Learn Spanish with podcasts!

language learning Spanish

Title_ How to Study Efficiently for Hours On End (With the Help of a Tomato) (1)-2Podcasts are a great way to learn a language. Listening to them requires aural comprehension, but they can also help you study grammar and vocabulary. 

For the purposes of this post, we will take a listen to the Spanish-language podcast Radio Ambulante, which tells stories about Latin America in Spanish. The episode “Perdido en San José” is about the complicated way that Costa Ricans give directions due to their country’s informal system of addresses. Together, we are going to try to understand the episode, learn vocabulary, and identify the grammar rules of the impersonal/passive “se” and commands.

I. Comprehension Questions

  1. Why do Costa Ricans give such complicated directions? ¿Por qué los ticos dan direcciones tan complicadas?
  2. What points of reference do the episode’s narrators use to give directions? Can you think of some examples? ¿Qué puntos de referencia usan los narradores del episodio para dar direcciones? ¿Puedes pensar en algunos ejemplos?
  3. What problems does this method of giving directions cause? ¿Qué problemas causa este método de dar direcciones?
  4. What solutions are mentioned in the episode? ¿Qué soluciones mencionan en el episodio?
  5. Imagine that you are in San José, Costa Rica. Do you use a map, phone app, or Costa Rican-style directions to travel around the city? Why? Imagina que estás en San José, Costa Rica. ¿Usas un mapa, una aplicación, o direcciones ticas para viajar por la ciudad? ¿Por qué?

II. Vocabulary

  1. Make a list of ten words that you learned from the episode. Five should be cognates and the other five non-cognates.
  2. Write a Spanish synonym for each of these words.
  • tico:
  • rótulo:
  • mecedora:
  • semáforo:
  • lidiar: 

III. Grammar: Impersonal/Passive “Se”

Read the quotes from the episode below and look at the bolded words. What do the phrases “se usa” and “se usan” mean? 

“No se usa un sistema de rótulos de avenidas y calles en la mayor parte del país.”

“… sí existen calles y avenidas con nombres y números. En teoría, pero en la práctica, nada que ver. Nunca se usan.”

What is the rule?

Se + usa + ¿plural or singular object? 

Se + usan + ¿ plural or singular object?

IV. Grammar: Commands

  1. Think about how you get from your home to your school. Make a list of directions using verb infinitives. For example:
  • tomar el metro hasta el zoo del Parque Central
  • buscar la jaula de osos
  • doblar a la derecha
  • caminar 10km y está a mano izquierda

    2. Write the informal, singular (tú) command form for each of the following verbs. Which one is irregular? 
  • doblar:
  • caminar:
  • ir:
  • tomar:
  • buscar:

    3. Now, explain how to get to your school using the list of directions and command forms that you already prepared.

As you can see from these exercises, language comes alive when you encounter vocabulary and grammar through cultural texts like podcasts. Find an interesting podcast, and start listening!

There’s a good reason Spanish is the most-taught second language in America: it’s by far the most useful. Whether it’s for school, business, travel, or simply for everyday life, Spanish rewards anyone willing to put in the effort to learn it.  And with the right teacher, learning it can be a breeze!  That’s where Cambridge Coaching comes in. We offer customized private Spanish tutoring at all levels, from the newest beginners to the most advanced speakers. Our Spanish tutors are exceptional teachers - they are PhD candidates and teaching fellows at NYU, Columbia University, and Harvard University, published authors, and language professionals. Tell us about your goals, and we’ll help you get there in no time.

Contact us!

How to simplify pronouns in Spanish

What’s That Sound?: Diphthong (Diptongo), Hiatus (Hiato), and Understanding Spanish Syllables

The Language Tutor: Everyday Immersion

Comments

topicTopics
academics study skills MCAT medical school admissions SAT expository writing college admissions English MD/PhD admissions GRE GMAT LSAT chemistry writing strategy math physics ACT biology language learning test anxiety graduate admissions law school admissions MBA admissions interview prep homework help creative writing AP exams MD study schedules summer activities career advice history personal statements academic advice premed philosophy secondary applications Common Application computer science organic chemistry ESL PSAT economics grammar test prep admissions coaching law statistics & probability supplements psychology SSAT covid-19 legal studies 1L CARS logic games reading comprehension Spanish USMLE calculus dental admissions parents research Latin engineering verbal reasoning DAT excel mathematics political science French Linguistics Tutoring Approaches chinese DO MBA coursework Social Advocacy academic integrity case coaching classics diversity statement genetics geometry kinematics medical school skills IB exams ISEE MD/PhD programs PhD admissions algebra astrophysics athletics biochemistry business business skills careers data science letters of recommendation mental health mentorship quantitative reasoning social sciences software engineering trigonometry work and activities 2L 3L Academic Interest Anki EMT English literature FlexMed Fourier Series Greek Italian MD vs PhD Pythagorean Theorem STEM Sentence Correction Zoom admissions advice algorithms amino acids analysis essay architecture argumentative writing art history artificial intelligence cantonese capacitors capital markets cell biology central limit theorem chemical engineering chromatography climate change clinical experience cold emails community service constitutional law curriculum dental school distance learning enrichment european history finance first generation student fun facts functions gap year harmonics health policy history of medicine history of science information sessions institutional actions integrated reasoning intern international students internships investing investment banking logic mandarin chinese mba meiosis mitosis music music theory neurology operating systems phrase structure rules plagiarism poetry pre-dental presentations proofs pseudocode school selection simple linear regression sociology software study abroad teaching tech industry transfer typology units virtual interviews writing circles