Learning through listening?

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Antea
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Learning through listening?

Postby Antea » 2016-10-01, 16:57

I'm lately listening to polyglots and language learners videos on Youtube, and some of them say that it's a good method to just listening to the language, for example to films, documentaries, etc, even without subtitles. Because they say that every language has its own music, and listening to it, make you like "understanding" it. I listen myself to videos in other languages, and sometimes without subtitles, because there aren't any available, but I suppose I lose half of the meaning (because, of course, I don't know every word). And I don't know if this method will make me increase my understanding or not :hmm: . Have you ever tried it? What do you think about it?

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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby vijayjohn » 2016-10-01, 17:15

I've never really tried it, but I'm willing to believe it's somewhat helpful for listening comprehension. I don't think it's any substitute for actively learning a language, though, more like a useful supplement you can use if you want to.

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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby IpseDixit » 2016-10-04, 6:40

I do that in order to improve pronunciation and prosody, not sure what you mean "make you like understanding it" though.

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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby Osias » 2016-10-11, 23:05

I believe I understand what he means. The rhythm, etc, of a language also conveys meaning somehow. It's not everything, but it's an important part.

I think a way to prove it is seeing how it's more difficult to understand someone reading texts without rhythm and intonation.
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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby Antea » 2016-10-12, 22:13

Osias wrote:I believe I understand what he means.


Hey, a estas alturas ya tendrías que saber que soy "she" y no "he" :rotfl:

IpseDixit wrote:I do that in order to improve pronunciation and prosody, not sure what you mean "make you like understanding it" though.


I wanted to say, that through listening, even if you don't know all the words they use in the conversation, you can "understand" them through the context. That is, the context helps you to understand more easily the words that previously you didn't know (pfff, look at that sentence ....my English is getting worse :silly: )

I'm lately using this method, because I'm listening a lot to Russian youtube videos, and I think that my listening has improved and that I understand better even when they speak fast :hmm:

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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby Osias » 2016-10-12, 23:25

Antea wrote:
Osias wrote:I believe I understand what he means.


Hey, a estas alturas ya tendrías que saber que soy "she" y no "he" :rotfl:
I mean the youtuber your quoted. I was under the impression it was only one guy. :oops:
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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby Antea » 2016-10-12, 23:44

Osias wrote:
Antea wrote:
Osias wrote:I believe I understand what he means.


Hey, a estas alturas ya tendrías que saber que soy "she" y no "he" :rotfl:
I mean the youtuber your quoted. I was under the impression it was only one guy. :oops:


Ok, I understand :wink:

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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby Sarabi » 2016-12-27, 4:00

Yes, this definitely works. Been learning through listening to media for .... 13 years or so. Damn, I'm old now. Of course, if you don't study the language at all, this is unlikely to help much unless the language is pretty similar to ones you already know. I have tried to learn Mandarin a few times and listening to it hasn't done much for me. It's still just so alien when I turn on a Chinese radio, Chinese music, or a Chinese video... I haven't studied the language enough yet to benefit much from this, I think.

However, I used French radio (rfi.fr) for years to learn listening skills and pronunciation, and I learned new vocab this way as well. After a certain point, I moved to the next level, which was YouTube videos. Finally after a bit of that and a ton of French radio and French music, I was able to watch movies and understand a lot of them without subtitles. Took me a while to reach that level, but I'm so glad I had the patience to get there. Although, it would honestly be more efficient to just go to a country where it is spoken if you are able and listen more naturally. Unfortunately, I did not have that privilege. Also I do not like most languages as much as French, so I don't have this kind of patience. A lot of what I was listening to was repetitive international news on RFI.fr, and I feel I could've been more efficient and just watched more subtitled movies or something... something more useful. That being said, for a good while I couldn't understand most of what I was listening to. Just a few words and phrases at a time.

I don't like Spanish so much, so I cannot be bothered to listen to Spanish news much. Although I think that as my Spanish improves I'll have more patience for it because it will be more than just noise to me. I work with a lot of Latinos, so I've been able to improve by speaking with them instead of just listening to media. The one thing I have done much with Spanish media is listening to Spanish music, because there is a lot of good Spanish music. I am also a partner dancer, so I can listen to it when I go to Latin dance events. The higher your level gets, the easier it will be to bother to listen to something, because you know you're not just doing it to learn the language - you are actually able to appreciate the meaning of what is being said, and learn at the same time. In the beginning you may just have to be patient. Also, with each language, it should get easier to do this. Your brain gets better at differentiating between sounds. You learn how to learn.

Especially in the beginning, I recommend watching movies that you've already seen in a language you understand well - watch them again in your target language. With or without subtitles, depending on your level and preference. This way you already get the meaning and plot, you get the pleasure of watching a movie, and you get to learn by listening at the same time.
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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby schnaz » 2017-02-06, 0:36

To me language is sound. Studying a language by means of the representation of sound through symbols ( letters or characters) puts you one step away from what you are trying to do which is learn a language . Since I feel this way, I think movies and videos are God,s gift to language learners. Naturally I can't always watch movies so I often have to resort to symbols to simulate the real thing.
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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-02-06, 0:47

schnaz wrote:To me language is sound.

What about sign languages?

