What are your strategies for playback speed?

I’m curious how people use the playback speed in their language learning

So my reading comprehension is good on my current lesson (and I’m still on beginner one content), but then when I listen to it at full speed I find it hard to follow

I wonder if it’s better to stay at the full speed to get used to it, or if I should start at a low speed and build up as I get more comfortable

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its kind of just the saying if your not good at that means you need to do it more. you just got a listen at full speed. you might think your doing yourself good by slowing it down but your just delaying your ability to understand everything. When i started with portuguese it was terrible but now i understand everything 3 years later. I used to listen all day and forced myself not to listen to anything in english during the daytime.

Also idk what language your learning but there should be tons of beginner content on here! Normally they speak super slower. So just put in the hours and youll eventually understand everything.


I don’t listen to content on reduced playback speed. I usually listen on normal speed.

For the Mini Stories and other beginner content, when I became familiar with the stories (like 5x+ listens), I’d listen to them on increased speed. Whether it was 1.1x or 2x, depended on my confidence with the exact story, how slow the initial content was (beginner content is often slow), what I was doing at the same time as listening, etc.

When I get a little bit better with Italian, I’ll increase the playback speed for native content on the first time too. (I listen to English content on fast speed, so that’s my aim with Italian too.)


1.0x only for me

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When the full speed is hard to follow I tend to try:

  • keep 1.0x speed and stop the audio frequently so that my brain has a chance to catch up
  • keep 1.0x speed and listen to the same text repeatedly while gradually understanding more bits and pieces
  • use auto text to speach first (depending on how good this seems to work in my target language), and then listen at 1.0x speed
  • 0.9x speed (I rarely go below that - since it does often sound less natural)

When the texts get easier I like to vary the speed, e.g.

  • to use higher speeds to challange myself
  • often this creates a condition of high focus (I need to focus intensly to understand)
  • to get used to higher speeds since native speaker might also talk faster sometimes (at advanced level I would like to be able to sometimes listen faster than natives are usually speaking)
  • to safe time (e.g. to be able to listen to more content)
  • to keep myself interested, when the content is relatively easy to understand

Only 1.0x for me in this case. I only found certain benefits beyond 1.0x but never when it’s slower

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I generally stick with 1.0x, maybe I will move on to faster in the future. There are cases where I do use .9x in Japanese, as for whatever reason some of the Japanese mini stories seem much faster than others, and faster than natives typically speak, so it is actually more of me trying to return the audio to a natural pace rather than trying to slow down the pace.

I would say not worrying about low listening comprehension, it is the norm for a beginner to have much poorer comprehension while listening.

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I haven’t ever given it much thought until now. Most of my life as language learner I haven’t really had the option to change playback speed, and would rather listen to the same thing over and over till I could understand. But it’s nice to see people have so many thoughts and strategies about it.

Anyway I don’t think slowing playback speed a little could do much harm. I mean, if it’s really hard for you to follow that may discourage you, and that’s one thing you really don’t want. I’m sure that even if you start at a lower speed, later on you’ll be able to understand things at normal speed if you increase the playback little by little as you advance.

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