Repetitive Listening

In your current foreign language that you are learning when it comes to listening to a new piece of listening item/lesson- how many times you have to do repetitive listening in order to convince yourself that I have listened to it enough and it is time to move on with another item/lesson once again. I know it may vary from person to person but I am looking at the minimum range or trying to find a consensus on finding a good average number.


As I have gone through the text marking the unknown words - I completely loose interest to it and move to the next one. In your native language, do you often watch videos or listen to podcasts more than once? Sure, YMMV.

When I was a super Beginner in German, I listened to the mini stories and “Who is she” a lot of times repetitively. But that was about it. Every now and then I do listen and read the same lesson a few times. For example today I read and listened to the same lesson a few times, because I first read the lesson without the audio. Then I listened to the audio without the text in front of me. And I wasn’t happy with my comprehension of it. So I reread the same text again. And then re listened to the audio a 2nd time.
Lately I have been doing this more because I feel like I have been moving through content too quickly, and there is still a lot of juice I can still suck out of each lesson a 2nd or 3rd time. However I am only doing this because I am really trying to improve my listening skills. The first time around my ear isn’t recognizing a lot of the words until i go back and reread the text. But like Sergey said, I also get bored from content after only going though it once (Usually). But lately I have been extra motivated.

Short answer – probably 3-6 on average. This assumes it maybe has 10-15% unknown words.

Longer answer:

I’ve tended to read and listen to much of my content repeatedly up until a couple of months ago. I felt I really needed to ingrain the new vocabulary threw repeated exposures. Particularly now that I’m beyond the beginning stages and many of the new words for me now are less frequent. So I’ve tended to read and listen multiple times (over the course of 2-5 days) until I either get bored or I feel I’ve learned most of the words. There are usually a couple of sticklers, but I feel like once you’ve read and listened to something a few times it ceases to be as useful and you are better off seeing those tough words elsewhere in a different context. The big problem is that you can get stuck on those words too long and you are losing the chance to learn many words that will stick in your brain. So I think it doesn’t help to stay with the same lesson too long.

Recently I’ve been trying to take a bit of a different approach after reading the experiences of some of the more accomplished German learning lingQ’ers and do less repeating of lessons and to also start reading full books. The idea being that you will eventually see, even the more uncommon words, again. Therefore there’s no need to repeat lessons. Also, by using books or novels, the language is richer in visualization that could potentially help to acquire the vocabulary.

By doing all this, you also don’t get bored as you’re always reading something new.

Anyway, I’m trying to do a bit of a mix of the old and new. I’m continuing some of my more n + 1 material in a repeated fashion as I had been (right now finishing up the Dino Lernt Deutsch series). However, I’m not reading and listening to Harry Potter without repeat. Also, when I can fit it in I’ve been adding in news stories from various sites and interesting topics. I’m also trying to listening to more youtube video. None of this with repeats. This is also much harder material so I’m getting exposure to complicated sentence structures that are much harder to make sense of, but slowly getting used to it.

Thanks a lot for your detailed answer. Very much appreciated. Because Steve listens to a new lesson 15 or 20 times and to be honest my personality is not aligned for such repetition. After 3 repetitions at max my subconscious mind forces me to move on. However, beneath the surface I always get this feeling that If I listen to the lesson a few more times my brain will retain new words for a longer period of time in my long term memory. Again it could just be an illusion maybe with further reading and listening to new contents I may see words again and more have a shot at retaining them. Let’s see how it goes.

I am new to all this but I hope this is where the idea of reading and listening to topics you are interested in will help. At the moment my Spanish is so basic that a lot of what I am reading is Janet and John stuff. This makes the repetition very boring, even though it is necessary for me. If the topics were more interesting I hope that listening repeatedly might be less boring.

I have found that importing songs or simple short youtube clips to be more interesting than just doing the very basic lessons on here, although the lessons on here are probably designed in order to help us learn more.

