Is listening and repeating the better way to learn than just listening?

I have started to listen and repeat to every sentence before reading it. Sometimes I have to listen to a phrase 10+ times to try and figure out what they’re saying. It’s very satisfying when I struggle and eventually it “clicks”. I am finding this a better method than just listening to mini stories passively, and it’s helping with my pronunciation.

However I like to do this when I’m out for a walk and I use a custom mp3 app that can be controlled with a little handheld bluetooth remote so my phone remains in my pocket. This also helps avoid the temptation of reading the text or getting distracted by something else.

Anyone else out there prefer to listen until you understand or do you just listen passively and hope you absorb it next time.


I usually try to listen and read the same content (mini story for example) over one week or more. On the third or fourth day I start to repeat the key phrases with the audio to improve my pronounciation and only listen. The material that I use to learn has questions and I try to answer them as quickly as possible. Finally on the sixth or seventh day I try to tell all of the mini story by myself using the correct pronounciation of the words.

This method has helped me a lot. I have improved my english from the A2 level up to the B2 in just six months.

I use the material of AJ Hoge - Effortless English.


I’ve wondered this for a long time. I know Steve warns against “over learning” but I think he also advocates repeat listening during the beginner stage. I for one listened repeatedly to 20 or so beginner conversations from a podcast I found probably for 3+ months, maybe more. I was also doing what you did and trying really hard to figure out every word of what was being said. I tried to work it out by skipping it back again and again, I think this helped me in terms of training myself to infer meaning without immediately looking it up, but at the same time, now that I’m an intermediate I do feel like I wasted some time doing too much of that. There’s a fine line between learning and over learning. Now I know from experience that just letting it go and moving on is probably the more efficient thing to do.

What you’ll probably end up doing is over learning simple phrases that you’ll eventually be exposed to again and again the more exposure you get. They’ll eventually click in if you just keep seeking out new material. Stressing over trying to understand everything at this stage is inefficient, IMO. That said, I did exactly that, and I still catch myself doing it now.

I wouldn’t say many learners are “listening passively” all that much, I personally don’t believe that helps until you are at a comfortable level in the language. I might be wrong, but the beginner/early intermediate part is the ‘struggle stage’ of language learning, and I think the reason for that is you have to mostly be very attentive and active in your pursuit or words and grammar assimilation during this stage of learning. You’re just not going to progress that much (at the beginning) listening to stuff halfheartedly, IMO.

No, I don’t think repeating “is better”, nor do I think it’s worse, mind you

I think that when we begin learning languages we tend too focus too much on method. It’s like you’re trying to find the exact, correct combination of techniques. One we get them right, everything will go smoothly and we’ll get to the next level as in a breeze.
It really doesn’t work like that. The exact method you use doesn’t have all that impact. When you really want to learn a new challenging skill, whether language related or otherwise, you end up trying almost everything and, guess what, everything helps, though no particular drill or routine is indispensable. I’ve read about grammar, read beginner lessons, novels, practiced individual phonemes and listened to transcripted audio, watched videos I understood very little of, read a lot, learned song lyrics, engaged in conversations, travelled to the countries where my target language is native, chatted over internet. As I’ve gotten better, I’ve watched whole movies or TV series, attended lectures and forced myself to ask questionss, and so on and so forth.
To belabor the point: everything adds up but you’ll always find someone who skipped a part or most of all that and who has reached a good level in the language.

I you find repeating helpful, by all means do so. It’s a very good idea and your interest in it is a sure sign that this is what you need right now. It doesn’t mean that it is what you’ll need next month and much less that it is what everybody should do.
Anything that helps you keep exposing yourself to the language in a consisten and meaningful way will help you, whether it is apparent at this moment or not. Anything that discourages you from it will become an obstacle.

I wish you a lot of success in your learning

I’d like to contribute towards Georgian, if we can find the right person to do the stories.

I thought you were a native speaker. Your English is amazing. What you are doing is working.

I think this will vary from person to person, here is my approach:

  1. I never listen or read the same thing twice, I find it boring
  2. When I am listening to an audio-book, I tend to read the book by just checking the words in yellow and blue, page after page. I am often ahead with the listening, and so I only read the words around the blue/yellow words and get the overall context. Then, once I am listening I will be more likely to recognize those same words. Now, mind you that authors keep repeating their favorites words and expressions over and over again.
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Thanks Mashakal!

It doesn’t exist one ‘key’ for all people. Everything depends on the person.
You can choose the method that suits you best of all.
From my experience: if the text is easy, I just listen to it.
If the text is not so easy, I prefer first read and listen to it at the same time, but then I check myself by listening to the text for the second time without reading it.
It’s quite rare when I use the same text more than 2-3 times.


thanks for sharing, it’s a good way. an edu report prove that ( Strategies for teaching listening (TESS) - DocsBay )