Technology for Language Learning Blog by Gary Cziko

News and links concerning the latest technology that can be used for learning and teaching foreign languages. By Gary Cziko, founder of and major contributor to the Autonomous Technology-Assisted Language Learning (ATALL) Wikibook and the TLL Podcast.

2007-02-16

Try Yabla for advanced listening comprehension in English, French and Spanish

Although I understand it has existed for some time, I only recently discovered a website and service that promises to be very useful for learners of Spanish, French or English who want to be able to understand fast, colloquial language.

Yabla provides "supported" video clips providing original-language and English captions of all audio, the ability to easily replay any segment (or skip to ones ahead) and control the playback speed (normal or slow). In addition, clicking on any word in the captions provides dictionary definitions in English.

I have now played through all ten available segments (usually about 2 to 3 minutes each) excerpted from the popular Argentinian telenovela (soap opera) "Muñeca Brava." Even though my Spanish listening ability is quite good (I can understand just about any radio or TV news program with little difficulty in Spanish), some of these clips were almost completely intelligible to me when first played without captions at normal speed. However, playing them at slow speed while studying the Spanish (and English when necessary) captions easily made the clips comprehensible so that soon normal speed without captions was understood without difficulty.

This is just the type of Spanish input I need to push my Spanish listening comprehension to the next level and I believe that many others learners of English, French or Spanish will also find Yable very useful for this purpose.

While most of the videos provided by Yabla are available only to paid subscribers for about $10 a month, there are several free videos that can be found by first choosing your language of interest and then selecting "FREE DEMO".

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