I listen to most things just once. If I really liked it, I’ll listen to it again. When I was a beginner and at the low intermediate stage, I would read things on LingQ only once, then I’d probably listen to certain things up to 50 times because the amount of entertaining, yet comprehensible material felt limited to me. I think part of the reason that I listened to many times was due to two things:

  1. The material was probably too far above my level to begin with, but it was so much more interesting that I didn’t want to go back to easier material

  2. I just put things into my LingQ playlist and turned it on whenever I did chores, commutes, exercise… you name it.

Now I’m “too good” to listen many times because it’s boring. I must say that I definitely do re-watch some TV series 2 or 3 times though. It’s just fun and I notice more the second time through :smiley:

I use anki as calendar for space repetition for assimil lessons. it would be cool if lingq had the function embedded into a lesson for spaced repetition. maybe one day.

Most things once, I lose interest after listening or doing a lesson one time. I find it boring and could be using that time to encounter new vocabulary. When it comes to music many times, I can listen to the same song over and over, even in my native language (english).

You’re welcome. I’m sure the few extra listens help…but it it could be law of diminishing returns. I also think there is something to putting some space in between the readings or listenings (akin to SRS). For example listening to something 10 times in a row may be less useful than listening to it a few times in a row and then revisiting it after a few hours or a day. Also…you may listen to it 20 times in a row…but completely forget it after a day. You feel like you learned it because you did remember and understand after 20 times…but it may not have been retained long term.

So…for new words, I tend to read/listen to something a couple of times and then check it again in a few hours or a day and see if I actually retained the meaning. This is akin to SRS concepts, but I don’t use SRS or Anki.

I will say that early on with my assimil lessons, on commute I would set a lesson to repeat and listen to the same lesson many times over.

I don’t understand how people can listen to things only once, unless they already have a good grasp of the language.

Once or twice, I’ll understand the meaning, but I need to listen to things 3-4x at least to let the words sink in.

Then again, listening is my worst skill, so take my advice with a grain of salt!

This is a very interesting topic because I still don’t understand what’s the best approach.

Unfortunately, like others here, I have a very hard time to repeat an audio lesson more times, I get immediately bored and get mentally blocked. For sure, it’s a mindset characteristic but the question is, should we push our mind to repeat a lesson a lot of times because it’s scientifically effective? Or for people like us another way is more efficient anyway.

I don’t have an answer, but for example, listening is a weak point I have in general, so it’s kinda obvious that my mind will tend to avoid it because it’s a greater effort than reading.

For example, I always buy Assimil but I’m never able to repeat the lessons more and more times. It’s just super boring.

However, I can watch a movie multiple times, but you’re only able to do that when you are advanced in the language and not when you are a beginner!

My hypothesis is that I should push my mind to repetitive listening to train it to deep listening and improve its concentration ability on listening words and make the correct associations.

How many times? I don’t think it’s the same for everybody. And probably, like they have suggested already, a sort of SRS idea would be useful as well, which means repeating the audio lessons not straight away but after a few days, and so on.

It’s a good topic though and something that I’m trying to understand as well.

I listen until I can identify most, if not all words/phrases, without looking at the text (usually eyes closed).

First read through/listen: identify words/phrases and meanings of the sentences.

Next few times: follow the text along with the audio - a few times, maybe even just once

Finally: just listen, and no reading. The number of times varies - few times, many times. Probably no more than 10 times, but that is very rare.

Then move on to the another lesson/article.

The above is what I am doing as a beginner, and for articles and lessons that are not very long at all.

I like this technique im going start trying this. My Listening skills is my biggest weakness.

Same here. Half Italian, with an extensive family on that side, but I can hardly understand any spoken Italian!
I’m here to put that right!
I definitely understand a lot of written Italian, though. That is helping me here, for sure.

I’m going to step this up a bit, and aim to treat those words and phrases as synonyms, thus hopefully cutting down on the translating in my head. I saw that written in a comment somewhere, maybe this site.

Good luck and enjoy, matey!