Listening is the way

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Yes, Corin, I really wouldn’t worry that many words that you know in writing you don’t recognise in speech…certainly at this stage ( after making your way through “teach yourself” )…When I listen to “Echo Moscow” radio programmes for the first time, I sometimes wonder if I’ve ever actually studied the language and I barely understand a thing - some set phrases, a few key words. But, when I break out the transcript, I seem to know about 70-80% of the content. I 'm not too happy that I don’t catch it all when I listen, but I know this will improve, and I know it’s the 20-30% that I don’t know really makes a blur of the surrounding words that I do “know”.

Right now you just need to find as much audio paired with transcription as you can… this may mean listening and reading things you don’t really like that much, but you need to hear these words in many ways, from different voices and different structures.

@Ernie Thanks Ernie for those links. the netdansk one, and the new to denmark one seem quite useful.

@Maths Fair enough. It’s just considering Danish is supposed to be one of the “easier” languages to learn it’s proving for me not to be. It’s just a bit frustrating when you’re supposed to “know” a language fairly well and then you listen to a story in that language and can finish it having no idea what the hell the story is about! and you don’t think I should worry about this? when would you say one should worry about it then? :slight_smile:

@Corin
Regular conversation will improve your listening skills. Something about having the “real” need to communicate with someone will force your mind to a new level in order to understand your partner. It’s especially helpful for words you already know, but don’t seem to pick up when listening. Having you partner clarify things when you don’t understand is very helpful. And aren’t you planning to be a fluent speaker anyway?

Personally, the read and listen forever method doesn’t work for me. By that I mean I get very little if any active vocabulary that way. I get a fair amount of passive vocabulary that way, but not nearly as much as if I mix in some vocabulary review. So that’s another possibility - if you’re not doing it already, you could try reviewing vocabulary.

As far as listening to native material while you do your housework, I’d say it depends. As another poster asked - is it n+1 (slightly challenging) or not? From your descriptions, it sounds like it’s not. So I agree with playing lower level podcasts and stuff, or maybe your lingq lessons, instead.

Corin :
How long have you been at Danish? Without getting into “some languages are harder than others…” so far as I know Danish vowels can be hard to differentiate, and so at a guess, comprehension of spoken Danish may be harder than understanding another “grammatically harder” language.

My point is worrying about it won’t make comprehension come faster. You get good at the things you do, no choice about it : ) if you listen a lot, you’ll get good at listening.

To give a solid answer to “when should I worry” " If you know every word in the Danish almost dictionary, have listened to 1000s of hours of audio, and can create grammatically correct sentences yourself most of the time… but you still don’t understand impromptu speech, then there may be a problem… come back and worry then : )

Edit: Right, you’ve been learning for a bout a year… a little less than me in Russian, and I myself wouldn’t hope to understand a radio program on first listen without a transcript. No way in hell. Once I’ve got a transcript, looked up the words I don’t know (10-20%) and have read through and am familiar with the text, I can listen without reading and understand 80-90% on repeated listening. I have no idea if this is reasonable progress, there’s not much more I can do to improve, but I know I get gradually better all the time. But I need that transcript.

What has really helped me a lot with my listening skills is to listen to the same person all the time.

Find a voice reader with whom you can relate with. Listen to audiobooks or podcasts that are recorded by the same person. Listening will be a pleasure that way and you will pick up lots of things effortlessly. Noise will start to convert into words here and there and then into sentences. I think you get my drift. You need to listen to the same podcast or recording again a few times after a small haul. Let’s say after a week or sometimes even after two weeks.

hi :slight_smile: i am learning norwegian and it is very similar to danish. i find that they run everything together, and like a previous person said … i think i am picking up more on the sound of an entire phrase rather than individual words (for now). haha. i know it’s very frustrating, but i’m slowly progressing with listening skills. i just started to listen to norwegian radio. i probably actually understand 25% of what is said, but it’s introducing me to more spoken words/phrases and making me feel more comfortable

@Vggr ah yes I saw that you were studying Norwegian! in fact I think you should be topping the activity pole for Norwegian as I’m just using Norwegian to import Danish instead since Lingq has no Danish. Yeah they are both very similar especially when reading but I think that Norwegian is probably slightly less strenuous in terms of listening.

While this thread is still active I might aswell ask you guys opinion on something. Do you guys find it more effective with the flashcards, to have the word appear in the language your learning and then try and remember it’s english meaning or the other way around?

I’d say that depends on your goal. For individual words, and especially at the beginning of learning a language, I will set the flashcards to show me the foreign word so I try to remember my native English. You will find this easier, and it helps build up a large passive vocabulary, which is vital to understanding. For phrases I take the exact opposite approach. I will see the phrase in my native English and try to remember the sentence structure. This is great for learning how to say phrases and sentences in a natural “as a native would say it” manner and improves your expressive abilities. I usually do this after I have reached an intermediate level in the language.

I only do them from the target language and now I set them up with all the info on the front and do not flip them. I think everyone should experiment .

@Corin, I agree. my cousin is studying Danish and he has showed me a few movie clips. it came across as very… sloppy and mumbled. hahaha. good luck to you :slight_smile:

Corin - I find flipping the cards in both languages help ensure the words are transferred in the long-term memory.

With regards to your question on listening, I find listening to the same sentences over and over again helps me remember specific words better when I hear them next in another context. Just having something in the background has not helped me much in the initial stages of learning a language (this was for Chinese where listening is particularly important because of the tones)

Since the pronunciation in Danish is so different from the way it is written, listening becomes more important. Try and hone in on frequently occuring words (that are difficult for listening comprehension) and listen to them in sentences over and over again.

@yggr yeah indeed! at times it seems it can sound like a frog vomiting, or how I’d imagine that anyway. I do like the way it sounds, it doesn’t really sound like any other language.
@Marianna I thought this might be a good way of doing it too, thanks

Well I’ve gotten some interesting thoughts here guys, and I’m really thankful for that! Always like starting a good interesting topic on the forums!

Corin - just curious what you like about the Danish language. I do not find it particularly pretty. There is a dialect incidentally on the west side of Jutland it is claimed they speak just like a Scottish dialect (I think you mentioned you were scottish). That dialect is quite interesting.

@Marianne oh really? that would be most interesting. It is even for me hard to understand some of my peers due to the way they speak. I myself don’t sound especially Scottish, probably helped by the fact my Dad is from England. I’m not sure why I like it, it just sounds very weird, and I like weird things. I notice the small Swedish flag next to your name and I look to learn Swedish in the future after I hopefully improve my Danish (as “people” say Danish is the hardest of the Scandinavian languages to learn (not including Finnish as most Scandinavians I’ve come across don’t really consider it part of Scandinavia). I like the sound of Swedish too, I think it has a ring to it which almost sounds Italian and there’s something quite pleasing about it. I think I’d probably relate better to Sweden and Norway too! as when I was in Copenhagen the only people who really seemed helpful were from either Norway or Sweden. I’m not sure if this is just a nationalistic attitude of Denmark, but ah well. I’ve also heard the Danish once “mastered” is a fast track to Norwegian and Swedish.

I’ve never heard a language which I don’t sound of. I’m a rare case, I believe. :slight_smile:

Imyrtseshem - do you like the sound of your own language?