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Three rules for improving listening

  Tags: Listening
 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
105 messages over 14 pages: << Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 8 ... 13 14 Next >>
BobbyE
Diglot
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 Message 57 of 105
08 December 2013 at 12:26pm | IP Logged 
You say Iverson is careless for letting reading get a head of listening, but I think that
is totally wrong. Choosing an approach that you enjoy and that will keep you going is
not careless, I think instead it is carefree. Being carefree and enjoying the language
is actually a really good thing to have, and it is way better for learning than being
over-concerned about if your method is right.

Edited by BobbyE on 08 December 2013 at 12:28pm

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Serpent
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 Message 58 of 105
08 December 2013 at 12:43pm | IP Logged 
As I said, it depends on your priorities, and I certainly wasn't criticizing Iversen as his approach clearly works for him. I'll just never get tired of repeating that it's not an inevitable situation (when your listening lags behind), and it's not very desirable if you can avoid it.
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tarvos
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 Message 59 of 105
08 December 2013 at 4:40pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
As I said, it depends on your priorities, and I certainly wasn't
criticizing Iversen as his approach clearly works for him. I'll just never get tired of
repeating that it's not an inevitable situation (when your listening lags behind), and
it's not very desirable if you can avoid it.


I don't know, it depends on your goals.

For me listening is important, but much more in 1-on-1 situations than in any other
situation, because I barely ever listen to the radio for example.
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iguanamon
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 Message 60 of 105
08 December 2013 at 4:41pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
If you put off native audio until you can understand "enough", it will never happen.


Well said, Serpent! I think some of us as experienced language learners tend to forget what it is like for someone who hasn't learned their first second language yet. It can be very difficult to put yourself in their shoes. Also, first time learners usually don't clearly state their goals. Do they want to speak, listen or just read, or do they want to get better at all facets of the language? My assumption is usually the latter. This response is not intended for experienced learners, or people whose priority is not listening comprehension.

Typical Advice Center question on HTLAL: "I'd like to learn 'X', how do I start? (my assumption- learner wants to learn all facets of the language.)

Me: "Use a course (or two) but also start listening as soon as you can and start reading as soon as possible (obviously- comprehensible input- meaning audio with text, preferably bilingual). Make this a part of your learning from the start at the same time as you use your course. Pick an audio, with a transcript, ideally a bilingual transcript or a subject you are familiar with. Pick a text and work with it (ideally a bilingual text) and try to decipher it a sentence at a time, then a paragraph at a time. It might take weeks to get through it. At the same time, continue with your course. In other words: don't just depend on a course and anki alone, use multiple resources at the same time. Doing so, means that your course becomes a way to solve problems with what you are seeing, hearing and speaking, and eventually less about teaching you "X" from scratch.

Others, one post later: "Get Assimil". Seconded in next post.

New poster: "Also use "Teach Yourself X".

New Poster: "Anki is great for learning vocabulary!"

Learner: "OK, I'll use Assimil, TY and Anki". Implied: "I won't be going outside this box."

Problem solved- Me: eye roll.

Me: "Good, but you should also include listening to native audio, reading native text and speaking before you are 'ready'. This can be done by..." (doing this is not mutually exclusive with using a course and Anki)

Serpent: You should try Lyrics Training and Gloss as well. They're both great ways to practice and work on both listening comprehension and reading.

Learner: Nothing, now convinced that courses and anki are the solution. More than one person has recommended them (neglecting to mention the fact that they themselves actually did more than just use the course and anki- because they don't consider reading, watching TV or listening to be "study").

Result: Learner believes an hour a day with courses and Anki alone will lead them to the promised land. In a box is better than out of the box. Inside the box is easier. "The course and anki reps will teach me. Listening to native speech is hard. There's no one to hold my hand. I'll have to find audio myself. I'll have to take notes and work on the audio, maybe even have to listen to the same audio multiple times more. Worse yet, I might have to talk to people! What would I say? How would I understand what they say? I get discouraged and quit."

Learner after using mostly courses: "Why can't I understand TV, or movies, native conversation or podcasts?" -Me: eye roll, again. I give up.

