Spanish resources

We have a host of Spanish, listening, reading and phonetics resources available for advanced learners. They have been specially designed for students of GCE AS-level, but the texts and exercises may be used at higher or lower levels, depending on the ability of the learner.

Listening

Exercises and topics

1. Leo describe a su familia

2. Leticia y Leo: los parecidos de familia

3. La hermana menor de Leticia

4. Lo que estudian los hermanos de Leo

5. David y Bea: los parecidos de familia

6. Leo describe su casa en Fuenterrabía

7. Lo bueno de vivir en Fuenterrabía

8. Daniel habla de su casa y su barrio

9. Lo bueno de vivir en Barcelona

10. Bea habla de su familia

11. David habla de las relaciones con sus hermanos

12. Bea y David comentan las relaciones con los amigos de la infancia

13. Leticia va de excursión el fin de semana

14. A Bea le gusta la natación

15. A David le gusta el baloncesto

16. La rutina diaria en los colegios españoles: (1)

17. La rutina diaria en los colegios españoles: (2)

18. La cocina típica española: Madrid y Canarias

19. Dos platos típicos

20. Leo y Leticia hablan de dónde hacer compras en España

21. Minerva va de compras

22. Leo habla de la costumbre de beber sidra en San Sebastián

23. Bea describe los carnavales en Canarias

24. Leo describe la fiesta del día de San Sebastián

25. El Festival de Cine de San Sebastián

26. Las Navidades en España

27. La fiesta de la Nochevieja en España

28. Bea describe cómo viajar a Canarias y los medios de transporte entre las islas

29. La medicina alternativa en España

30. El funcionamiento de la seguridad social en España

31. La dieta mediterránea

32. David se encuentra en baja forma

33. El trabajo de verano: David

34. El trabajo de verano: Minerva

35. Daniel describe el trabajo de repartidor de pizzas

Leticia Jiménez-Buil, Leo Diez, David Fernández Jiménez, Minerva Lanau, Daniel Rodríguez, Beatriz Llorens.

Reading

Exercises and topics

1. Y además

2. Dos delincuentes toman rehenes en una escuela de Enfermería

3. Agredidos dos agentes que pidieron bajar la música

4. La mujer en huelga no podrá ver a sus hijos

5. Detenidos en Madrid 13 cabezas rapadas acusados de provocar incidentes callejeros

6. Un hombre tirotea a unos chicos con un arma vieja

7. La Guardia Civil decomisa casi tres toneladas de cocaína en el puerto de Santurtzi

8. Familias gitanas ocupan casas a punto de derribo

9. Una explosión en un astillero de Vigo causa un muerto y 13 heridos

10. Los bomberos sacan la ropa de las 16 familias desalojadas

11. Las fiestas originaron 85.000 kilos de basura

12. Dos atracadores desvalijan una famosa joyería de Marbella

13. La Policía atrapa a cuatro menores tras un tiroteo y una larga persecución

14. Motín a bordo

15. Un robo imperdonable

16. ¿Por qué tomamos uvas en Nochevieja?

17. Vecinos de Cardos hacen pagar para ir a los lagos

18. Música callejera

19. Los restaurantes se mantienen

20. Un concierto de U2

21. Tráfico anuncia que la lluvia complicará el regreso masivo de la Semana Santa

22. ¿Qué hacen nuestros hijos cuando salen?

23. ¿Con quién prefieres pasar tus vacaciones?

24. Querida amiga

25. Diferencias por sexo

26. Cuidemos el Montseny

27. Agujeros en la capa de ozono

28. Un vial sin acera

29. Collserola arde

30. Vecinos de Sant Cugat llevarán el parque Divèrsia a los tribunales

31. Un incendio forestal obliga a desalojar 70 chalets en Mallorca

32. Los 200.000 rayos de julio

33. Personal

34. Su vida en las líneas de la mano: Maribel Verdú

35. "Volvía a ser el muchacho alegre, pelotero de béisbol, cantante de rumbas, Gabo"

36. Alejandro Trigo: novillero

37. Ana Quintana: los hombres de mi vida

38. Ana Quintana: mi estilo

39. Joaquín Aragón: obrero con contratos temporales

40. Paula Vázquez: la disciplina

41. Clínic, siglo XIX

42. Un antiguo remedio universal

43. El 61% de los españoles desconfía de los alimentos que compra

44. El olor a tortilla inunda la playa de La Concha

45. Rocío Martínez: ejecutiva en una multinacional

46. Natividad Casas: guardia civil

47. Voto de ‘okupación’

48. Aumentan en España los robos con violencia entre las menores delincuentes

49. Maria Jesús Prieto: Presidenta del colectivo de ingenieros de España

50. Descubiertos los cadáveres de dos polizones africanos en La Coruña

51. Marruecos y la inmigración

52. Blanca Rosa Maldonado: inmigrante ecuatoriana

53. Sandra Pérez

54. ‘Samaritanos’ en el Estrecho

With thanks to the following for permission to reproduce copyright material:

