Most Effective Listening Comprehension Methods?

So In 1 months time, I would have been learning Spanish for 3 months, and I hope by the end of that time I would have doubled my known words to little over 8000 known words.

My question is what is the most Effective way to improve listening comprehension, I was thinking of starting to watch a TV series on Netflix with Spanish Audio and Spanish Subtitles so I can read along with the words people people have said to start listening to Spanish music more often or perhaps Audiobooks and then import it into Lingq I want to know the most effective way to improve my listening comprehension without living in the country?

Muchas Gracias!

Watching series on Netflix is great. I started to do it with Italian and it has definitly been the best way to understand native speakers. Tha same had hapened to me with Portuguese and English, when I started to watch television and series. If you find it hard to understand something you don’t know you can start with a sery you already know in you language. If you already know the story it will be easier to identify and understand words and expressions.

Hey thanks! I think that I will try and give this method a go when I have reached my 3 month mark as I would have increased my known words! how long per day would you recommend this? I was thinking of 2 hours a day for reading and then 30 minuets for listening comprehension i would of course still be listening while reading as I do with Lingq?

I agree with Katy. Nexflix is a good start (had a bit of a hard time myself getting a show that also had the right subtitles). Otherwise I personally do the following:

  1. Put my Lingq lessons on my playlist and then listen to the audio during my commute
  2. Find the top most subscribed Youtube channels in the specific language and subscribe to the ones which include subtitles and have an interesting theme/topic. For Spanish you can start at:
  3. Download the Castbox app and subscribe to several podcasts (these tend not to have the transcripts though, but I find it helps nonetheless at the more advance stages of learning).

the problem I have is that I have no problem listening to the audio of Spanish but I need to be able to understand the words I don’t think I can just listen and it will just ‘click’ so I feel like reading while watching a TV series or Movie might be the best way to improve my listening comprehension with subtitles as I would have a somewhat base of known words again this is only my view on this subject but thanks for the input!

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I personally try to listen for an hour each day! Anything under that isn’t enough as you need to flood your brain with the sounds of the language to train it to automatically distinguish between words in real time. Also listening while having the text and then listening without it (on commutes) is very different especially when they speak quite fast!

30 min can be a good start. Willing to watch more will be the sign that you understand enough to want to know what happens in the next episode :wink: That’s why I like watching series in the languages I learn, because once you understand enough you want to keep on watching.

I believe the best way to improve listening comprehension is multifaceted. Above all, reading and listening to articles/books/etc here on LingQ in mass is a great way to improve both vocabulary, reading comprehension, and listening comprehension. However, I do believe that watching films with subtitles in the target language (i.e. Spanish film with Spanish subtitles) can help a lot although most of the time the subtitles aren’t word for word, but rather, give you an idea of what they are saying allowing your brain to fill in the gaps in the comprehension of the film. As for songs go, not really sure how much of a benefit they give for listening comprehension since most songs aren’t similar with word choice.

Adding 4k words to your known words is definitely doable.

¡Que tengas suerte amigo!

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What’s the best method? Whatever you do that exposes to the language and keeps your interest will do the trick. It’s mostly a matter of motivation.
Having said that, I think the main factor is how much you can expect to understand at your current level. The first factor is this: movies/series are a lot of fun but they’re also terribly difficult to understand. They’re arguably one of the most difficult parts of language learning. @theLinguist put it pretty well in a previous thread: you’ll feel very comfortable in everyday situations in the language long before you can understand movies. In general, it’s way easier to understand someone talking directly to you than to eavesdrop a conversation between two or more native speakers. Films are conceived as a series of those third-person conversations, adding a lot of slang, background noise and some ambiguity, so as to spice the plot up. At 8000-words you can expect to understand next to 0% of a typical Netflix series.
Is that bad? It’s really up to you and how much you’ll enjoy the experience. It’s still exposure and it’ll help but it might be discouraging and you won’t get the benefits of a gripping plot that makes you want to keep on watching, as you will when your level’s high enough to understand.
Stephen Krashen (the researcher who has influenced S. Kaufmann and the ling approach the most) advises to use content that you can mostly understand, I think at about 80-90%. Steve has argued that such a requirement is hard to achieve in practice and you do have to take a plunge into more challenging material at several stages. The point remains, however, that a gradual approach might be more effective whenever possible.

I myself only go for movies/series at a relatively high level of the language. I’d put the limit at about 10.000 word families, which, for a romance language, I suppose it corresponds to well over 20.000 “lingq” words.
So, what kind of content would I recommend in the meantime? Don’t neglect intermediate-level Lingq lessons of course. There is also material meant for foreign students, for example an (admittedly cheesy) series in slow Spanish for foreign students. There are also youtube channels meant for students and another tv series that was suggested in another thread. As for content meant for native speakers, consider podcasts and blogs with transcripts. sphaishell has a trhead on this forum suggesting interesting content [I’ll add some links to the suggested content when I find a little time, if you’re interested].

I have already talked about my own favorite intermediate content in other threads: video tutorials. Find tutorials in your target language about topics you’re interested in. The advantages of this kind of content, IMO, are:

  1. There’s a guy/gal trying to explain something and s/he is interested in you actually understanding! It comes way closer to actual conversation meant for you in person. Sound quality is usually good.
  2. In many cases, the images will illustrate the point, giving you extra content that really helps understanding.
  3. If you’re interested in the topic you may anticipate a lot of what’s going to be discussed and you’ll expect some specific vocabulary to be mentioned
  4. You like the topic, so you’ll keep on watching

Any topic you like will work. In my case, a couple of my interests are related to dynamic activities (rollerblading, ice skating, salsa dancing, …). I think this is extra helpful because there’ll be a lot of discussion about movements, directions, speed, etc. which is a handy vocabulary to master in all kinds of situations and which is shown in a graphical manner, allowing you to link words and images.