If you want to get better at listening, practice listening. Give it at least the same amount of effort (if not more) that you give to your course and anki. If you fail the first time, don't give up. Keep at it until you get better. Even if that means listening over and over again to the same stretch of audio. Like all exercise, the more you practice listening, actively, the better you will be, but it takes time.




Edited by iguanamon on 08 December 2013 at 4:46pm

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Serpent
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 Message 61 of 105
08 December 2013 at 5:33pm | IP Logged 
Haha this is so accurate! Reminds me on the dialogues of Plato ;)
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tarvos
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 Message 62 of 105
08 December 2013 at 5:46pm | IP Logged 
I think that's mostly wanting the silver bullet to solve everything. We don't drink
magic potions in order to speak Spanish. We just speak whatever we think is Spanish and
then what comes out is something quite like, but not entirely Spanish. The degree to
which this is true varies.

To learn a language isn't to open a book and read its grammar. Listening is a part of
language learning (and I find it the hardest and the most boring one to train). To
learn a language you need all of its facets in some distribution. In what distribution
you use them exactly depends on your goals - and for me spoken and written interaction
are a great part of the distribution. This means I need pretty good overall skills.
Listening tends to be the lagger but I a) accept it as part of my methodology and b) I
find that it is something you eventually overcome with lots of practice. I usually have
a sort of "aha" moment somewhere where languages more or less click into place after
sustained effort. It usually entrains a lot of effort, focusing, and continuous
exposure to the sounds of the language.

I also find that training your pronunciation is endlessly important in order to
understand the other person.


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Serpent
Octoglot
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Russian Federation
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 Message 63 of 105
08 December 2013 at 6:00pm | IP Logged 
As we say here, waiting and chasing are the worst things in the world. I also hated listening before I discovered there were better resources than news and textbook audio. Believe it or not, it's much more enjoyable when you're not chasing and trying to bite your own tail.

And it helps your speaking greatly. When I was learning Finnish, I learned to read/write/think first, then I listened to the Da Vinci Code audiobook on 17 CD's, always following the written text. Then I shadowed Assimil. This whole "activation"/"transferring" took about a year - okay, that was also my final year at school, but still I was much more motivated for Finnish than for anything else.

I expected to follow a similar route with other languages, but thanks to football and LR I didn't find it necessary. It was just so much better to do LR early and do it with L1 written text. Less effort, more joy.

Edited by Serpent on 08 December 2013 at 6:11pm

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tarvos
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 Message 64 of 105
08 December 2013 at 6:07pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
As we say here, waiting and chasing are the worst things in the world.
I also hated listening before I discovered there were better resources than news and
textbook audio. Believe it or not, it's much more enjoyable when you're not chasing and
trying to bite your own tail.


It usually takes me a few months to activate. So no, I'm not that bothered, actually.
Actually, the languages where it took longest to activate were French and Russian - and
for French it became a lot better after two months of immersion (mostly because I had
the basic grammar down but needed to see it in context). A year is a pretty long time
for me to take to activate a language, and that usually only happens if I am very non-
diligent about using it or if it is the first new language of a certain new family
where I also encounter lots of unknown vocab at the same time.

I.e. Russian and Korean (and French at the time). I find that vocabulary is much more
important, as well as a sense of the flow, melody and pronunciation of that language.
It really helps when listening to understand how you have to make the language flow. I
barely ever had trouble learning to understand Swedish or German for example.
Pronunciation is a must, else you cannot guess how a certain word is pronounced.

Quote:
I expected to follow a similar route with other languages, but thanks to
football and LR I didn't find it necessary. It was just so much better to do LR early
and do it with L1 written text. Less effort, more joy.


I'm not saying don't use LR. I use LR as well. But for picking up vocab I tend to just
read, especially if the pronunciation of certain words is easy to guess from the
orthography (f. ex. I don't care if it's written in Romanian... it's easy to guess).

What you're saying is use sources that appeal to you - I do the same thing, I can't
tell you how many football interviews I've watched in Spanish lately :D But I find LR
costs too much time so I tend to just relax with a book... quicker, easier, and I still
retain shittonnes of vocabulary.

I also do way more speaking and interaction than you do, and for me that's a source of
listening as well. I find that much less stressful than a radio (and I also enjoy
talking to people more). Although I do occasionally listen to, say, the Romanian radio
and then I understand like 80%.




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