Priyank

    • Ryan

      Hey Priyank! Yea, I’ve found it’s a great way to learn culture… Also, I really like to have the Spanish lyrics and English translation side by side while I listen to them. That way I can understand what they are saying.

      Thanks for stopping by… Let me know how things go in Mexico!