lopsided language abilities

pimlicodude

Senior Member
British English
Hi, do other people here find they have lopsided language abilities? I mean there are four abilities: speaking, understanding (eg films and speech), reading and writing.

In England, foreigners frequently tell me they can understand more English that you would think - their spoken English lags behind their listening comprehension. Poles and Lithuanians I have met say they watch English TV and understand enough to watch soap operas - despite speaking objectively poor English ("I don't can" instead of "I can't", and things like that ).

In my case, I read Russian every day as a hobby. I don't have anyone to speak Russian too, and so my spoken Russian nowhere near matches my reading ability. If I read newspapers I find I can understand every word. Reading literature is something else entirely, as there is a much wider range of vocabulary and reading a real book is not like scanning the news. I can understand audio versions of the books I'm reading quite well - but audiobooks are slower than podcasts and speech - and when I listen to, say, the English Beowulf podcast on Youtube, I find Arno, the Russian speaker there, speaks very fast. I can understand what he says as he puts up subtitles on his videos, but would understand just 50% without them. My written Russian is also littered with mistakes.

I know this is not a satisfactory situation, and will go to Russia one day for several months and attend a one-to-one course there. Is it normal to have reading as your strongest ability in a language?
 
  • Dymn

    Senior Member
    Nowadays I can understand basically everything natives say, but for years the most difficult part of these four abilities was listening. I think it's because I was only exposed to learning materials, which only use basic and formal vocabulary, and speak at a slow pace. Colloquial speech is woefully neglected in most foreign language classes. After enough exposure to English through shows and movies, I definitely improved in my listening skills.

    At the beginning, people usually prefer non-native speakers, because they use easier vocabulary, slower speed and don't show some phonological assimilation processes. At more advanced levels, natives are clearer to understand than some non-natives.

    Whether speaking and writing is difficult or not depends on how strict you and the other person are.

    When I was in Germany I noticed foreigners fell into two categories. Some wanted to ace their sentences and worried too much on their German skills. This meant they spoke painfully slowly, focusing too much on the phrasing and too little on the message, and conveyed an insecure personal image. Some others spoke fluently, and despite getting genders, cases, and word order terribly wrong, they looked confident and got their point across. I think most people fall into the second category because they're first and foremost interested in communication rather than following the rules. I don't know which kind of speaker native Germans preferred to listen to, but I definitely liked the second group the best.
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    Nowadays I can understand basically everything natives say, but for years the most difficult part of these four abilities was listening. I think it's because I was only exposed to learning materials, which only use basic and formal vocabulary, and speak at a slow pace. Colloquial speech is woefully neglected in most foreign language classes. After enough exposure to English through shows and movies, I definitely improved in my listening skills.

    At the beginning, people usually prefer non-native speakers, because they use easier vocabulary, slower speed and don't show some phonological assimilation processes. At more advanced levels, natives are clearer to understand than some non-natives.

    Whether speaking and writing is difficult or not depends on how strict you and the other person are.

    When I was in Germany I noticed foreigners fell into two categories. Some wanted to ace their sentences and worried too much on their German skills. This meant they spoke painfully slowly, focusing too much on the phrasing and too little on the message, and conveyed an insecure personal image. Some others spoke fluently, and despite getting genders, cases, and word order terribly wrong, they looked confident and got their point across. I think most people fall into the second category because they're first and foremost interested in communication rather than following the rules. I don't know which kind of speaker native Germans preferred to listen to, but I definitely liked the second group the best.
    Yes, I see. But there is always the risk of developing "ingrained" mistakes if you go for speed/fluency without paying attention to grammar. I pointed out some East Europeans in England say "don't can" for "can't" - it gets the point across and they can speak more quickly like that - but if that becomes an ingrained habit they can't get over, it will permanently brand their English as substandard. Maybe you need to focus on speaking, but also need a teacher who will correct mistakes as they occur and prevent mistakes from being fixed in your head.

    In the Russian context, I have found myself saying things like буду сделать, instead of сделаю. This results from translating from the English "I will..." Whenever I catch myself saying things like that, I try to say out loud several times я сделаю, я сделаю, я сделаю to hear myself saying it correctly and stop the incorrect version from being imprinted in my mind.
     

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    Sure. "I don't can" is abismally poor English. I guess you need to strike a compromise between fluency and some grammatical correctness. If you make too many mistakes, you're also distracting the hearer away from the message.
     

