Understanding audio - French

I listen to a lot of French audio, typically an hour of native podcasts each day. This tends to be somewhat formal French e.g. a discussion of politics, or a discourse on the domestication of animals by humans. At first I struggled and discovered that using some Sennheiser earbuds massively helped. These are ‘bright’, in other words higher frequencies are exaggerated, and lower frequencies suppressed. Several months later and I no longer need the earbuds, even the iPad speaker is fine.

I’m now working on more colloquial speech e.g. an Astérix film. I could follow the French subtitles but not the speech. Today I tried the earbuds, and bingo, I can get almost everything. Yes it’s tiring as I have to concentrate but it is doable.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? Can I assume that in 6 months I’ll be able to follow a film without issues using the iPad speakers? Is this specific to French, given that it is so nasal and uses enchaînement? My impression is that German (I am a beginner) is much clearer.


I’m considering this also for Korean. Many K-dramas, and probably other movies too, have background music that makes the speech difficult to discern clearly. Some of my otherwise-favorite YouTubers also use background music. (Why???)

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