Should I continue to read the text as I listen?

I’m learning Chinese, and while it’s extremely convenient and helpful to read as I listen, I can’t help but feel like I’m handicapped. I’ve been learning English for more than 12 years. I’m fluent, I have a vast vocabulary, and I have great listening and reading skills. However, given the choice between listening without the text, or listening with, I will always choose the latter. Whenever I watch a movie I use subtitles, even if I don’t need them. If I don’t use them, i feel uneasy.

Does anyone else feel like this? Are my listening skills not good enough? I listen at the very least for two hours everyday, to content that matter to me. Maybe I’m creating problems where none exist. Either way, I’d like your insight. Thanks.

I don’t know if you should quit doing it. I read subtitles while watching a movie too. I started using them two years ago and since then my English listening skill improved very far so I understand every word except new rare one (for example when I watched Big Bang Theory I couldn’t watch it without subtitles because I couldn’t understand physical terms and some new for me slang words)
My situation is a bit different of yours. My English isn’t perfect but I am tired of intensive English learning. So I watch movies and use subtitles to learn English passively. It actually works for me, I still learn it.
Good that you are learning Chinese. It’s very interesting, especially their culture. Watch Shaolin (2011). One of my favorites. =)

I think I’ll gradually stop watching with subtitles. But, yes, Chinese is very fun! The problem is that I’m still in the early stages, so I can’t understand much, and I can’t listen to content that interests me because I don’t understand. I’m also in love with their culture and history! Something I will definitely look into once my Chinese improves. I actually have watched Shaolin. It exceeded my expectations by a long shot! Without a doubt one of my favorites. I can’t stop listening to the ending theme, though, it’s so good. I must have listened to it at least a thousand times! I want to watch the movie again later, when I understand more, because the first time I watched I relied on the translation.

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I also like to listen to the theme song. I have this song in mp3-player. =)
Well, I can understand simple sentences in Chinese and even some songs. When my vocabulary had 378 words I couldn’t do anything good. I got better in Chinese when I knew already 1200 words and started to surf Chinese internet, chat with new Chinese friend, listen to Chinese music, reading Chinese comments.
I always compare myself with when I was learning English. I remember that when I knew 4000 English words I’ve got a break-through. But now I understood that besides learning at LingQ I should read and listen to another Chinese content more just to relax without learning. And it helps. For example I like to listen to Chinese music and I listen to different genres. Listen to this one :slight_smile: 周杰倫 Jay Chou【公公偏頭痛 Eunuch with a Headache】Official MV - YouTube
I also felt like I needed to listen to the same audio for a thousand times. But I somehow went through it. Now my listening is not bad. I’m sure your listening will be better soon. =)

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Make yourself watch some English movies without the captions. Sounds to me like you have a habit of using them as a tool, more than a need for them. Every time I watch a movie a second time I catch something I either didn’t notice or forgot about. So if you understand most of the movie, you’re getting about as much as native born English speakers anyway. This is true for even easy-to-understand movies in the action genre because when there is a lot of action we get to focusing on the visuals anyway.


I don’t like reading while listening. I do it when I am a beginner sometimes, which I am in Russian and Chinese, but only because I think it is useful. In German, where I can genuinly understand what I hear, I would never read and listen at the same time.


I wish I had something to compare to, but it’s been so long, so I don’t remember when I had my breakthrough in English, haha. I wish I could listen to the same audio several times, but I get bored to quickly. 4 times of listening through a lesson and I can’t stand it anymore. I come back and check out the lesson again after a few days time.

Great song, though! Very catchy, I must say!

I find when I just listen, my mind is replaying/repeating what I am hearing, but with a very slight delay. If I hit a word I don’t know, I find I’m still saying that word in my mind and will either think of a meaning or push past it. I’m also still flowing with what I am hearing, either way. When I have the text, I find I don’t do any of this - I am just reading and not really listening. I’m not sure that makes sense, however.


It actually does! I’m the same.

This describes me also. Whenever I listen to German content, I always try and avoid using subtitles because as soon as there are subtitles, I just read the subtitles rather than concentrate on the spoken aspect.

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I usually listen to a new lesson with the text first, then listen while reading it, and then I listen without read it. I find that this approach is helpful and would recommend it to anyone.

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Thank you! I’ll try your approach.

Is your question related to English language or to Chinese learning?

Sorry, I might have worded myself poorly. My question is related to English.

Try to challenge yourself by skipping the text while watching movies. Take for example a 90-day challenge, without text.

Ooops I made a minor mistake. I meant to say that the first time I listen to a lesson, I DON"T read the text.