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imron

Getting out of a listening rut

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imron
it's just that my experience has been that what you are calling passive listening is just not helpful

Which is exactly what we have been saying too!  But people still do it.

 

I would also agree with Flickserve that what you call active listening, I would call studying.  These are the rough definitions I'd go by (and what I meant in my previous posts about passive/active listening).

 

Passive Listening - You can hear it, but listening to it isn't your current mental focus.

Active Listening - You are listening and paying attention to something, and can understand most of it.

Studying - You are actively listening to something, checking transcripts, looking up unknown words, creating flashcards etc.

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eddyf

Here's something interesting - I am evesdropping on my wife's phone conversation with a work colleague and I can understand 70-80%. Yet, for a china drama, I am dependent on subtitles and a quick reference to Pleco. Perhaps she is using more 南方式普通話.

I think there's more going on here than just what kind of 普通话 it is. Unscripted conversation is inherently easier to follow than the scripted dialogue in movies and TV. In unscripted conversation, people have to stop and think. They repeat and correct themselves and use filler words and say things in a redundant way. But in scripted dialogue, everyone can always think of the perfect thing to say all the time. It's much more snappy and pithy and there are hardly any filler words or self correction. So naturally it's harder to keep up. How hard do you find it to understand unscripted talk shows like 锵锵三人行? It should be easier than dramas.

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Flickserve

Thanks. I was unaware of the differences. I have not watched many unscripted shows.

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laurenth

Time and again I've whined in these forums about how hard it was for me to reach a decent listening comprehension level. Though listening has always come second (after reading) and taking account of the fact that I don't live in a Chinese-speaking environment, I have worked quite a lot over the years, using a variety of methods and resources, often for extended period of time: e.g. Chinesepod, ChineseLearnOnLine, Slow Chinese, WorkAudioBook, edX, etc. Now I've started working with the new edition of  "Intermediate Chinese Listening/终极汉语听力", after having read Roddy's write-up about the first edition.

 

To give an idea of the regularity of my work, since 1st December 2015, as recorded by Goal Tracker (Android app), I've done some intensive listening exercises (listen, loop, transcribe, check transcript, check vocab, listen again…) on 90 /134 days, which is not ideal, but not bad either. All the more so when you consider that on most other days, I've also practiced listening, though in a more extensive/passive (aka "distracted") way.

 

To give an idea of my level: in June 2013, almost three years ago, after passing the HSK 4, I did three mock HSK 5 tests, 听力 part, and had an average result of 23.66/45, i.e. 10.51/20.  This week, I took the first HSK 5 mock test included in "Intermediate Chinese Listening/终极汉语听力" and scored a paltry 9/20.

 

However,  I'm not here to complain but to report some progress. Ha!

 

It seems my listening comprehension hasn't improved because, when I listen to the radio or a podcast, on first hearing, more often than not, I don't understand much at all. Let's say 5% - very rough estimate obviously.

 

But something has changed: when I sit down and actually do the hard work of listening intensively, transcribing, looping, etc., e.g. using a popular science podcast I like, 原来是这样?, I'm able to transcribe and understand much much more, say 80/90 %, i.e. more than enough to enjoy the show. And there's no transcript to help me.

 

For the first time, there's some sense of progress, though it's not very obvious (yet?). And I have the feeling I'm doing the right kind of exercises.

 

So my hope is that, even though it seems I don't progress much, there's some underground work going on, and that more hard work will finally result in more immediate listening comprehension. But, boy, is is slow in coming!

 

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Flickserve

@Laurenth,

How did you get the book?

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Flickserve

Through Amazon

may I ask which store? There's quite a disparity in price.

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AdamD

For the first time, there's some sense of progress, though it's not very obvious (yet?).

This is wonderful. If you keep doing what you're doing, s mix of skill and confidence should kick you up to the next level.

even though it seems I don't progress much, there's some underground work going on

There definitely is. It can take a particular trigger to kick all your learning into gear, but the head of steam does build up. When this head of steam builds for months or years, you can really believe there's nothing happening (as I did late last year), and after years of hard work it's demoralising.

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laurenth

@FlickServe Sorry, my mistake. In fact I purchased them from Cypress Books. Prices are comparable though. They may be cheaper if you order them from Elina.

 

@AdamD, thanks for the encouragement. This whole thread has been very useful, thanks for starting it and giving feedback about your experience.

