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imron

Getting out of a listening rut

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imron
3 hours ago, abcdefg said:

I have pretty much abandoned 听不懂 as a viable method. It often leads to the other party just giving up on that topic and moving on to something else

Sinosplice had a post on this topic here.

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AdamD
On 4/6/2018 at 8:36 AM, AdamD said:

Just first need to make the point that ‘85’ was only one example of hundreds. I expected her to say ‘85’ (八五) and still missed it several times. I also know how ‘85’ sounds here because I’ve been here a few times and listened to a lot of Taiwan Mandarin over the years, and because the Eslite discount is 85% I was even waiting for her to say it.

 

I’ve only just realised this was probably because I was scanning her speech for keywords like ‘85’ instead of simply listening to what she was saying. This was my way of trying to comprehend without actually comprehending (because I couldn’t comprehend, probably because I was always doing this), which is what I would do all the time. That’s obvious to me now.

 

This occurred to me today because I was expecting someone to say 「醬油嗎?」 and he threw me by saying 「辣不辣?」 first. I worked it out quickly this time because a) I know how to ask for more detail now and b) I’m trying to comprehend rather than hope to grab an expected word as it shoots downstream.

 

Also, I now usually know for sure when I hear words I don’t know, and I’m also aware that some topics are simply beyond my vocabulary. Here I’m definitely hitting the next wall, but that’s fine because I’ve just broken through the big thick steel one.

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mouse

It's funny, I've occasionally been asked by non-native English speaking friends to have a look at certain high level English tests, and I find myself doubting my own ability when put on the spot in situations like that. It's almost like this stress wall comes up that draws your attention away from the actual content and instead makes you focus on focusing itself. As this can (admittedly rarely) happen in one's own native language, it's not surprising that it happens in a foreign language. This seems to happen a lot with listening in particular. Relaxing and letting the sounds come to you instead of desperately scrambling your senses for meaning might be one of those meta skills that one picks up along the way.

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Moshen

 

Quote

As this can (admittedly rarely) happen in one's own native language, it's not surprising that it happens in a foreign language.

 

This happens to me a lot when I try to listen to BBC news on public TV in the US.  They have some newscasters who clip their words to such an extent that I have to simply shake my head and change the channel.  Their speech simply does not compute in my brain.

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AdamD
5 hours ago, mouse said:

It's almost like this stress wall comes up that draws your attention away from the actual content and instead makes you focus on focusing itself.

 

Yeah, I think I’ve spent the best part of a decade doing exactly that. I always knew I shouldn’t but I just couldn’t break it.

 

5 hours ago, mouse said:

Relaxing and letting the sounds come to you instead of desperately scrambling your senses for meaning might be one of those meta skills that one picks up along the way.

 

I’ve just come from a night in a bar with some friends. They spoke Chinese 90% of the time. As I drank I noticed it was easier to just absorb what they were saying, then as I drank more and got tired I lost the thread. Still, in that early stage of the night I did notice I wasn’t parsing individual words but subconsciously picking up the gist of what they were saying. As you said, there’s no way I could ever have forced this skill to come into being.

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AdamD

Since I left Taiwan my ability has decreased, which is to be expected as I’m no longer immersed.

 

When I got back last week, the first thing I did was go to a language exchange event, where I spoke to a guy who got visibly annoyed when I couldn’t understand him. For about 20 minutes I thought I’d lost all my progress, but then I realised he was just a super arrogant person who shouldn’t have gone to a language exchange event in the first place.

 

Since then I’ve been forcing myself to do language exchange in lunch breaks and before bed. It’s been uneven, and it’s difficult to get any momentum up when I’m half-asleep and on a crappy line with dropouts, but I now know I can improve by sustaining this, even if it takes months or years. I’m even excited about starting the next voice call, which is huge for an introvert like me.

 

Soon I’ll post a summary of everything I’ve learnt, in the hope I can help others who hit the same wall.

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Flickserve
4 hours ago, AdamD said:

became apparent that I have an autism spectrum disorder. Among a range of frustrating limitations and issues is difficulty with auditory processing. There are days when I’m capable and days when I’m not. There are also weeks and months when I experience what I now know to be shutdown: an inability to function or engage adequately around people, and a cognitive limitation which means even basic social interaction can cause burnout hours or days later.

 

Wow. You get good days week and bad. Impressed at how you kept going with it.

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mungouk

Welcome back @AdamD and thanks for sharing your news.

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roddy

I'll second that.

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