Why do you find it so hard to follow real conversations II

At last week's entry (Why do you find it so hard to follow real conversations?) we told you about the characteristics of a real and spontaneous conversationand how they are almost nothing like the conversations in the manuals, probably the ones you're used to hearing), and you will we promised we were going to give you audio examples

Here they go. 

Surely, at some point, you have heard in your manual audios similar to this one.

In this audio you can hear a conversation that takes place in a workshop. Two people, a mechanic and a customer, talk about the price of the ITV (Technical Vehicle Inspection). Generally, in Spain, people take the car to their trusted workshop before taking it to the ITV, to make sure that everything is OK and that it will pass the inspection and thus save additional costs.

After listening to the audio twice, you would make a few comprehension questions and, probably, some grammar and vocabulary exercises afterwards.

In real life we can also find conversations on this topic but, do we speak the same way? What do the dialogues that appear in the Spanish for foreigners manuals and those in real life have in common? What are the differences? 



We invite you to listen to a REAL AND SPONTANEOUS CONVERSATION that also occurs at a workshop. Three people, a mechanic and two customers, talk about the price of the ITV.

Note: we recommend you to use HEADPHONES and all your concentration to listen to the following audio. Don't worry if you don't understand it very well, it's absolutely normal, this mechanic is sometimes hard to understand even for me. 😆 


Are they enough differentright? 😮 

Let's see why. 

We have reviewed and compared 9 points (with some examples taken from the audios, although there are many more).  


1. More than 2 people speak: YES (3 people participate)

2. They use colloquial vocabulary: YES ("maybe," "but still and all...")

3. Muletillas: YES ("it's down two euros, eh?")

4. Doubts and pauses: YES ("ah / yes?", "normally/ and it's down 2 euros.")

5. Natural pronunciation: YES (omission of the intervocalic "d" in "Download", unions in "fifteen-euros more than-in-Andalusia")

6. Standard accent: NO (southern and eastern Spanish accents)

7. Interruptions: YES (the three persons interrupt each other several times during the conversation)

8. Normal speed and rhythm: YES (the mechanic speaks quite fast at times, and the volume of his voice changes).

9. Background noise: YES (you can hear the typical noises of a workshop)



1. More than 2 people speak: NO

2. They use colloquial vocabulary: NO

3. Muletillas: NO 

4. Doubts and pauses: NO

5. Natural pronunciation: YES (joints in "what-else")

6. Standard accent: YES 

7. Interruptions: NO

8. Normal speed and rhythm: NO (they speak at a constant pace and the volume of their voices does not change).

9. Background noise: NO


These 9 aspects help us to distinguish a real and spontaneous audio from a prepared one. If you want to know more about characteristics of real audiosclick here


As you can see, the audios in the manuals are useful for learning and practicing vocabulary and grammar, but they are far removed from the reality of everyday speech, from how native speakers speak in real situations..


In the dialogues of the manuals, generally:

  • They do not fight for the floor.
  • They do not interrupt each other or talk at the same time.
  • There are not a lot of markers, or crutches, or connectors.
  • They speak about the same amount of time.
  • There is no hesitation or pause.
  • They do not use much colloquial vocabulary.
  • The sentence structure is the same as in the written register.
  • No background noise.
  • The speed and rhythm is not natural.


We know that real and spontaneous conversations can be very difficult to understand if you have not worked on understanding this type of conversation. 

If you are not able to understand them now, IT IS TOTALLY NORMAL, a lot of specific practice and ear training is needed.

But you know what?

We assure you that if you were to read the conversation, you would UNDERSTAND IT WITHOUT PROBLEM.

To begin with, we recommend that you listen to the audio several times, paying attention to the following 4 strategies that we have already explained to you in this entry.


You will also find it very useful use the transcripts while listening.

If you are interested, leave a comment below telling us what you thought of this post and we will send them to you by mail ; )  

You give us your opinion and we give you the transcriptions, deal? 😉 



And... do you want to start speaking fluently, reduce your foreign accent or understand conversations? 

Download our free guide and get started now!