ListenListening is an integral part of language learning, but when you’re just starting out, it can be difficult.

To me, Spanish sounds impossibly fast, which scares me. I start to wonder if I will ever be able to understand, and this inhibits my ability to understand.

So, my tip for the day is: don’t try and listen to every word that is said.

Even at my basic level, I try and catch a word or two and pick up the gist of the sentence. This can go wrong – if I miss a negative for example – but works reasonably as long as I am aware of the context of the situation. When I’m ordering in a restaurant and the server asks an unexpected question, I know it is likely to be something about the food, so I try and concentrate on picking out any food-related words. It also helps to ask the speaker to repeat what they are saying slightly more slowly.

I also try and look at the speaker as much as possible, so I can gain clues to what they’re saying from body language. There are many gestures that are universal so you may be able to pick up what is said from there.

My final piece of advice? Try not to be scared! The more you listen, the more familiar the language will be. And soon, you’ll find that no one is speaking impossibly fast.