Active and passive listening: ratio and time

How much active and passive listening do you guys do? As active listening I consider listening to audio while focused and not reading the script/subtitle. Everything else in the passive category. What is your experience of the importance of each of these two?

I have recently increased my listening and have noticed a decent improvement in comprehension. Around two months ago I increased my listening from 30-60 minutes passive listening per day (on average) to about 2 hours active and 2-3 hours passive listening per day. Before the change my comprehension was OK but it would often drop significantly when I missed a word and sort of got lost. It now feels like my processing speed has gone way up. Not perfect but will be interesting to see if the trend continues or if it slows down.

I have been struggling with this a bit too. Most of my listening is while doing other things. So probably 15%-20% active, but I have been trying to pump up my hours as well. I definitely see an improvement from when I started (about 2 months) but I guess it will just take more time. My goal was 2 hours a day, though I find the last few I have been doubling it, but we will see how long that will last.

I can’t put this into any regular pattern because I just listen so often that I think my passive listening would be over 80-90% most days. This is normally music in the language, but there are definitely days with hours worth of audio books, podcasts, etc.

I think that the active component is important. I had always watched tv shows with target language subtitles in the past, but since I read in my language so often, I realized that I wasn’t paying as much attention to the voices because I would just read the subtitle before the line could come out. So I don’t watch with subtitles anymore, and I think my listening has improved a lot. I’m pretty sure it’s helped my understanding of more nuanced grammatical concepts as well. I’m guessing it’s because I’m getting more context from the facial expressions, tone of voice, and general context? I feel like the further I go into this language, the more I think that listening and reading are really the key to absorbing the grammar and structures of the language. I’m quite interested in your opinion on this wnint. Think about all of the nuanced endings you can add in Korean. There are many that don’t add tons of syntactic function, but they do change the nuance and tone(not the linguistic term). The act of listening and watching feels very powerful, and if you haven’t turned off the subtitles yet, do it! You’ll probably feel like you understand less, but you’ll catch up quickly. If you’re really trying to use video context with audio, I also recommend turning on audio-description if possible. There are so many uncommon words that appear because people on really describe surroundings in novels and such, but the visual connection is great!

I also talk to people on the phone quite often these days, and I think it helps so much. I think it’s hard to find the right language exchange partner, but if you get someone you enjoy talking to, you’ll pick up each other’s habits in the languages. It really is tough to find the right person though! It’s probably best to find someone that fits close to your personality/identity as well. Currently, my friend and I have a google doc where we can type things, and we generally talk on the phone while being able to add links and such.

If i could go back in time to when I started learning my target language, the one thing I would do differently is that I would have added more listening. The more I think about language learning and my own experience, it seems to be the most important part. There don’t seem to be any negative aspects to it, as some claim speaking (and some even reading) has. If can keep going at 4 hours per day I think you will have great success down the line.

Agree with everything you say here. All the different question endings for example. These are pretty easy to just think of as simply question endings if you are primarily reading, but off course that is very simplified. Listening is definitely needed to sort that out and internalize it.

What I usually do is have subtitle on but only look at it when I have to rewind. But often this doesn’t really work, it is really easy to forget that plan and fall back on the subtitles. English subtitles btw are really worthless for Korean because of the word order. I’ll take your advice here. It is something I know I should do but that I have postponed for too long now. I noticed the audio-description but haven’t tried it out yet. Will give it a go after the one I’m watching now. I feel like the visual component is sort of underrated in the language learning community. Even though the word density is lower than for example an audiobook, because of the visuals and the situational context (made-up word?). The connections you develop for the words and phrases should be much stronger. Thats what I feel at least. The audio-description dramas seem fix the only thing that is missing from tv (word density).

I watched 타인은 지옥이다 that you mentioned btw, I liked it a lot! I actually managed to get netflix playing on the iPhone with locked screen. It appears to be a bug. But it is very nice for passive listening to dramas. Doing some passive listening to dramas I’ve seen before now.

Thanks! I appreciate the tip. So far I have been listening to the mini stories quite a bit, along with a couple of movies that I know well. Also been struggling through a few shows that I like, but that is significantly harder for me at my level. I’m looking forward to when I can enjoy that content more.

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Over the course of my 800 hours of listening, about 500 hours was Netflix shows I was watching and for nearly all of that I was reading the Spanish subtitles on screen too. The remaining 300 hours was spent doing other types of listening. A lot of that was just chilling and listening, but the great majority was done while taking a walk or driving. The bulk of Master Steve’s listening happens when doing other things too—especially while working out, doing the dishes, etc.

I never made any kind of distinction between active vs passive, and didn’t plan on doing it this way. It’s just how it worked out. I think as long as you are listening to it and it’s not just “on in the background,” you’re fine.

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I do not do passive listening. I only do active listening. Passive listening goes against my personality. My brain feels agitated when I try to listen to my target language and doing something else at the same time. I just focus on one thing at a time. I must say that my listening skills have drastically improved over a period of three months where I started taking the German language seriously. Local Germans are noticing this improvement as well so instead of speaking in English, they prefer speaking in German to me. Of course, not everything I understand 100% but at least I burst through that “noise phase” where language looks like to you as a monster. With more exposure to the language on a consistent basis, I will be able to cage this monster. Just need to be self-disciplined on a regular basis.

Even though I am busy with my academic exams right now, I still find 3-4 hours daily in between where I can focus on listening - I usually listen to an Audiobook or listen to a radio play on Youtube but at 95-100% concentration level and no multi-tasking in between.

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