Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Listening till it hurts

I've been given some thought to the advice that I've been given by Chris and Liulianxiaoyu - just keep listening. I'm convinced by the argument that listening comprehension is the most important route to getting to the heart of a language. The question, however, is how should I listen (Brian: Go Away! Crowd: How shall we go away Master?).

I've found a lot of value in listening to the same Chinesepod Intermediate podcasts over and over, but I'm sure I could be doing better. I think I need to make it more goal oriented. I don't expect to understand everything, but it's too easy for me to gloss over large parts of the dialog and stick to the easier bits. (Perhaps there are exercises like this already as part of premium Chinesepod subscription - time for me to upgrade perhaps. )

Or maybe I should set myself the goal of finding one new word or phrase that I recognize each time I listen. Or read the transcript earlier, and choose phrases to recognize. Decisions, decisions.


Edwin said...

I have been listening to the episode 'Break-up' again and again since a few days ago. For some reason, I like the conversation very much. I find the acting outstanding!

Have you tried that episode, too?

Brendan Lawlor said...

Just started listening to it this morning. I find it hard work I have to say, but I've been following that story for a while now, so it gives a good reason to try to understand.

Tell me Edwin - do you listen to the full podcast over and over, or just the dialog section? Do you set goals, or just relax and let it wash over you?

Edwin said...

I would just listen to the dialog if I had a choice. But it was not possible before v3 (unless I spent time editing the clips myself). Now with v3, I can just download and listen to the dialog portion over and over again.

Having said that, I still listen to the advanced-level podcasts as a whole. In fact, I am doing 'parroting' exercise on them. I find the dialog between the 2 hosts very natural, unlike the scripted dialogs.

Personally, I believe that without goals, you can't get anywhere. This is especially true for language learning. I do have an annual goal . I am also setting my monthly goals starting from this month.

liulianxiaoyu said...




今天写得比较多。 :)

Brendan Lawlor said...


:-) 我得承认我用了一小时多看书完。

(I think I've probably made a number of mistakes in a very short space!)

Thanks for the benefit of your experience and I do find it very encouraging. Anything worthwhile does require a level of necessary obsession. And thanks for the opportunity to read and try to understand some more Chinese.

I look forward to the point when my Chinese gets to a level comparable with you English.

liulianxiaoyu said...

:) 不客气。

我发现有时候我理解英文也有难度,比如你写的“I think I've probably made a number of mistakes in a very short space)”这句话,我不知道你是指“我得承认我用了一小时多看书完。”这句话,还是说你在看我写的东西的时候,会犯很多错误。


Brendan Lawlor said...

I don't think that you have a problem in understanding English in this case - my sentence could have been interpreted in either sense. What I intended was your first interpretation: that I was referring to my own Chinese sentence. And thank you for the suggested alternatives. I wasn't at all convinced by my use of 看书, but I thought that 看 on it's own wouldn't be clear (look rather than read). Your solution to this is very neat: "看完你写的".


liulianxiaoyu said...


About your sentence, you could also say "我得承认我用了一个多小时才看完". it is not good to say "我得承认我用了一个多小时看完"。 Here I use "才" to emphasize "it is a long period of time". If you just want to emphasize "a very short period of time", you could use "只……就". examples:

我只用了两分钟时间就解决了问题。(It only took me two minutes to work it out.)

我用了两个小时才解决了问题。(It took me two hours to work it out.)