Is it possible to start understanding a language by accident just by hearing it?

I started working from home about two years ago (I am a lawyer who handles research and appeals for other firms), and I usually just put Univision or Telemundo on in the background while I work, because those channels have a lot of hot chicks. I did not know how to speak Spanish.

But after two years of listening to these channels for 6 to 8 hours per day, five days per week, I think I can understand large portions of the Spanish language.

For example, I was watching a talk show today, and the girl started yelling at her boyfriend for using meth, and she screamed "¡¡TU 'STAS ARRIESGANDO EL PELLEJO!! ¡¡HICISTE PEDAZOS A TU VIDA!! ¡¡DÉJATE PENSAR SOLO EN TI MISMO!!" or something close to that.

And the strange thing was, I understood what all of that meant, because I had heard all those words before many times on TV.

I'm not sure when I started to comprehend words and phrases. It seems like it just sort of happened without me noticing.

Is this possible? How did this happen? What should I do now?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It is most certainly possible. That is, after all, how you first learn to speak as a child: by listening to your parents speak. You picked it up the same way. Television is a decent way to learn the rudiments of a language, because you can see what is happening and see what events are connected with the speech.

    If you'd like to learn more, I suggest enrolling in a course at your community college, or picking up books or audio learning systems (available at most bookstores or online). If you aren't that vested in learning it, just keep watching the TV and you'll pick more up (to warn you, though, the Spanish you hear on television is not, in all likely hood, the Spanish you would learn in a course is NOT what you would hear on TV--the stuff you hear on TV would be slang, and it would probably be South American or Mexican Spanish rather than Spanish from Spain).

    Learning another language is always a useful skill; I suggest you continue on :)

    Source(s): Psychology courses, language courses, personal experience
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  • 1 decade ago

    I believe the term you are looking for is osmotic learning. It may be possible but I understand this particular condition you've developed is rather rare in adults.

    Well, this might work for sponges but it does not work for people. You can not learn a language osmotically. If this were scientifically true I could place a human being in a kennel for an appropriate amount of time and that human being would learn to communicate with dogs by growling and woofing and barking.

    Have you actually counter-checked your understanding of what is being said on the telly with a native speaker?

    Otherwise the below could result.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6D1YI-41ao

    Youtube thumbnail

    Source(s): At one point in time I also thought that burning a book and drinking its ashes was a decent subsitute for hard work. Unfortunately my teacher didn't have a sense of humour. Much to my cat's disappointment, I haven't managed a decent meow in ten years.
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  • Jason
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    That is how you started speaking in the first place. Of course you cannot hear something 1 time and know what it going on. I speak french because that is what my parents spoke in my home growing up. I cannot write very well at all, but I can read the language well. I live in NJ now and there is a large hispanic population and I have friends that are the same way. The speak perfectly because it is what they spoke at home growing up.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I'm like that...

    I thought I could understand the basics of a conversation in Spanish because I grew up in Arizona and must have heard it for most of my life, even if I didn't study it...

    But then I went overseas to visit a family member and I've found the same of French, Italian, and to a lesser extent, Dutch.

    I can't SPEAK any of these languages to save my life but I can usually understand the basic points being spoken of, even though I have NO training in these languages.

    It is something about how our minds work and our ability to interpret and remember patterns.

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  • 3 years ago

    Sounds like she is in need of extra concentration from you. Since she has constantly had the mattress wetting issues and has been in diapers for it, I might say its extra of in need of extra concentration than regressing. When she wets her diapers at night time earlier than going to mattress, does inform you the diaper is rainy or how is it learned the diapers are rainy? Diapers are a quality software for mattress wetting so I might retain to diaper at night time however permit her recognise if she is wakeful she demands to make use of the potty and now not use the diapers principally for a BM. Let her recognise the diapers are just for the injuries at night time. Most youngsters don't wish to be on my own. Especially if they have got visible anything horrifying to them, they wish to grasp that there's any one there to preserve them. As moms and dads, we will be able to be so cautious as to what our youngsters watch nevertheless, I've visible many advertisements in recent times for a few "horrifying films". Although now not quite horrifying to us as adults, it is going to frighten the heck out of a youngster in the event that they even see a element of a business. The new "horrifying film" advertisements appear to be everywhere the TV regardless of which station I watch. My five 12 months historic son (mattress wetter and diapered as good) received up off the bed a pair nights in the past and noticed aspect of the economic and received scared from seeing the masks. That's all it takes and they may be able to have unhealthy desires or simply have a foul dream commonly. I consider at this factor its for concentration. I might be certain she makes use of the potty earlier than you set a diaper on her and benefit from the time you may have together with her earlier than she falls asleep. Great bonding time and for reports and speakme.

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