In Spanish Practice

You may be surprised to hear that dictation exercises are a great way to practice a second language. The slower pace forces you to recognize every word by both listening and writing.  In addition, there’s a lot of repetition, which helps memory.

The following is a 3-step dictation exercise based on a poem by the well-known Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.

 

STEP 1: DICTATION (LISTEN and WRITE)

Get a pen and paper.

We’ll wait for you …

Don’t skip this part by just listening!

 

Listen to the following audio and write down everything you hear – even if you have no idea what the word is.

The audio has built-in repetition and spacing to give you time to write.

At the end, you will hear the entire paragraph to make any additional changes or fill in what you missed.

Click the play button when you are ready …

Pablo Nerduda’s Puedo Escribir:

dictation exercise
[spacer] [hr]

STEP 2: HOW DID YOU DO?

Check your work with the transcript of the poem below. Note the errors that you made, if any. Remember that in Spanish, every letter that is written, is pronounced.

 

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche

Escribir, por ejemplo: ‘La noche está estrellada,
y tiritan, azules, los astros, a lo lejos’

El viento de la noche gira en el cielo y canta

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche

 

STEP 3: COMPREHENSION

Okay, now you can write everything you hear, but do you know the meaning of the words? Check the English translation so that you understand each phrase of the poem.  And keep in mind this in only the first verse …

 

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche

Escribir, por ejemplo: ‘La noche está estrellada,
y tiritan, azules, los astros, a lo lejos’

El viento de la noche gira en el cielo y canta

Puedo escribir los versos más tristes esta noche
Tonight I can write the saddest lines

To write, for example,’The night is starry
and the blue stars shiver in the distance’

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings

Tonight I can write the saddest lines

 

Bonus Exercise – Accent Practice

Memorize the lines of the poem. Then mimic the accent and practice speaking the lines with fluidity.

This will require several repetitions until you can do it perfectly.

 

About Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda

Born in 1904, Pablo Neruda was a nobel prize-winning poet and political figure from Chile. Literary critics and authors have labeled him one of the best and most influential artists of the century.

And after some searching online, we found an audio of the Pablo Neruda reading his own poem!  Have a listen to that same paragraph in his voice below!

 

Did you enjoy the exercise? Let us know in the comments or a share.

The dictation exercise you just completed is only the first paragraph of the poem. If you enjoyed the poem, here is a link to the poem in its entirety.

Looking for more spanish practice?

 

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Showing 2 comments
  • Jo

    un problemita – la noche está estRellada – un error de tipeo.

    Sin embargo – muy muy útiles los ejercicios para mejorar la capacidad de escuchar!

  • Rebekah

    I love this site so much! It’s so helpful with my fourth year of spanish which I’m doing by myself sin a teacher!

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