Listening to audiobooks

Hello! I’ve got a quick question. I’ve started learning french two weeks ago. But when i do something on my computer I like to listen to some audiobooks (Le petit prince, Le Tour Du Monde En 80 Jours), and ofcourse, I understand nothing. Maybe i should listen to the lessons on Lingq which i study (i.e who is she), but it’s too boring to listen to them for hours.
So, am I doing the correct thing just listening to the language, or should i go to something for beginners?
(Excuse me for my English grammar, not a native speaker)

I find Who is she utterly boring. I am at a similar stage to you in Chinese. I am having trouble finding material between the very beginner stuff and stuff I cannot read or understand at all. I am finding that I can do marvellous things with LingQ and Google translate with Chinese. The translations are quite bad, but the spoken version with Pinyin is really helpful. Together I can use these resources to understand sentences and whole texts and hear how they sound. I have found that the little texts underneath photographs are nice and short and that the picture helps enormously.

That was a bit of a diversion from your request.

For an English speaker, I think French can be approached straight from the LingQ lessons. For an example I selected a low intermediate lesson at random. Login - LingQ

I suggest that you first LingQ all the blue words and listen to the spoken text as you hover over all the LingQed words using the view that comes if you click on the << near the top right corner. This should give you a general idea of what is going on.

If the spoken version is too fast for you to do this, you can save the mp3 file and listen to it using Audacity. Audacity is an extremely useful sound player and recorder. It is free from the web. In Audacity you have the freedom to listen to any section of the recording over and over.

If you do this, you will be able to understand what you are reading and will develop a feeling for how the written text relates to the sound of the words and sentences. Repeating this process for a lot of lessons will soon give you a feel for the language and a knowledge of the meaning of many words. I would not bother with trying to learn each word deliberately. You will automatically learn them in time, just by listening and reading.

Have fun!

I don’t know why replies do not always end up in the list on the right hand side of the page. I wonder if this one will make it.

Thank you, that was helpful, but I’m more curious about whether listening to audiobooks when i don’t feel like studying helps me at all, even if I don’t understand it.

Sorry, I didn’t understand what you wanted. Probably listening to stuff you cannot understand might help, but not very much.

I think it will help you, if in combination with reading stuff, that you can understand, and also
listening to easier (boring) stuff, once in a while. I myself try to read and listening to native (right now russian) material as soon as possible. I don´t care if its less effective, for me the who-is-she stuff is no option. I dont want to spend my freetime with that.

If I listen to audiobooks or podcasts without understanding them, I fell asleep or I get distraced by other toughts quite fast. To me it is not helpful at all and a real pain. But each of us is different. Simply try it and see what will happen. Unless I’ve reached a certain level and have accumulated some vocabulary it is not helpful to me to listen a lot beside LingQ. What I never do is to listen 20 times in a row to ONE lesson. I prefer to have a bunch of lessons (all together about 20 to 60 minutes) and listening to them again and again at the beginning. I regularly change the subjects I’m listening too.

I have to admit that I get bored easily. That is why I cannot listen to things I don’t understand, and to the same content more than 2, 3 or 4 times in a row.


You will learn very little from listening to audiobooks when you don’t understand anything at all. You should listen to content that is at least partially comprehensible to you. What you can try is to find content that you find interesting, and work on it using LingQ. Do some vocabulary building, and read the text until you understand it. Then try listening to it. Keep doing it (listening/reading/vocabulary building) until you can understand most of the content. Then move to another piece of content.

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I found the material below helpful (and interesting enough) for learning French when I was at an upper beginner level.

You can import the content into LingQ, and then work on the vocabulary.

Améliorer son français (transcripts) (audio files)



A very good question. I believe when " initially" learning a language that listening to new language at normal speed does little good. That is where I think LingQ is such a great tool…as you can listen to beginner dialogues about many different subjects. However once you develop an intermediate level of vocabulary and listening ability…listening to radio programs and T.V. programs in the new language greatly helps as you can understand a word or two , but more importantly you gain a comprehension of the “rhythm” of the language, allowing you to pick out separate words and phrases, that in the beginning sounded to you like an “aural blur”. I do not believe that listening to audio books of “novels” help much in normal conversation comprehension…as the descriptive language ( fancy adjectives and such) used are rarely used in normal conversation.

When I started to learn Swedish I have found a free course on the web. Actually I did not even have the intention to learn Swedish. But I found this course made by a lady in her fifties with a very nice voice. I had no time to learn, but for about one month I had quite a manual work on my computer. So I just listened to the audio of this course for about 6-7 hours a day. I was just enjoying her voice and the rhythm of the language . After about one month I had the time to review the material, I read what I had heard so many times. It was so unbelievably familiar. Most of the word meanings I had to check only once and it was mine.

So if you are working on your computer and have the possibility to make your ear plugged by the earphone just go on listening and enjoy the sound of the language!