Hey guys, I’ve been learning Danish for about a year now, But I feel that my progress is starting to slow down and it’s leading me to be very frustrated. I have had moments before when my motivation has been low and I’ve been advised to just “keep going” which I did, But then when I feel like this again I come to realise that I haven’t really come that far since the last time I felt the same way. I am currently at the “Intermediate level” or “B1”. This does bring me on to my next point though, I find the reading ok but my ability to listen to Danish and understand even if I know all of the words is pretty poor. What am I supposed to do to improve this? Just keep listening to the same dialogues I’ve been learning from over and over and over every day? Some advice from anyone would be greatly appreciated.
How much time are you spending on listening a day? Shoot for a bare minimum of half an hour, an hour or more would be best. You can do this while doing other things like house chores or commuting, but make sure you are putting most of your concentration into the listening. Also, the type of dialog you are listening too is important. You should be listening to something that is native speed, not slowed down speech, as slowed speech slows your progress. Obviously stuff you are interested in or someone familiar with helps, if you are listening to something boring you are naturally going to tune it out. I like to find something I have about 50% comprehension in and listen to it until I have about 80 to 85% comprehension. If you already know all of the words then my guess is that your ear hasn’t adjusted yet to the sounds of the language at a fast, natural pace. Make sure your listening materials are at a fast, natural pace.
Listen to different content all the time, follow along with subtitles or a transcript if need be, listen to music and read the lyrics. Don’t torture yourself listening to the same things over and over, especially if it bores you. I didn’t understand anything spoken in my L2 for the longest time and I got really frustrated, too. It will come eventually, but I believe it’s by consuming as much varied content as possible, and while having fun doing it. I know some people here do take the tact of listening to the same dialogues countless number of times, but that’s just not the way that has worked for me.
Re-hearing audio you have already heard is very important for ear training, just like repetition is very important for athletic training. It helps the ear pick out patterns and understand how words and phrases are pronounced in various scenarios, and aids your comprehension as you become more familiar with the context of the dialog each time. That said, when a particular dialog starts to become boring, its time to stop listening to that one and listen to some others. I also want to clarify that when I do not mean listen to the same dialog a bunch of times in a row. Try to have 3 or 4 hours worth of audio that you can listen through so when dialogs repeat only every other day or every couple days. They get boring less quickly this way.
I like the idea that the brain needs novelty and repetition. It is a good idea, I believe, to vary repetitive listening with listening to new things. I listen repetitively mostly at the beginning of my studies, or with material that I particularly enjoy, either because of the voice, the subject matter or the use of language. Repetitive listening does help burn some phrases in my mind. The key is interest. If I am listening to something that I like, where the content is of interest and the voice pleasing, and I am still unable to grasp 20-40% of it, the challenge keeps it interesting.
You will have to find your own way, Corin. Different people have different approaches as you can see.
I would also not fret this situation too much. If you went to Denmark your comprehension would improve dramatically in a few days.
If going to Denmark isn’t an option, you might want to consider getting Danish satellite-TV? (It’s possible to do this for most European languages, I believe.)
Thanks Guys for your comments. And yeah Steve going back to Denmark would very much help even though annoyingly when I was there last time they all convert to English when they see I’m having trouble. So do you guys think that overall Listening is the most important segment of language learning? It would seem to make sense as obviously a big part of Language is listening to others who speak the same language.
I would say that listening is very important, but that its biggest limiting factor is vocabulary. You need vocabulary first (at least a passive “I recognize that word” knowledge), followed by strong listening skills. If you are able to gain much of your vocabulary through listening, like Steve apparently is, then listening is your best bet. I find that I gain my vocabulary best through reading, so I read whenever I can, and listen when I cannot read (driving, exercising, doing chores, walking the dog, etc) I usually get about 40 minutes of listening in a day this way.
I think you need both listening and reading. I acquire more vocabulary from reading, but listening helps to reinforce my knowledge of vocabulary and my familiarity with the language. It is also a lot easier to fit in to a day’s schedule.
However, what I would do if I were Corin would be to import content into LingQ, text and sound, and then go through the content streaming to improve my ability to follow what is said. Then I would listen again away from the computer. Just keep doing it until your ability to understand spoken Danish improves. Let us know how things work out.
Cool. Cheers for the advice everyone I’ve got all the dialogues from my “Teach Yourself” book too, So I guess I can listen to the audio on a regular basis until my grasp of this improves. I will of-course report on how it goes.
I really like the teach yourself series, unfortunately I never had the opportunity to listen to the audio because the two Teach Yourself books I got were hand-me-downs and the audio files were long lost already. I would guess though that they were created deliberately for a learner to listen to. Once you understand them with relative ease (or they get boring) its probably time to find native audio content, such as news podcasts, sports radio and the like to listen to to bolster your comprehension. I like to use www.listentoyoutube.com to rip the audio from youtube videos and put them on my mp3 player.
What I did a lot when I was studying English ages ago was to get a recording for which I already had a transcription (though I wouldn’t look at it before doing this exercise) was to try and transcribe passages. After giving it a few tries, I’d look at the transcription to see what I had trouble with. Of course, this is just another exercise to be used in conjunction with other kinds of listening activities.
Corin, you have to get past the teach yourself dialogues. They are artificial, contain English and in the languages I have studied, pretty wooden, no resonance. Find some more natural and engaging content. If you are still at the Teach Yourself stage it is not surprising that you have trouble understanding.
I just bought an audiobook and book thats is at native speed. It take me awhile to translate the page using lingq. There is a good amount of unknown words, but I can still understand some in the audio. Am I wasting my time translating so many words rather than doing more listening? I sit down to learn for an hour a day plus around 30/40 minutes in the car. I’m used to using assimil so all the words were already translated. Today, i translated using lingq and wrote the definition for about 40 min of my sit down time. Do you guy think that it is a little counter productive. Can anyone advised me an amount of time a should spend between translating and listening. A trade off if you will.
I think you’re right Steve. In terms of using Lingq for “Danish” a language not “officially” supproted. Should I just import private lessons and use the danish dictionary instead on one of the translate sites?
Or you can try to find 967 more people who would vote for it in the Facebook poll on beta languages!
This should probably be on a different thread, but Vonk has a good idea… The idea behind Beta languages is to attract new paying users and keep current ones. Perhaps a pledge system is a better way to run it. Potential learners (such as Vonk here) pledge 6 month or year memberships, and when a language reaches a certain number of pledges, (i.e its return on investment is proven) it then gets added.
Rightly or wrongly we have made a decision on new languages and will not be changing that decision for the foreseeable future. Thanks anyway for the offer.
so if I imported private lessons I could still save words even in a language not on Lingq?
@Corin - Yep, you should be able to use another slot to import private lessons in Danish and save LingQs, etc. You’ll have to use an external dictionary, but you can keep track of all your words and your progress through LingQ