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Passive Listening

  Tags: Passive | Listening
 Language Learning Forum : Learning Techniques, Methods & Strategies Post Reply
32 messages over 4 pages: 1 2 3
fsc
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4762 days ago

100 posts - 117 votes 
Studies: French

 
 Message 25 of 32
21 November 2010 at 8:09am | IP Logged 
DaraghM wrote:
I don't think passive listening in just the target language can be beneficial, unless you're at an advanced stage, or you simply just want to pick up the rhythm.


I could never understand what people mean by "pick up the rhythm". I always thought it was something people who have no experience in learning a foreign language say. Has anyone ever been told that they speak the language well but their rhythm is off? I have seen language courses mention vocabulary, grammar, reading, writing, speaking, and understanding, but I have never seen one teach or even mention rhythm.
1 person has voted this message useful



jazzboy.bebop
Senior Member
Norway
norwegianthroughnove
Joined 3851 days ago

439 posts - 799 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Norwegian

 
 Message 26 of 32
21 November 2010 at 5:43pm | IP Logged 
fsc wrote:
DaraghM wrote:
I don't think passive listening in just the target
language can be beneficial, unless you're at an advanced stage, or you simply just want
to pick up the rhythm.


I could never understand what people mean by "pick up the rhythm". I always thought it
was something people who have no experience in learning a foreign language say. Has
anyone ever been told that they speak the language well but their rhythm is off? I have
seen language courses mention vocabulary, grammar, reading, writing, speaking, and
understanding, but I have never seen one teach or even mention rhythm.


I have the exact opposite problem, in Norwegian I apparently have a very good accent,
intonation and rhythm but still speak the language with a lot of mistakes and it
confuses most people I speak to as I sound like I must know far more than what I
actually do. This is what can happen when you get brought to a country for over a month
out of every year since you were born but don't properly get taught the language and
never speak it when not visiting the country. It's only been recently that I started
making an effort to learn Norwegian.

I met a Chinese girl once whose English was very good in that she used completely
correct vocabulary and grammar and evidently spoke and understood at an advanced level
but her rhythm and intonation was not what most English speaking people would be used
to so you found you really had to listen closely to understand, despite the fact that
if you were to have transcribed what she said you would have no indication she was not
a native English speaker.

Rhythm is a useful thing to learn as it means that those you speak to will have a
better time understanding you, having strange stresses in places can throw people off a
little, as well as strange intonation.

I think it might depend on the language for the level of importance rhythm can be
ascribed and I would think of it as a lesser concern for non-advanced learners overall,
however, getting used to the rhythm will have its benefits, both in listening
comprehension for recognising the borders between words and in speaking. If you know
how the rhythm and intonation can be manipulated to add different layers of meaning to
the words you say like you can do in your native language, that could only be a good
thing.

I would expect that teaching it would be very difficult without having one-to-one
tuition from a good teacher giving constant feedback and correction, so it doesn't
surprise me that rhythm is not covered in most language courses, plus it is a
relatively minor thing to learn compared to vocabulary, grammar and general
pronunciation. You can certainly learn it by training your ear and by trying to imitate
but I doubt it would be easy or cost efficient to provide much training of that type in
a language course.
2 persons have voted this message useful



Laole
Tetraglot
Newbie
Portugal
Joined 3541 days ago

9 posts - 18 votes
Speaks: Ukrainian, Russian*, Polish, English
Studies: Portuguese

 
 Message 27 of 32
10 December 2010 at 2:23am | IP Logged 
I think passive listening is very useful when compared to doing nothing. Here is my experience: 3 years ago I didn't understand a word of Portuguese, and now I understand 90% of radio programmes. Aside from my very "unperfect" speaking skills, it makes a conversation possible.

Maybe, passive listening is not that passive: some tasks do not involve brain :) so it is possible to concentrate on listening. This is how I did - with absolutely no time for learning, I just used to work with radio in my headphones. I remember my feeling of "enlightment" when I understood some part of weather forecast :D Honestly, I didn't try to learn the language this way, it was just to enjoy its beauty. I was so crazy in love with it, that even Parliament sessions sounded like a song to me!

Now I'm learning seriously, focusing on grammar, vocabulary etc, and the fact that I can HEAR it already makes my life much easier.

To sum up: passive listening is effective, like sports - when being practiced a lot (couple of hours everyday), and combined with other learning activities. At the same time, it's passive, which means you're busy with sth else, so you don't really spend any time on listening. So, it's result that costs you nothing. Is it worth to wait 2-3 years? For me, yes!


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justberta
Diglot
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 4018 days ago

140 posts - 170 votes 
Speaks: English, Norwegian*
Studies: Indonesian, German, Spanish, Russian

 
 Message 28 of 32
10 December 2010 at 2:56am | IP Logged 
It's great for picking up a good level of pronunciation and prosody.

I'm in Russia so I the TV doesn't have any English channels or programs at all, it's all
dubbed. I usually have it on in the background. Great for learning new words or getting
the pronunciation - specially the stress right. Good for learning some ads by heart and
repeating them to locals... If you want to be laughed at;)
1 person has voted this message useful



Rmss
Triglot
Senior Member
Spain
spanish-only.coRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4997 days ago

234 posts - 248 votes 
3 sounds
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Spanish
Studies: Portuguese

 
 Message 29 of 32
10 December 2010 at 8:51am | IP Logged 
Why would you only want to do passive listening? Throw some active listening in man!

