(Houston, Jan. 19, 2021) — The Barrier to Listening to Spanish: This revised report was first issued on December 26, 2012, during the first month of the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto when it was foreseen that with an energy reform there would be a new interest in gaining bilingual proficiency in Spanish.
Our impression is that the current administration in Mexico in 2021 has a lower level of English proficiency than that was characteristic of the preceding six neoliberal predecessors. It follows that the incentive to gain Spanish proficiency for everyone professionally engaged in Mexico has correspondingly increased.
The insight in the report is that it is very difficult to “hear” Spanish exactly as it is spoken by a native speaker because of the filters (the expectations) of our native language.
Immersion in the language and having a native speaker as an instructor are of little help, for reasons explained in the report.
What is helpful is an appreciation of how linguists map the route and traps (vowels and consonants) between thought and speech.
A careful reading of this report is guaranteed to improve one’s aural and speaking ability in Spanish. Readers who are familiar with the basic concepts and terminology of linguistics may skip the background section of the report where they are introduced.
Reader comments are invited.
The HTML version of this report is provided below.
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