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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby schnaz » 2017-02-06, 1:01

:angel: :angel:
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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby reineke » 2017-02-12, 3:45

I've learned a couple of languages watching TV programs and I am currently learning Spanish this way. I prefer to postpone reading and other activities until I am comfortable with the spoken language. If you want to develop active skills I would advise you to also work separately on writing and speaking.

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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby dEhiN » 2017-02-14, 7:15

Antea wrote:... and listening to it, make you like "understanding" it.

I understood what you meant, and thought you were trying to use an idiomatic use of "like". If so, I would have said "... and listening to it, can make you, like, 'understand' it." (I surrounded "like" with commas because when speaking idiomatically, I tend to pause slightly before and after "like".)

As for what you were asking about, I used to think I could learn through listening and would listen to tons of music in different languages I was a beginner in. All that listening did help me with the phonology, the intonation, rhythm, cadence, etc. (I guess all that other stuff falls under prosody?) It didn't help me learn any new words and I could barely even pick out the few words I knew.

Now, for my three strongest languages - French, Spanish, Portuguese - I can listen to music and pick out some of the words I know. I'm still not at the level where I can hear new words and understand them in context. I can do that when reading, but that's probably because my reading level is higher than my listening level. I know some friends that have put on news in their target language in the background, but I'm not sure what the point of this is.

So my experience has been that, no, I haven't learned any new vocabulary through listening. All I have been able to do is get better at the phonology and prosody of the language, and learn to pick out vocabulary and grammar I've learned in listening contexts.
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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby Antea » 2017-02-14, 8:43

dEhiN wrote:I understood what you meant, and thought you were trying to use an idiomatic use of "like". If so, I would have said "... and listening to it, can make you, like, 'understand' it." (I surrounded "like" with commas because when speaking idiomatically, I tend to pause slightly before and after "like".)


Thanks for the explanation :D

When I'm listening to something, let's say, in Russian, for example, there are many words that I don't understand. What I try to do is, firstly, grasp the general meaning of what they're talking about, the subject of the conversation. And then I try to focuse on the words I know. The words I don't know, I try to make them out by the context, and in some cases, I write them down (some of them), and I look afterwards for their meaning in the dictionnary.

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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-03-09, 5:56

I just remembered that I know a few people in India who apparently learned languages just by watching TV.

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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby Osias » 2017-03-10, 2:18

How similar are Indian languages to each other?
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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-03-10, 3:02

Depends on which Indian languages you're talking about. Probably the majority of Indian languages are Indo-European (and in particular Indo-Aryan), but there are lots of Dravidian languages as well even though there are only four major Dravidian languages and the rest are endangered AFAIR. In northeastern India, there are a lot of languages from other families spoken, too (mainly Sino-Tibetan), but much of northeastern India is so isolated from the rest of the country that other Indians seem to forget all too easily that it even exists.

In general, Dravidian languages have much longer words than Indo-Aryan languages (especially when it comes to verb forms). The Indo-Aryan languages sound similar enough to each other, as do the Dravidian languages, that if you're listening to an audio clip in any of them without any additional information, you have to rely on certain language-specific cues to know which language is being spoken (Hindi has [hɛ] or [hɛ̃] all over the place, Gujarati has a lot of [t͡ʃʰe], Marathi has a lot of [ɭ] and often alveolar affricates, etc.). Malayalam and Tamil sound very similar to each other IMO to the point that they're mutually intelligible to some degree. Kannada sounds a bit more different, and Telugu sounds very different especially compared to Malayalam (and to a large extent compared to Tamil, but somewhat less so with Kannada since both of these languages have long been in close contact with one another and borrowed extensively from each other).

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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby Hent » 2017-04-14, 8:07

Learning through listening is the best way to learn the pronunciation, but you really need to learn to read the language as well (just like kids). That is if the language has a written form.

For example I can sort of read Russian when I see the words I can already pronounce, but with new words I can only guess where to find the stress which is quite important. On the other hand If I was learning Russian through reading only, my pronunciation would be a catastrophe.

So learning languages through listening is great, but you should combine and you should always learn the meaning of a new word. If you speak a language well you can sort of guess, but I made a mistake by assuming careless meant carefree. That was a long time ago when I was listening to George Michael. Sometimes a feeling in the gut leads to hypercorrectness. :)

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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby dEhiN » 2017-06-08, 7:38

Mark Newman wrote:I've been listening to bands from the country whose language I'm learning. Music is a great way to learn because it gets stuck in your head!

It's true, and I do the same because I love music and am a musician myself. But one thing I found was that if I don't know enough vocabulary and grammar in the target language, then listening to songs doesn't help me in any way. Have you found this? Or do you only listen to bands when your language ability reaches a certain level?
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Re: Learning through listening?

Postby Johanna » 2017-06-10, 22:45

I only ever got the whole learning-a-language-from-music thing once my L2 was well on its way to fluent, at least when it came to passive understanding. Honestly, I still can't tell whether some songs are simply 'word salad' or carry a deeper meaning, and I know loads and loads of English idioms.

I am very much a proponent of learning a language through listening, but these days you are not limited to music. Find a podcast that is about something you love in a language you like. Find a news programme that is tailored to people who aren't yet C1 (C2 sometimes even), but still capable.
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