I have recently been exploring foreign language dictation as a strategy to gain practice writing in a second language. It would be the equivalent of shadowing to the written form. In this case, you also use audio input and immediately convert it to text. How does it look in practice?

You can take an audiobook and focus on one or two minutes of content. You listen to a small portion -5 or 10 seconds- and write down what you hear on a pad or the computer. When using a computer, I prefer to do it on Notepad or a similar program that doesn’t have auto-correction or grammar/spelling checks enabled. And that’s one of the main points of the dictation.

When you practice dictation this way, you will be testing your spelling and listening comprehension simultaneously. After you complete your dictation session, you can copy and paste the text into Google Docs or any other program with spelling checks and see how you did. But before that, do at least one general review and try to spot the mistakes on your own.

I love practicing dictation in foreign languages because it allows me to practice my writing skills, without the pressure to create sentences from scratch. That means that even the least inspired among us will be able to write something 🙂

Have you tried practicing Spanish dictation yourself?