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Tutor Francisco José Martínez Vicente 's Column

Why you should listen to podcasts in Spanish.

May 7, 2019

Most of books to learn Spanish include a CD or a link to download audio files. The main feature of this audio is the sample of the language in a concrete context: radio interviews, informal or formal conversations, ads, and so on. They are ok to learn some linguistic strategies and structures. In fact, that extra learning material has been made for a general student profile. For example, what a student must learn to achieve the level A1 (CEFR).

However, nowadays, it's possible to increase your fluency in Spanish thanks to the digital resources you find on the Internet. For example, Spanish podcasts on Spotify.

What a podcast is.

Wikipedia defines the concept of podcasting as...
an episodic series of digital audio or video files which a user can download in order to listen to. Alternatively, the word "podcast" can refer to the individual component of such a series; or to an individual media file. Compare "pod".

Podcasting often uses a subscription model, whereby new episodes automatically download via web syndication to a user's own local computer, mobile application, or portable media player.

Advantages of listening to podcasts.

1. Development of our learning through mental images. 

In a study done by Emma Rodero at Pompeu Fabra University, it was found that listeners of podcasts generate more vivid images in their minds and have high levels of emotional involvement in the story. 
Another study proves that podcasts stimulate mental imagery more intensely and cause listeners to have to pay more attention. Since listeners of podcasts are only listening to a story and not seeing it, it causes them to have to use their imagination and build pictures of who and what they are listening to in their head. Therefore, their imaginations are more strong and vivid than those who do not listen to podcasts. 

2. A connection with your interests.

The use of YouTube, Netflix and the podcasts have revolutionized the way that we consume digital contents in our mobile devices. Those platforms offer a menu or catalogue to choose and use with a click. Our ion is influenced by our interests: sports, mindfulness, health, news and a lot of relevant formats. Now you are the centre of the digital universe. You decide what is useful and what not.

Podcasting, as a digital narrative, creates a community of fans who interact together writing their favourite episodes, suggesting topics or expressing their dislikes. Besides the community has a collaborative spirit, so the fans help others to practice a foreign language in an informal way. It is considered a great advantage if you compare the ordinary learning way in a classroom to a digital community with like-minded people.

3. More than a recorded lesson.

Podcasts come in a variety of lengths with different topics and subjects, so you are bound to find one that interests you. If you are interested in learning random facts ad nauseam, check out No Such Thing As A Fish, where they discuss interesting tidbits of information the entire time. Want to hear the latest theories for season six of Game of Thrones? Pop on an episode of A Podcast of Ice and Fire. Podcasts are such a great use of time because they allow you to become more deeply involved in areas you are interested in. 

4. Everywhere and anytime.

Another wonderful thing about podcasts is that they're easy to listen to while you're doing something else. I often turn one on while I'm walking to class or waiting for a lecture to start, but you can also listen to them while you're cleaning or browsing Pinterest. There are so many different ways and places to listen to podcasts, and they don't distract from other important tasks you may need to complete. 

5. Getting used to the Spanish sounds.

In this day and age, talking and getting your ideas out is seen as one of the most important parts of interactions with other people. However, podcasts are all about listening to other people's stories, and through this, you will gain a greater appreciation for simply listening. It is easy to let your mind wander off during a conversation and completely miss what the other person was saying, and the same goes for podcasts. Therefore, listening to podcasts will help you to engage yourself more fully in stories and to become a part of what you are listening to.

6. The world is seen through the podcast point of view.

Podcasts allow you to see the world from many different perspectives and hear thoughts from different voices. Podcasts allow you to control who you are influenced by, so you are able to access multiple perspectives if you want. Through this and through listening to stories, you will see the world in a completely new and exciting way. I remember my first time listening to This American Life, when they did an episode on the Greek refugee camps. The episode opened my eyes to what was going on and allowed me to feel a great deal of empathy for the people there.

7. The pleasure of hearing the original voices.

The audiobooks are becoming fashionable. Think of your favourite novel. Now you can enjoy it while you're driving on your way to work: 
actors giving life to the characters in Spanish as if it were a radio soap opera. I sound exciting, doesn't it?

Podcast stories 
provide the listener with an opportunity to become invested in a setting, plot and characters, just like you would if you were reading a book. There are all different kinds of story podcasts, and they're great for when you're bored on a long train or bus ride.

7. Some Spanish podcast examples to subscribe.

Faro de Lenguas Magazine.
  1. This podcast offers a variety of content: short reports, interviews, Colombian and Spanish music, tutorials...
  2. The level of Spanish is low intermediate.
  3. It's available on different podcatchers:


Why should we speak in Spanish?
This is a monthly podcast for absolute beginners. Francisco, the podcaster, use English and Spanish to tell stories, create tutorials and nice content in connection with the learner interests. The format is a short magazine who try to entertain and, why not? learn something new in Spanish. 

Here you are the first episode!

Both podcasts usually enclose the transcription paper at the official blog Faro de Lenguas

Do you listen to podcasts in Spanish?

After reading this post, I'd like to know if you are subscribed to a podcast or several of them in Spanish, why you like that podcast and if you have thought of releasing your own podcast in Spanish and boost your follower community. Leave me a message at the comment box! That's a good opportunity to share your ideas in Spanish with others.

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