  • El Correo: 1, 33
  • El País: Extracts 10, 14, 21, 27, 32, 35, 36, 39, 43, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 52, 53, 54
  • El Periódico: Extracts: 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 12, 17, 20, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 41
  • El Mundo: Extracts 2, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 19, 40, 44, 50,51
  • El Semanal: Extracts 37, 38, 42
  • Mia: Extracts 16, 22, 23, 24, 25, 34

Phonetics

Introduction

This is an introductory listening course aimed at practising recognition of the sounds and main accents of Spanish. It contains practical exercises alongside a short explanation and is divided into two parts.

  • Part 1: basic listening exercises practising the distinction between similar sounds (minimal pairs)
  • Part 2: more advanced listening exercises on the main accents of Spanish (northern peninsular Spanish, Spanish of the low/coastal lands and Spanish of the high lands).

Who is it for?

The basic exercises are intended for students of Spanish with no previous experience of phonetics. The more advanced exercises on regional accents are more suitable for upper intermediate/advanced students of Spanish (B2-C1 in the Common European Framework of Reference).

What does it consist of?

These listening exercises have been designed using Hot Potatoes software. They are self-contained units. This means that the students can choose units or exercises independently and do not need to work consecutively from unit 1 to unit 8. The explanation is on the left (or sometimes in a web link), the exercise on the right, and the feedback is automatic.

These exercises have been designed for formative purposes, so the student can do the same exercise as many times as they want. Each exercise consists of a bank of questions, so every time the exercise is loaded the questions may be different and/or in a different order.

The audio and video recordings are of native speakers of Spanish with different accents. The video clips are used in the last unit, summarising regional varieties.

The exercises are a selection of phonetic phenomena, not an exhaustive account of all the aspects of Spanish phonetics. The focus in the basic exercises is the distinction between minimal pairs rather than syntactic phonetics or intonation. The exercises on accents comprise a selection and a generalisation of phonetic markers of each accent.

How does it work?

These exercises are mainly intended for independent use, although they can also be used in a classroom situation, with headphones (and microphones, for pronunciation practice). There is a table of contents on the left-hand side which contains the units for this course. Each unit is self-contained, and where there is a range of different exercises in each unit, the exercises go from easier to more complex. When the units have the same type of exercise the words are different but there is no progression in difficulty.

In which language?

Instructions and explanations of the basic exercises use English so they can be used by students with different levels of Spanish. Feedback is mainly written in simple Spanish.

In the advanced exercises on regional accents there is a progression in the use of Spanish. The explanations are still in English, so they reach a larger audience, but the instructions and feedback are in Spanish. In the last unit, which consists of a summary of all the phonetic phenomena studied in the course, the explanations are in Spanish.

Tildes (graphic accents)

There is a unit on rules for writing the graphic accent after the exercises on syllables.

Phonetics

The exercises use the phonemic symbols that can be found in dictionaries. It is important for the student to be familiar with the phonemic alphabet in order to use this course and the dictionaries’ pronunciation guides. Therefore a unit on the phonemic alphabet and transcription is included. For practical and pedagogic purposes, /θ/ and /s/ are considered different phonemes, but there is no distinction made between /ʎ/ and /j/.

Can you use these exercises for spoken pronunciation practice?

Yes. Using sound recording software, like Audacity, the student can repeat and record the words that they hear in the exercises and then compare their pronunciation with that of the native speaker.

Contact

Marga Menéndez-López: m.menendez-lopez@surrey.ac.uk
For technical queries: Rachel O’Callaghan.

Copyright information

University of Surrey 2008. All rights reserved. No part of these exercises may be reproduced or utilised in any form or by electronic, mechanical or other means now known or hereinafter invented, without permission in writing from the University of Surrey, with the following exception:

The University of Surrey grants permission to schools, universities or other educational institutions to make copies of this material without fee and without prior permission, for distribution of those copies within the school, university or other educational institution only (subject to the limitations of the Copyright Licensing Agency). In line with UK Copyright regulations, the University of Surrey also grants permission for non-commercial research use and for private study use provided that no commercial gain results from these uses and the appropriate acknowledgement is made for the source of the material.

Please consult the University of Surrey, care of the address below, if there is any doubt regarding the legality of any proposed copy.

