The traps of repeated listening?

Hello, folks!

I have been learning Japanese here at LiingQ and having great fun. This will be my second language, and thus the first time I have ever tried to learn a new language. I have some questions:

  1. I am listening… A LOT. It’s really helping and I’m getting a huge buzz now that I can tell where words begin and end. It’s great. However, I’m constantly translating the words in my head. I’ll hear the words and in my head say the english equivalent – almost to confirm and understand the sentence.

Is this a problem? Is it a natural thing that will eventually go away?

  1. Can you listen too much? I sometimes feel like my mind has gone on auto-pilot. I know what the words mean and now I’m just listening out of habit. Not to diminish the power of listening, it is absolutely the most potent technique I’ve been using with LingQ throughout my language learning.

Do you perhaps recommend not spending too long on one piece of content?

Sorry for all the questions. Thank you for your help!

I definitely find myself lingering on lessons. Starting a new lesson is often a low point, I don’t understand the new vocab, I can’t read the new characters, it’s difficult and frustrating. Wouldn’t it be better to just review the previous lessons again? They’re so familiar and comfortable.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this. Eventually I get tired of repeating the same old thing and get motivated to tackle new lessons. Some new lessons come easier than others.

For your first question, I think that this is quite natural but it will eventually go away. Using the language more (in any way) will help deal with this, but it does take time. I still do it with some things (I am also learning Japanese) but not with others. For example, numbers it something that I tried to get used to early on, at least low numbers which come up a lot, and I did this really simply by just counting my steps in Japanese as I walked. At first, you’ll think of the number in English, then translate it, and then have it in Japanese but the more you do it, the more you can jump straight to the Japanese.

I used to think that if I managed to pass some barrier in the language, then suddenly everything would be fine, but it turns out that isn’t the case. It’s all a gradual process; for some things you won’t need to mentally translate and for others you will for the time being.

As for your second question, I think it depends on how you are listening. I used to just have the radio on while I was working, in my L2, I didn’t really focus on it at all, just had it on. It helped me get used to the sound of the language itself, but it didn’t really help me with my comprehension (or if it did, it was very minimal). I find that I can get more benefit out of focused listening for a short period than a much longer period of unfocused listening. Then the only issue is finding content that is fun to listen to, and I watch a lot of DVDs and things like that to handle that problem.

Hope this helps.

Thanks so much for the responses!

I’ve kept up the listening and decided to move onto a new lesson. I’ll go back to the earlier lessons every now and then (whenevr I want to hear Steve, Tamaki and Ema chat about the differences between English and Japanese again!)

I hate to sound like a walking-talking advert, but I love this site. Expanding vocabulary and ultimately learning a new language is painless when you’re interacting with compelling content.

Thanks again for the replies!