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Passive Listening

  Tags: Passive | Listening
 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
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Iversen
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 Message 17 of 32
31 March 2008 at 12:35pm | IP Logged 
You can listen for meaning if you understand enough of the language, or you can just have something running in the background, which is the truly passive kind of listening. Then there is the L-R listenning where you try to follow a translation with the help of clues in the form of international words and proper names, combined with clues in the intonation (of course you can also use a transcript, but personally I prefer using a translation in this situation).

And as the last form you can do active listening even with languages that you can't understand yet, provided that you know the written form. Here you deliberately don't care at all about the meaning, but try to parse the stream of sounds into sentences and words, following the speaker 'like a bloodhound on a trail'. As your vocabulary grows and you become adept at reading the language, you will discover that the meaning of the spoken form suddenly becomes crystal clear even though you haven't tried to understand it.

When I have done this I have sometimes seen a string of grey words running across my inner field of vision, though blurred so that only the shape of the words is seen. At other times I just listen for the borderlines between words, phrases and sentences. In both cases you should focus on changes in intonation, pauses, words you have heard before and common endings and affixes, which means that all those things will seep into your mind. Then some day the meaning appears, and you will have learnt to understand that language without passing through the perilous stage of translation.




Edited by Iversen on 01 April 2008 at 8:35am

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jody
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 Message 18 of 32
31 March 2008 at 1:17pm | IP Logged 
Iversen wrote:
And as the last form you can do active listening even with languages that you can't understand yet, provided that you know the written form. Here you deliberately don't care at all about the meaning, but try to parse the stream of sounds into sentences and words, following the speaker 'like a bloodhound on a trail'. As your vocabulary grows and you become adept at reading the languge, you will suddenly discover that the meaning of the spoken form suddenly becomes crystal clear even though you haven't tried to understand it.


This is exactly what I want to try. Like I mentioed, I am still trying to find some audio. Eventually I could make it to following along with translations.
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K.C.
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 Message 19 of 32
31 March 2008 at 2:29pm | IP Logged 
Passive listening might help you get down the rhythm of the language, and don't underestimate this. A few weeks ago I couldn't follow any Spanish language television at all. It all seemed to be spoken very fast and the words ran together. After listening to Spanish for hours a day, the too fast feel is gone and I can make out the words. I think you have to move quickly from passive to active listening, though. This doesn't mean, at least to me, that you understand it all, but that you are actively paying attention and alert for the differences between sounds, for phrases that are said over and over, for common words that are repeated. Then when you are actually studying the language and learning the meanings of words you can work to pick these ones out of whatever you are listening to (and thus begin to understand it). I'm not an expert on language learning (Spanish is my first foreign language) but this seems to be helping me.
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tom26
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 Message 20 of 32
03 November 2010 at 10:32pm | IP Logged 


"As your vocabulary grows and you become adept at reading the language, you will discover that the meaning of
the spoken form suddenly becomes crystal clear even though you haven't tried to understand it. "

Hello new to the forum here, just wondering if this refers to L2 reading with L2 listening at the same time...or just
L2 reading without listening...or the whole listening reading method. Thanks





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lingoleng
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 Message 21 of 32
06 November 2010 at 12:22am | IP Logged 
tom26 wrote:
"As your vocabulary grows and you become adept at reading the language, you will discover that the meaning of
the spoken form suddenly becomes crystal clear even though you haven't tried to understand it. "
Hello new to the forum here, just wondering if this refers to L2 reading with L2 listening at the same time...or just
L2 reading without listening...or the whole listening reading method. Thanks

It refers to listening, nothing else.
In simple words: When you know enough about the language (words, grammar) and can read it, then listening will follow quite easily after a certain time of getting used to the sound and flow.

This works for people only who have invested time and effort in learning the language, but have not yet worked on getting real listening skills. They go through a phase where they understand little or nothing at first, but after a relatively short time (a month, a week or some hours, depending on language, ability, material and who knows what ...) there is a sudden jump in comprehension and it just works. (But there is no magic, of course, you won't suddenly understand unknown words or structures you have never seen, this should go without saying.)
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slucido
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 Message 22 of 32
06 November 2010 at 10:22am | IP Logged 
lingoleng wrote:
tom26 wrote:
"As your vocabulary grows and you become adept at reading the language, you will discover that the meaning of
the spoken form suddenly becomes crystal clear even though you haven't tried to understand it. "
Hello new to the forum here, just wondering if this refers to L2 reading with L2 listening at the same time...or just
L2 reading without listening...or the whole listening reading method. Thanks

It refers to listening, nothing else.
In simple words: When you know enough about the language (words, grammar) and can read it, then listening will follow quite easily after a certain time of getting used to the sound and flow.

This works for people only who have invested time and effort in learning the language, but have not yet worked on getting real listening skills. They go through a phase where they understand little or nothing at first, but after a relatively short time (a month, a week or some hours, depending on language, ability, material and who knows what ...) there is a sudden jump in comprehension and it just works. (But there is no magic, of course, you won't suddenly understand unknown words or structures you have never seen, this should go without saying.)



That's my experience.

Maybe a good method is doing two steps:

-First, mainly focus in learning to read with a little attention to grammar.

-Second, when you read quite well, start with massive listening, paying attention with or without transcripts (active) or without paying attention (passive)

I think this is a good approach with western languages. I don't have any experience with Asian languages.

Edited by slucido on 06 November 2010 at 10:24am

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superette
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 Message 23 of 32
15 November 2010 at 6:24pm | IP Logged 
I'm not very sure about the usefulness of a passive method consisting of just having the sounds go on while doing something else, except perhaps when speaking of an immersion method such as Kazhumoto's but I don't think this is what jody had in mind when starting off this thread.

However, I do believe that passive listening can prove very useful if it comes for example to watching subtiled movies, TV shows, sitcoms, etc. I use it a lot for Japanese and, apart from being quite a lot of fun, it is usefull too. Repeatedly seing a word in your own language (the subtitle) coupled with certain words or expressions in the target language (the movie or whatever video you are watching) drastically helps increasing your vocabulary and overall understanding of the language.

From my opinion though, it is a method that would suit best someone who already has a certain understanding of the basics of the target language's grammar and can at least separate one word from the other even if the meaning is not known, so as not to feel overwhelmed but instead to immediately begin picking up new words and expressions.
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Maroun
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Lebanon
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 Message 24 of 32
20 November 2010 at 5:44pm | IP Logged 
Passive listening is useful, but it should be supplemented by active listening. This is what I mean:
1) Listen to L2 passively . It will get you used to the sounds and the pronunciation, and you'll probably understand something.
2) Listen to L2 actively. This means taht you should understand each word being said. You can do this by reading the transcription and its translation (in case they're available.)
3) Keep listening to the audio *passively* during the day. You can even watch TV or read a novel while doing it. You'll pick up a word now and then, and by the end of day, you'll have picked up every word, and it will likely be in your longterm memory.

This is more or less how I use Assimil. :)


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