I hope this helps. ¡Mucho ánimo!

The best way to improve listening compression is by reading while listening, then listening again to what you’ve read, then passive listening.

  1. Read a book while listening to the audio book
  2. Once you’re few chapters into the book, start re-listening to the audio just by itself
  3. Do a lot of passive listening, podcasts, other audiobooks, etc.

Netflix is awesome! I pretty much only watch Netflix in my target languages now, but I think putting on same language / same subtitle is not as useful in this case – it’s a better exercise for the second viewing of a show than for the first. If you don’t know a word, hearing a reading it without having the time to translate isn’t gonna help you.

But if you regularly watch TV in your foreign language with English subtitles (or whatever your first language is) you can definitely build vocab and comprehension that way a lot better.

Having said that TV/Movie watching does not have the same bang for the minute as reading w/ listening does – it works, but it won’t build your vocab and compression nearly as fast. I consider Netflix as a fun secondary exercise / practice / simulated in country immersion. It’s there for me to enjoy the results of my studies, not to necessarily teach me stuff.

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I find listening to be the hardest to improve on. I can speak very well for my level, but this sometimes gives natives a false impression, and I end up looking silly for not being able to listen very well. For listening practice, I do a lot of active listening and active listening while reading. I’ll try to read the text while listening and try to see how much I can understand without reading along with the text. The latter is important, because if your reading is stronger, it’ll take over when you start to struggle, making it difficult to improve the listening part. It’s also imperative to highlight common phrases, such as prepositional phrases, idioms, and then verbal expressions, because they make up the message of what’s being spoken. I may not understand 100% of what you said, but I still got what you meant.

I´m probably around a B1 (I´m not sure) in my listening ability, I can understand 95% of Peppa Pig on YouTube, but probably only about 5-15% of a movie or T.V series aimed at native adults on Netflix, and that´s on a good day. My point is that I think you might be better served dumbing down at the beginning. If you can stomach it, Peppa Pig, or some other children´ś series might be more beneficial right now. I doubt there´s anything badly wrong with diving into the good stuff from the beginning, so long as it doesn´t frustrate you into wanting to quit, as it did with me.

The way I see it, when we´re 5 years old we don´t watch Game Of Thrones or whatever, and if we´re honest, I don´t think a beginner or early intermediate has the listening capacity comparable to even a 5 year old native. So imo starting off with pre-school type programs isn´t so bad if you can endure it, you´ll pick up the basic patterns more easily with less complicated structures and subject material. Nothing wrong with passively hearing harder stuff though, just don´t expect to get 50% plus of it until you´re at a very high level imo.

can you passive learn with languages like french ,danish and english with very opaque spelling and pronounciation rules in other words non phonectic ? i don’t know about that

That might sound like a good idea, I have seen on Netflix that they have a kids section if I was to find content on Netflix (which I know they will have ) of Spanish audio and Spanish subtitles that might be a good idea?

I think I am going to give this a try but with children’s TV series which they have on netflix and this will be more suitable for my level - with spanish audio and spanish subtitles of course

I think I am going to give this a try but with children’s TV series which they have on netflix and this will be more suitable for my level - with spanish audio and spanish subtitles of course! I just watched YUGIOH in spanish with subtitles and I did manage to pick up tiny bits of the conversation I am sure if my known words where higher it would most defiantly of been eaiser!

Oh, thank you. I think your opinion can use to learn many languages. It is good for learning languages. I try to learn Japanese, I hope it is a right method. I use LingQ to learn and use Japanese dictionary:
Can you give me the advice to learn Japanese?

I think this is a good method. You mostly do just the same as with any other language. I’m enjoying a lot the new “mini-stories”. I think they’re a wonderful introduction to a new language. I’m using them to learn some Slovak. I’d advise to read and listen to a new story every day and then go on to review a few of the previous ones. Later on, you can try the Japanese version of “Who is she”.
The main specific factor for Japanese is how you’ll approach learning the writing system. There are many possibilities that have been discussed elsewhere on the forum. If I was beginning with Japanese I’d:
a) Learn hiragana and katakana. There are many good online resources for that
b) Read a bit about the basics of kanji
c) Then I’d use the Lingq feature that allows you to display “furigana” (hiragana over kanji) and we’d mostly read the kanas and only notice the most frequent kanjis
d) Later on, when you feel somewhat comfortable with the language, you may consider if you want to actively memorize some kanji

Notice that I have learned very little Japanese on Lingq. I already knew a few basics but I’m a complete beginner in the language. Right now I’m not learning Japanese, nor do I plan to do so in the near future.

I wish you success

It’s not too hard to guess how a new French word that one hears might be spelled. But it is certainly possible you could pick up a word (via Netflix etc.) without being clear on how to spell it.

OH, thank you very very much for your advice. I will try to learn by your advice. But, I have the problem with Kanji. I try to learn kanji for a long time but I still forget Kanji. Do you have any method to learn Kanji
I try to learn Kanji with app for mobile. But, i can’t remember many kanji