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Three rules for improving listening

  Tags: Listening
 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
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Serpent
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 Message 65 of 105
08 December 2013 at 6:11pm | IP Logged 
tarvos wrote:
I also find that training your pronunciation is endlessly important in order to understand the other person.
It's important for being understood, but it's totally possible to understand media without ever practising speaking. And when you finally open your mouth, you won't be learning the pronunciation from scratch. And you'll be able to hear where you sound off.

(Hmm makes me wonder what it's like for Scandinavians to learn to pronounce the neighbours' languages)
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tarvos
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 Message 66 of 105
08 December 2013 at 6:20pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
tarvos wrote:
I also find that training your pronunciation is
endlessly important in order to understand the other person.
It's important for
being understood, but it's totally possible to understand media without ever practising
speaking. And when you finally open your mouth, you won't be learning the pronunciation
from scratch. And you'll be able to hear where you sound off.


I never train pronunciation while simultaneously speaking to somebody else, always to
myself. Or, I might, given the chance, have it corrected by a patient native, but the
beginnings of pronunciation I always do by myself. It tends to shock my iTalki teachers
when I tell them "by the way, this is like the second time I speak Romanian, ever" and
then they give you that stare of "but you didn't just say that". It isn't necessary to
practice from day 1, but at some point, you do need to take the training wheels off. I
do this somewhat earlier than you do because of a) my goals b) my personality and c)
because of the psychological factor - many newbies put it off because they are scared
of making mistakes, but since I've already made 1 gazillion of them one more doesn't
rankle my brain that much.

That is why I tend to push people into having more contact with, more exposure to, and
more influence by the target language. Not because they should have a set goal of "you
must converse", but because this will force them to be confident in themselves and take
the training wheels off a little earlier. Besides that, context with experience in
which you would really use the language also makes it easier to understand the
language. You of all people should know this because there are I don't know how many
phenomena in football which are very specialised terminology but really easy to guess
from context when a commentator says them ("hors-jeu", "Abseits", "buitenspel").

Native audio is important and you can use one of 20000 sources for it, I tend to mix
them in another proportion because mine include more interaction because I'm
comfortable saying bullshit and making shit up on the spot while I'm speaking in order
to get my point across. Yes, I'll attract a funny look or two, but I'm an idiot
anyways.

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Serpent
Octoglot
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serpent-849.livejour
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 Message 67 of 105
08 December 2013 at 6:34pm | IP Logged 
What exactly do you refer to as training wheels? I wouldn't say I have any in my learning, well, maybe translations.
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tarvos
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Studies: Greek, Modern Hebrew, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, Korean, Esperanto, Finnish

 
 Message 68 of 105
08 December 2013 at 6:49pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
What exactly do you refer to as training wheels? I wouldn't say I have
any in my learning, well, maybe translations.


Translations in the beginning are training wheels. Coursebooks with standardized
pronunciation are another (I know you don't use them as much, but I am talking about
newbies in general, not you). Romanizations or other transcriptions for languages with
foreign alphabets (my god do I HATE Revized Romanization for Korean... McCune-
Reischauer is a lot better, but hangul is best).

Basically anything which forces you to sit at home inside a box and not go outside of
it and try using it in the real world. And yes, you'll stumble a few times, but that is
something you need to learn to accept as a learner (general you).

I use native content for most languages basically daily. You'll also sound a lot more
natural that way. This includes books, shows, football matches, but also interactions
through sms and internet, talking to people, formal speeches, shops, academing writing,
etc...

Even if I speak somewhat off in most languages (most people here will judge that my
Russian is somewhat off in most respects), what makes people continue is that I sound
natural, like me, when speaking Russian. Because I sound like a human being using the
language with other human beings which is what languages are in effect. A book is just
a written vehicle, and Twitter's the internet vehicle. How much you use is dependent on
personality anyways, but that is eventually what it is for, and not for sitting at home
with the textbook. Even you use shittonnes of native content and material.


Edited by tarvos on 08 December 2013 at 6:55pm

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BobbyE
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 Message 69 of 105
09 December 2013 at 4:20am | IP Logged 
Serpent, in my learning listening from day 1 has been important. And it definitely
supports my ability to speak. When I don't listen much, my speaking is less automatic.
When I listen a lot, my speaking feels more natural. I think listening is very good for
developing an instinct for the language. I do think it's possible to get pronunciation
to a point that you can read accurately, and then learn mostly by reading. The reason I
wouldn't do that though is because I get a lot of benefit from understanding from ear and
also the support that listening gives my speaking. On the other hand, I think reading is
a way faster method for building vocab, but is even better if you review that vocab
separately with audio. In my own study, the two are activities are inseparable.
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Serpent
Octoglot
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serpent-849.livejour
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 Message 70 of 105
09 December 2013 at 1:59pm | IP Logged 
I agree, reading is important too. What do you do to review the vocab with audio, btw?
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BobbyE
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 Message 71 of 105
10 December 2013 at 3:52am | IP Logged 
I just listen to whatever I read and go back to listen to it later. Like I'll read a
chapter of a novel at night, then again in the morning, then that whole day listen to
that chapter, maybe two days until I understand most of it and it gets boring. Then I'll
go back a week later and re-listen to it a few times, and then maybe again a week or two
later until I feel I'm really not getting anything out of it or I'm completely
uninterested. Luckily I have a pretty awesome book series I'm a fan of, the type that I
feel an emotional connection with the characters, and also a very well performed
rendition of that novel on audio where the actor plays the different voices. I still
love going back and re-listening just for the nostalgia of the story.

How do you go about it?
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Serpent
Octoglot
Senior Member
Russian Federation
serpent-849.livejour
Joined 4832 days ago

9753 posts - 15776 votes 
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Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 
 Message 72 of 105
16 December 2013 at 5:34pm | IP Logged 
iguanamon wrote:
   
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.


And then s_allard is like: you need to take classes!
:)


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