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.

8 comments:

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...

  不好意思,我直到今天才看到你的这篇贴子,最近一直比较忙。

  我只想说说我听英语的经历。我最开始决定听英语的时候,是从全英文的免费网络教学录音开始的。一开始我也像你一样,大部分都听不懂,听了几天就没有兴趣了。后来,我在别的地方找到了这个网站每天的教学录音带的文稿,于是我每天将录音听两遍,第一遍先不看文稿,听完以后看一下文稿,然后再听一遍,这样我发现我的听力水平也提高得很快。过了一段时间以后,我可以在不看文稿的前提下,可以听懂80%的内容。然后,我开始听英文电视剧(如FRIENDS),每天一集,每次听两遍,尽管还是有很多听不懂,可是我还是坚持听,因为总觉得每天都会增加一些词汇量或句子。同时,我每天早上起床,总会把电脑打开,听英文新闻(如BBC),尽管很多听不懂,可我觉得是为了培养语感,过一段时间就会发现我能听懂的越来越多了。现在,我再回头听听FRIENDS,发现我已经能够比较容易地听懂90
%以上。此外,我听的时候会刻意地去记一些日常生活中比较常用的句子。

另外,昨天我和一个老外在酒吧里见面,我完全能听懂他说的所有英文,而且可以比较流利地和他对话。我想,这就是我坚持听的效果。:)现在,我依然坚持每天听,当然,也开始努力找机会去说了。我相信,只要你坚持听,别灰心,也会像我一样的。

今天写得比较多。 :)

Brendan Lawlor said...

"今天写得比较多"

:-) 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。

BTW,“我得承认我用了一小时多看书完”这句话没有大错误,只是我觉得“我得承认我用了一小时多看完你写的”或“我得承认我用了一个多小时看完你写的”会更好。

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".

多谢多谢!

liulianxiaoyu said...

谢谢你的解释,现在我觉得清晰多了。:)

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.)