Intensive x extensive listening ( b1-b2)

once someone reaches an intermediate level b1-b2 at listening and wants to get to c1-c2 is it better if this person continue intensively studying using lingq, in other words having the transcript of whichever video or audio this person is listening to or extensively study by watching tons of stuff with no regard to analyze what she/he didn’t understood.
by doing intensive study, I don’t mean repeatedly listen to one thing until I master it, I mean, observe what I didn’t understand and then move on to something else.
what’s the best strategy?

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I would keep using LingQ by increasing the content and the difficulties. I would keep increasing the strength of the language on all its areas. When you have a higher level, it is easier to find topics that you like, so you can increase the material you have, but I wouldn’t think that I’m done with the language. I would start checking on my writing and speaking as well. From B2 to C2 is definitely another journey.



To get from intermediate to advanced, you are really have to develop your language skills in multiple areas:

  • vocabulary
  • reading comprehension
  • listening comprehension
  • grammar
  • speaking
  • writing
  • spelling
  • pronunciation

There is no one single technique, which will get you to an advanced level in all categories. You have to use multiple techniques to get there. Some techniques are better for some aspects, but don’t touch on others.

There was a recent discussion on how intensive vs. extensive reading compares for vocabulary acquisition.

Here are some of the used techniques and how they are best used:

  • Semi-intensive/semi-extensive reading while listening is probably the best for vocabulary acquisition (i.e. reading with access to a dictionary or a translation)
  • Extensive reading while listening is great for turning your partially-learnt words into subconscious, instantenous knowledge/meaning
  • Listening to challenging, low-quality audios with a wide range of accents is important the best for developing listening comprehension
  • Reading a good grammar textbook with a few exercises is the best for grammar, then solidify it with extensive reading while listening
  • Lots of reading, then writing is how you improve your writing
  • Lots of reading, writing or spelling drills is how you improve your spelling
  • Conversing is how you improving your speaking skills. Lots of listening helps too, but in the end you need to practise speaking
  • Pronunciation drills is how you improve your pronunciation

Probably the most versatile method is reading while listening while looking up unknown words in the dictionary. This trains nearly all the skills, but it only works up to a point, perhaps around the C1 level. Eventually to train the individual skills, you need to do very skill-specific activities.

Some form of deliberate study is better for learn. Extensive reading/listening/reading while listening has its place, but you need to pay attention to what they are saying. Attention is probably the #1 most important thing in language learning. Without paying attention it’s background noise, which is useless. With regard to ‘watching’, just note that the more words per minute/hour you parse, the better. Watching TV shows/movies has half the words spoken per hour than a podcast.