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imron

Thanks for the update and congratulations for breaking through the plateau you were on.

 

There will be more plateaus in the future, but at least now you know how to conquer them, and have personal experience doing so.

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AdamD

Cheers! Thanks for all your help and encouragement too.

 

I'll certainly know how to conquer future plateaus (and I'll know that I can), but more importantly I've found a foothold in comprehending speech. For years my biggest setback was that I couldn't get any sort of grip on listening at all — it was like trying to clutch a metal pole covered in Vaseline. When you're that far away from listening proficiency, every experience is devastating.

 
Now that I've got a grip, I'm smashing it daily until I understand speech without effort, by which time it'll be part of my daily routine anyway.

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Flickserve

@AdamD

Was looking back at your posts. I think there is one significant aspect you missed in your summary. You actually took a trip into Taiwan and forced yourself into an immersive environment. This must have made a significant contribution to your listening skills.

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DanielG
On 5.4.2016 at 5:15 AM, imron said:

 

Passive Listening - You can hear it, but listening to it isn't your current mental focus.

Active Listening - You are listening and paying attention to something, and can understand most of it.

 

When I use these two terms I mean something a bit different.  Active listening is when I am engaged in, and involved in what I am hearing  For example, when I am in a conversation, and I need to be able to respond appropriately to what is said, or when I am taking a test and need to be able to answer comprehension questions about it.  Passive listening is when I am simply consuming the material and nothing further is required of me.   I think the difference is that with the former, you are more likely to retain the content.

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mackie1402

This is one of the best native listening resources I've come across. Just stuck it on and I actually enjoy listening to it! Great! I'll definitely be exploring that website more.

 

On ‎4‎/‎8‎/‎2016 at 9:42 PM, laurenth said:

But something has changed: when I sit down and actually do the hard work of listening intensively, transcribing, looping, etc., e.g. using a popular science podcast I like, 原来是这样?,

 

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robprobyn

I am actively listening to two types of material:

 

(i) material designed for learning Chinese, with transcripts (in particular ChinesePod lessons, The Chairman's Bao and Just Learn Chinese, specifically this short story: http://justlearnchinese.com/chinese-online-short-story-罪恶有痕-trace-of-sin-1-intermediate-to-advanced/); and

 

(ii) material not specifically designed for Chinese, but which is useful and interesting (in particular, 锵锵三人行 and 原来是这样). 

 

The latter is obviously more interesting and more encouraging; but I'm not sure I'm understanding enough of it (probably only c.30%) to make it worthwhile spending a lot of time using these resources, in particular if they don't have transcripts.  On this, I can find transcripts for 锵锵三人行 but not for 原来是这样 - if there are transcripts for 原来是这样, any advice on how to find them would be much appreciated.

 

Thanks

 

Rob

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Publius

Had a sampling of 原来是这样. OMG they're talking quantum physics, lol. Hard to follow even in one's native tongue, isn't it?

 

19 minutes ago, robprobyn said:

I can find transcripts for 锵锵三人行 but not for 原来是这样 - if there are transcripts for 原来是这样, any advice on how to find them would be much appreciated.

Why not try and do the transcription yourself. It's arguably the most effective way to improve listening comprehension. Exhausting sure but extremely effective, I guarantee ya.

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AdamD
On 17/01/2017 at 3:58 PM, Flickserve said:

Was looking back at your posts. I think there is one significant aspect you missed in your summary. You actually took a trip into Taiwan and forced yourself into an immersive environment. This must have made a significant contribution to your listening skills.

 

The trip was proof that my listening had improved, but I don't think the trip itself did much to improve my ability. I learned a lot of new words though.

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Mati1

Thanks for reminding me of http://justlearnchinese.com . I had seen it before but wasn't much in the mood for reading and listening to web material back then. The page has more content now and I will use it, at least the short stories, which start with the beginner level and go up to "Intermediate to Advanced". Great resource.

 

"原来是这样" sounds interesting. I'll try listening to it more seriously once I reach a decent level. A transcript would definetely help.

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baihua

I feel I've hit a very low ceiling on my listening ability and I've taken a lot of heart from some of the points on here, especially how difficult it is being perceived as being unable to communicate in what seems a rather reasonable range given my vocabulary and the fact that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It's the number one inhibitor stopping me from raising my speaking level in any significant way :conf

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