Listening to Podcasts but not understanding much

So at my work, I am a contractor and I repair and paint carts in a car factory. I work alone and I’m allowed to listen to headphones while I work which I take advantage of to learn German. I like to listen to a lot of different German podcasts but a lot of them are completely in German and sometimes I can’t understand all that much. I know while I can’t understand it all it’s still improving my German by getting more familiar with the language flow and my comprehension skills. I also listen to Pimsleur German which I think I learn more from because they explain things in English. I guess my question is it more effective to listen to Audio lessons with English explanations even if it is a lot slower than having a larger input of the language even if you don’t understand much. I mean here at lingQ you really have the best of both worlds but lingQ isn’t the only resource I like to use.

I try to keep a balance of listening and reading but sometimes when I listen to a lot of German radio or Podcasts I feel like its not improving myself as much as if I could know what all is being said. Like I said I know that listening without understanding everything is improving but I want my learning method to be as time-effective and efficient as possible. If anyone could share insight to this I’d greatly appreciate it.

Some people like to listen to podcasts which have English. This is not my preference. I prefer to listen only to the target language. This means that I chose content where I have access to the transcript. I suggest you help yourself to the content in our German library and do a lot LingQing at home, and then listen to this material, initially more than once. AS you improve your vocabulary and comprehension, you will be able to increase the level of difficulty and eventually understand without transcripts. That has been my experience. Good luck.

Thanks Steve, this is what I try to do with the transcripts. I do find it very important to be able to link the sound you hear with a word so you can understand it on two levels. Next to LingQ I find very helpful because they also have a lot of transcripts with their audio. I do think the one problem with the audio with English is, while yes your are still learning, you are also clinging to the habit of translating the target language to your mother tongue which I am trying to not do, I want to be able to think in German and not just know the English equivalent.

Have you ever tried Langsam Gesprochene Nachrichten?

I used to wake up every day, import this into LingQ, read it, and then listen to it several times on the way to work. It was very effective.

I think I’ve browsed by this before, because I like the site a lot. I will definitely give this a try. Thank you.

My feeling is that it’s more efficient to listen to recordings with transcripts versus podcasts with no transcripts where you can only understand a little. But I still think the latter is useful, maybe in addition or if you just want something different, or to have it on in the background with less intensive active listening maybe.

For me, what’s NOT useful is listening to something where I’ve NEVER been exposed to the meaning of the majority of the word/s in the first place - because no matter how many times I listen I won’t miraculously figure out the meaning. But if I HAVE been exposed to the meaning and perhaps have them in my passive vocabulary or even at an even more subconscious level, then listen to a podcast (without transcript) which maybe I can only understand 25% or even less the first time, then I find it useful to listen repeatedly because after enough listens I may be able to understand 50% or even the gist of 70%.

In short, I think there’s a difference between not understanding because you’re just not comprehending due to the listening speed or the meaning is still sunk a little low in your subconscious but still there in some form VERSUS not understanding because you have never linked a German word with its meaning. The former I think benefits from more listening.

Some of the SBS podcasts I mentioned to you before have a combination of English and German. Maybe that could be interesting to try? I was actually listening to one the other day where the interview questions were in German but some of the responses were in English. That helped me because sometimes I wasn’t quite sure what the interviewer was saying but hearing the English responses helped confirm by context what the German meant and also just helped me follow the gist in general. I will see if I can find the link.

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Sorry, I know I shouldn’t use upper case in a forum :slight_smile:

Yeah I definitely agree. I think this is definitely something I need to tweak in my learning. I’ve been listening to a lot of Podcasts lately honestly because its pretty easy to just download something and listen but I need to find more content with transcripts. Most of the podcasts I’ve been listening to most of it I can understand well at the very least 50%. If understood less than that I probably wouldn’t bother with it because it’s not fun when you have no idea what’s going on. I think it is still useful with these podcasts where you understand 50-70%+ because you can also learn things from context while following along and getting the “gist” of what is being said. One podcast I’m actually enjoying a lot right now is DaZPod Deutsch als Zweitsprache. I think you wouldn’t definitely be able to understand most of this and I don’t think its all that boring, there meaningful conversations between two people you would hear in a normal conversation.

Thanks for this. Just had a quick listen to episodes 25 and 27, and really liked it. I’m getting the gist of most of it, and understanding at least 50-70%. I like the explanation afterward too. It’s slower than most of the podcasts I listen to but I think that will be nice to have in the mix to really relax and try to absorb what I’m hearing. But I guess what one considers ‘not understanding much’ is subjective as I think 50-70%+ is a good amount! Especially if that’s for podcasts aimed at native speakers rather than learners.

I’m glad you liked it. It’s definitely aimed towards people who are learning it so it is slower and more basic vocabulary. I think even more specifically it’s aimed towards an English speaking demographic because it seems like they try to use certain words and phrases that are easier to understand for an English speaker like cognates and similar word order.