From my own experience I noticed that passive listening HELPS, because there's alsways a moment that you're actively paying attention. I've used music to do passive listening, and believe it or not: I learned many new words from the songs I used to listen to.

Still, you don't want to discount watching television. Passive listening can only get you so far, but you should consider watching tv for extended periods. Even though you won't understand a thing, you still know what's going on (more or less). People may talk crap about my method or other people that watch tv, but it helps. Just read message 15 of this thread and you'll know I'm not the only one.

Having said that, I currently learn Portuguese and just leave my tv on, playing Brazilian television all day long. I work on college papers, update my blog, surf the web, all while (passively) listening to my tv. However, I do pay attention from time to time, or simply stop working for five minutes to watch some television. When my brain catches that something funny is going on, I turn my head to see what all the fuss is about.

Last but not least, read this article: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/home/about/newspubs/news/ViewNews. aspx?id=2458&newslabel=hn

That article exactly points out what I thought: it doesn't matter what you think works, just listening to your target language DOES work! No matter what one's method is, they became better at their target language by listening a lot. Let is be Benny, let it be Khatzumoto, let it be me. Although the initial method may differ, the road to fluency is "walked" by listening a lot.
3 persons have voted this message useful



Laole
Tetraglot
Newbie
Portugal
Joined 3541 days ago

9 posts - 18 votes
Speaks: Ukrainian, Russian*, Polish, English
Studies: Portuguese

 
 Message 30 of 32
10 December 2010 at 11:28pm | IP Logged 
referring to the article linked above:

""Language is a skill, it's not like learning a fact. If you want to be a weight lifter, you’ve got to develop the muscle - you can't learn weightlifting from a book".

Now I discovered also iTunes, and I found it more useful than TV series. It is possible to find there sth that presents differenciate vocabulary, unlike very "common" series language.

Ohh but... it is already active listening :)
1 person has voted this message useful



Rmss
Triglot
Senior Member
Spain
spanish-only.coRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4997 days ago

234 posts - 248 votes 
3 sounds
Speaks: Dutch*, English, Spanish
Studies: Portuguese

 
 Message 31 of 32
11 December 2010 at 1:01pm | IP Logged 
Err, what are referring to? Podcasts for learners? How is that better than real language? Do you have proof that it's better than television?

I learned Spanish and English by getting an amazing amount of input, using flashcards, and then putting what I had learned into practice. I never did a course to English, nor did I really study to learn Spanish. Yet, I speak both languages with great fluency. Weird huh, if television and passive listening doesn't work?
1 person has voted this message useful



vickyyuchi
Newbie
Taiwan
Joined 3551 days ago

14 posts - 17 votes
Speaks: English

 
 Message 32 of 32
13 December 2010 at 10:50am | IP Logged 
Halcyon wrote:
I'm pretty much with Hollow on this one.

Passive listening helps with getting the rhythm of a language. I think a lot of people studying languages, especially on their own or primarily in a class setting don't really "get" the flow that comes with speaking fluently, until much later... the constant exposure that provides you an outlet to the language without taxing your brain like listening it solely for comprehension or "trying" to listen to it for vocabulary helps in the long run. Of course, it's always good to listen to things for comprehension, but then that falls into studying, at least for me...

I'm sure it isn't for anyone, but it certainly doesn't hurt to try, does it? I don't think it's something you can really benefit from if you only do it a once or twice, or even just a few times. You pick up little by little, sometimes none at all, but whatever you do pick up will be (nearly) effortless. Probably even unconciously. I do think this is why studying abroad helps people so much more - you learn mostly not what you are taught in school, but what surrounds you in your daily life. People who submerge themselves in their country of choice will be constantly surrounded by things in their target language - be it street noise, street signs, store music, passing conversations. While passive listening at home or wherever won't give you the full benefit as literally BEING in that language environment, it does offer a small bit of the benefits that comes with it. I listened to a lot of music in different languages growing up, lots of movies - but mainly French, Mandarin, Japanese, Vietnamese and Korean. Pronunciation and speaking was the first to come for me in Mandarin. Speaking and reading aloud for French.. I haven't studied Japanese or Korean to much length, so I can't say much for them. I did horrible with speaking German, Russian, Spanish... and I never listened or had much exposure to those languages. Maybe it's coincidence, maybe not, but I'd say the passive listening helped with at least a little bit of it.


I would stand in the same position. It seems passive listening is useless, however, it's not totally true. Just like what Halcyon said, by doing so, learner could get the sense of intonation and flow of the language. Only when learners know what's the "melody of the language" can he or she really master the language. Therefore, I think to get the sense of intonation and flow of the language could also be important in language learning.Moreover, it's possibe for learners to pick up expressions or vocabulary through passive listening. Through passive listening, learners could be more understand what context would the expression be used and also the usage of the vocabulary. Learners can acuire more authentic language. Personally, I think it would be one the good ways to language learning. However, just like what Halcyon said, the point is it would be impossible to see the progress only do it once or twice.    


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