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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 ... 13 14 Next >>
Senior Member
Russian Federation
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 Message 97 of 105
19 December 2013 at 7:14pm | IP Logged 
emk wrote:
The one glaring weakness is listening. Assimil's audio is slow and clear and well-articulated all the way up until you reach Business French, at which point it finally reaches full speed. I think well-articulated audio plays a role (watch how parents of toddlers speak when they want to make something clear), but Assimil doesn't provide any exposure to high-speed audio. And so I completely agree with everybody who has suggested native audio, transcripts, the radio, and so on.
The thing is that in reading style is something that matters later, whereas each person's speaking "style" is something you have to deal with as soon as you start listening.
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 Message 98 of 105
19 December 2013 at 7:33pm | IP Logged 
eyðimörk wrote:
Serpent wrote:
And it totally applies to Assimil because tons of
words from translation exercises only appear once prior to that.

I've only consistently used the one Assimil course (the newest ‘Le Breton’), but one
thing I've remarked on many times throughout the course is how it seems almost like
they have a spaced repetition thing going on. Of course, many words from the
translation and fill-in-the-blank exercises have only appeared once before, but that's
because their purpose is to get you practising the new words you are currently learning
in that very day's lesson.

Maybe ‘Le Breton’ is unconventionally good for Assimil in this respect. As I said, I
haven't followed any other Assimil course.

I think SSiW does something like this as well. There is a lot of repetition going on,
and there is obviously some rhyme and reason to it, because one notices certain
patterns, although it is reasonably subtly done. But if you work through a lesson
faithfully (and 30-40 minutes can feel like a long hour sometimes), the chances are you
will remember most words and structures, and a single further repetition of the lesson
will cement it in place.

Of course you have to be on the alert, and it's not all mindless repetition, because
(for example) mutations will be thrown in without undue explanation, and you are
expected to listen out for them, use them, but not to worry about them (the course
mantra - paed a phoeni - don't worry).

I have yet to do my first Assimil course, but it (Danish) is waiting for me to fit it
in, that's sometime in 2014 now, I guess.
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Russian Federation
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 Message 99 of 105
19 December 2013 at 8:40pm | IP Logged 
Even Pimsleur uses some sort of spaced repetition.
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 Message 100 of 105
20 December 2013 at 12:41pm | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
Even Pimsleur uses some sort of spaced repetition.

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 Message 101 of 105
22 January 2014 at 5:13pm | IP Logged 
I have worked a lot with the Total Physical Response Method and learning a language through story telling message. Both of those methods put an emphasis on listening to words that are understandable, or words that you already know. The goal is not to learn anything you don't know but to assimilate and make part of your right brain vocabulary that you know but is not assimilated. I have seen very positive results from this method. Students tend to remember very well vocabulary that they have been given the meaning to up front. So I think for those who are learning a language without the benefit of a teacher should keep this in mind when picking a program. The Pilsmeur approach does incorporate this to some degree.
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 Message 102 of 105
03 March 2016 at 6:25am | IP Logged 
Ari wrote:
Ari's Three Simple Rules for Improving your Listening Comprehension
Having spent some time learning languages, I've picked up a few things. I'd like to share three simple
principles that I've found do wonders for your listening comprehension. They're not revolutionary or very
original, but I think it's good to spell these things out, so here we go.

Rule 1: Listen to Material you'd Understand in Written Form
Don't waste your time listening to stuff that contains a bunch of words you don't know. Listening is crap for
expanding your vocab. That's what reading is for, where you can go through the text slowly, look things up in
a dictionary and memorize them. Listening should be about matching the sounds you hear to the words and
structures you already know (at breakneck speed). This is the skill you should focus on, and trying to improve
your vocab at the same time will drastically reduce your efficiency. Use the right tool for the right job. This
doesn't mean you need to understand every single word and expression perfectly, but if it were a text, you
would be able to read it and understand what it says, even if you'd have to read slowly.

Rule 2: Push the Envelope
Don't listen to easy things. This might seem to contradict the last rule, but that rule is about vocab and this is
about speed and clarity. In the beginning, a sleepy newsreader played at half speed seems really fast and
that's challenging, and that's good. But as your skill improves you need to progress to more difficult material.
Resist the temptation of staying in your comfort zone and congratulate yourself because you understand
perfectly this one speaker reading from a script in this one podcast. If it's easy, it's not gonna teach you much.
If conversation is easy, start listening to podcasts. If the podcasts are easy, try TV shows, then debates, then
cop shows full of slurry speech and curses, or a medieval show with archaic grammatical constructions, or
something. And then, I dunno, these guys? Of
course, don't take too long strides—listening to something you don't understand at all is as useless as
listening to something you understand without effort. Keep it challenging. Dial it in so that you feel that if you
just focus and really listen to every syllable, you can understand most of it, though your brain is stressed out
trying to keep up with the flow. Which brings us to the third and final rule.

Rule three: Focus!
Our brains are great at distracting themselves. Meditators sometimes calls this the "monkey mind"; when you
try to focus on one thing your mind will soon begin to wander and think about other things and you won't even
notice it. This is why language learners can gain a lot from practicing meditation. But you don't need to
meditate to work on your focus. When listening, really make an effort to listen to all that is said and take it in,
and don't let your mind wander. When the brain has to listen to some semi-comprehensible syllables the
temptation to wander is even greater. You're also likely to fall into the trap of getting caught on a certain word
and trying to remember what it means and when you remember it, you've already missed 20 seconds of
listening. Or you'll just start thinking of what to have for dinner tonight. As soon as you notice your mind
wandering, gently bring it back to focus on what you're hearing again. As you keep practicing this, you'll get
better and better at focusing your attention, which will help your listening immensly.

So there you go. Hope that's useful to somebody. Happy listening!

If my mind wanders was all the hours of "listening" a waste of time? Man listening can be so damn boring
when you don't understand the full meaning :( I listen for hours and I have to catch myself constantly to listen
am I wasting my time or it still matters regardless?
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 Message 103 of 105
09 March 2016 at 11:09pm | IP Logged 
I suggest you try posting on as you might get a few more answers.
Of course this site is still in use but due to
various technical issues an alternative forum was
set up and is a lot more active than this one.
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United States
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Studies: Spanish

 Message 104 of 105
03 April 2016 at 3:07am | IP Logged 
Serpent wrote:
kujichagulia wrote:
I understand that listening to material that is
at, or somewhat above, your level is very good for language learners. I also
understand that it is good to have a transcript of what you are listening to.

That said, it can be quite difficult to find materials that fit both of these criteria
- especially if you, like me, are not willing to pay a buttload of money for them.
Especially for beginners, the only listening material I can think of that meets a
beginning/lower intermediate level student, with transcripts, are the (Language)Pod101
podcasts. Books with audio tend to be for more upper intermediate/advanced
kinda offtopic but have you tried GLOSS? it's mostly for intermediate
learners but some of the materials are not too difficult.

also, especially if you have no immediate need to use the language, there's nothing
wrong with learning some specific vocabulary to be fluent in a particular field. heck,
even the EU-produced Polish and Ukrainian courses for Euro-2012 teach you A2 stuff for
tourists+football vocabulary that a typical A2 learner doesn't need.

the Brazilian Portuguese GLOSS lessons about football (soccer, obv) are oriented at
Americans who have no clue. if you know who Pelé is and some other easy facts, those
lessons shouldn't be too hard. btw did you know that all reading lessons have audio?
click Source to see the whole text and listen to it.

Thanks for another learning resource I will check it out.

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