University of Surrey, "UniS" and the University Crest are trademarks of the University of Surrey, No use of these trademarks, or representation of association of any type shall be made to the University of Surrey without the prior permission in writing of the University of Surrey.

Basic exercises

Exercises to practise differentiating between words that are the same except for one vowel.

Exercises on distinguishing a selection of consonantic minimal pairs:

* These exercises consist of a bank of questions, so every time the exercise is loaded the questions may be different and/or in a different order.

This unit contains exercises on:

Diphthongs in Spanish

Differences between diphthongs and hiatus

* These exercises consist of a bank of questions, so every time the exercise is loaded the questions may be different and/or in a different order.

Exercises in dividing words into syllables. A necessary step before attempting the exercises on stress and tildes.

These exercises follow a progression. The first part focuses on stress: identifying stressed and unstressed syllables, followed by a classification of words according to the position of the stressed syllable. The second part deals with the graphic accent, the tilde: graphic accent rules, the tilde in contexts with hiatus and the diacritic tilde, which distinguishes words that are very short and have different meanings. The final exercises are a summary of tildes, with a text to insert the graphic accent.

Stress

The graphic accent, tilde

* These exercises consist of a bank of questions, so every time the exercise is loaded the questions may be different and/or in a different order.

This unit contains exercises to practice the phonemic alphabet i.e. the symbols for transcribing sounds. The first two exercises are about identifying the correct symbol, while the last three are about transcribing words using the phonemic alphabet.

* These exercises consist of a bank of questions, so every time the exercise is loaded the questions may be different and/or in a different order.

Advanced exercises

This unit focuses on the weaker (or more fricative) or stronger pronunciation of the Spanish voiced plosives, depending on the phonetic context. The second exercise studies the correlation between the weaker pronunciation of /-ado/ and informal or colloquial registers.

* These exercises consist of a bank of questions, so every time the exercise is loaded the questions may be different and/or in a different order.

If you using an Internet Explorer browser, then these exercises are best viewed on Internet Explorer 7 and above.

This unit focuses on the pronunciation of the phoneme /θ/ in the Spanish varieties that distinguish /θ/ and /s/ and those varieties which merge both sounds into a [s]. This pronunciation has been labelled seseo.

* These exercises consist of a bank of questions, so every time the exercise is loaded the questions may be different and/or in a different order.

This unit focuses on the pronunciation of end-of-syllable /-s/ in the Spanish varieties that maintain /-s/ and the ones where it is weakened and aspirated, modifying it to a [-h] or [-ʰ].

* These exercises consist of a bank of questions, so every time the exercise is loaded the questions may be different and/or in a different order.

This unit studies the pronunciation of the letters ‘ll’ and ‘y’ in different varieties of Spanish: those which distinguish [ʎ] for ‘ll’ and [j] for ‘y’; those which favour yeísmo, the merging of ‘ll’ and ‘y’ into a palatal sound (which will be transcribed here as [j]); and lastly those which favour rehilamiento, in which ‘ll’ and ‘y’ merge into a sibilant sound (transcribed here as [š] or [ʒ]).

* These exercises consist of a bank of questions, so every time the exercise is loaded the questions may be different and/or in a different order.

Varieties of Spanish

We recommend you complete the exercises on phonetic variation before attempting this section.

These exercises constitute an effort to present a variety of Spanish and Latin American accents, including speakers from the following Spanish-speaking areas:

  • Asturias
  • Canarias
  • Madrid
  • Galicia
  • Colombia (Cali)
  • Nicaragua
  • Costa Rica
  • Mexico (Veracruz)
  • Argentina (Buenos Aires)

These exercises can be complemented and extended with Dialectoteca del Español.

Audio exercises

Video exercises

* These exercises consist of a bank of questions, so every time the exercise is loaded the questions may be different and/or in a different order.

If you using an Internet Explorer browser, then these exercises are best viewed on Internet Explorer 7 and above.

Ab initio

If you are studying the Spanish Ab Initio courses, you will be given access to over 200 online exercises, created by the University of Surrey, to practise your Spanish vocabulary, listening, reading, writing and grammar skills. Here is a sample of some of the exercises you will have access to on the course:

Learning apps

Pigobo has an app available for ipods, ipads, iphones or android operating systems, developed by Maria Eugenia D'Asta-Keating. It is designed to help you learn Spanish from beginners up to intermediate level. There is a free version (Maria's Spanish Class Lite) available on the website to get you started.

uTalk is available for all University of Surrey students for over 25 languages, including Spanish.

Contact us

  • Phone: +44 (0)1483 686247

Find us

Address
Library and Learning Centre (level 2)
University of Surrey
Guildford
Surrey
GU2 7XH