    AutumnOwl

    Senior Member
    Swedish, Finnish
    Sure. "I don't can" is abismally poor English. I guess you need to strike a compromise between fluency and some grammatical correctness. If you make too many mistakes, you're also distracting the hearer away from the message.
    I work as a medical secretary/transcriptionist at a hospital and hear Swedish spoken by doctors, some are native Swedes; others children of migrants, but have live all or most of their life in Sweden; and others have came to Sweden as adults. The fluency and grammatical correctness differs among them, and it's not only those in the second and third group that makes grammatical mistakes, even native Swedes can't always speak grammatically correct and/or use punctuation correctly. (The younger they are, it seems to me that some Swedes take after/follow the AE/BrE punctuation guidelines instead of the Swedish ones.

    In doing my job, I find it's more important that the speaker has a 'correct' pronounciation of words ('correct' here for me doesn't mean speaking without accent, or sounding Swedish, it's about putting the stress on the right syllable), it makes it easier to transcribe, regardless of the speaker's accent. It's more difficult to transcribe something with lot's of grammar mistakes (we don't have to transcribe the exact word order of the speaker, and we can correct minor grammatical mistakes, to make the text understandable). Many non-native speakers have difficulties with the V2 word order in Swedish, if the verb is in the wrong place a sentence will sound/look "odd".
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    I work as a medical secretary/transcriptionist at a hospital and hear Swedish spoken by doctors, some are native Swedes; others children of migrants, but have live all or most of their life in Sweden; and others have came to Sweden as adults. The fluency and grammatical correctness differs among them, and it's not only those in the second and third group that makes grammatical mistakes, even native Swedes can't always speak grammatically correct and/or use punctuation correctly. (The younger they are, it seems to me that some Swedes take after/follow the AE/BrE punctuation guidelines instead of the Swedish ones.

    In doing my job, I find it's more important that the speaker has a 'correct' pronounciation of words ('correct' here for me doesn't mean speaking without accent, or sounding Swedish, it's about putting the stress on the right syllable), it makes it easier to transcribe, regardless of the speaker's accent. It's more difficult to transcribe something with lot's of grammar mistakes (we don't have to transcribe the exact word order of the speaker, and we can correct minor grammatical mistakes, to make the text understandable). Many non-native speakers have difficulties with the V2 word order in Swedish, if the verb is in the wrong place a sentence will sound/look "odd".
    It's a common misconception that a foreign accent can still be the correct pronunciation. Of course, if you perceive a non-native accent, there is a pronunciation mistake in there. For example, I find Swedish people speaking English nearly always have /s/ where /z/ is required in words like easy and president (it's not eassy, and it's not precedent, which is a different word). But I expect you're right that the word stress helps. By the way, you say you're on the coast of Sweden and Finland. Sweden has the two-pitch accent in "anden" (in one meaning) whereas Finland doesn't. What are the punctuation differences between English and Swedish. I've never heard anything about that.
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    I am not sure if this is the right subforum for this topic.

    My English skills: listening > writing > speaking > reading
    I consider myself to be fluent in English, but there are still so many literary words that I don't know.

    My French skills: reading > writing > speaking > listening
    My listening skills in French are still subpar. I watch the news bulletin every day (well, often just the first minutes) and it is getting better, but it is not 100% intelligible to me the way Dutch and English are. But I am not giving up :cool:
     

    jimquk

    Member
    British English
    I'm the sort of person that can't hear the words of songs, and who struggles to follow conversations in busy crowded places like pubs, although my actual hearing is normal as far as I know.

    No surprise then that my skills in understanding speech in other languages lags woefully behind everything else. Typically, I can express myself fairly well, and with a decent pronunciation (although irritatingly instantly identifiable as English), so that the other person assumes I'm going to understand what they say.....

    French, Spanish, Italian, it's reading first, then writing, speaking, and listening; I can mostly read Portuguese, Catalan, and a good bit of Dutch, but the other skills are entirely absent.

    I can speak a very basic Persian, but reading is still so slow..... on the other hand, I can finger read a little Urdu and even less Arabic, but I couldn't speak to save my life.
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    I recommend listening to foreign languages using earbuds. Listen to stuff that's clearly articulated but at a normal/fast pace. The news is perfect for this, as are podcasts, documentaries (depending on your level) and cartoons for older children.

    It is important to realize that listening is a separate skill. Don't think you can magically understand a language without a lot of practice. Reading a lot will improve your writing skills, but not vice versa. Similarly, listening a lot will improve your speaking skills, but not vice versa. Does reading a lot help with understanding the spoken language? Well, a little bit. If you often come across certain constructs in texts, you will be more likely to pick up on them in the spoken language (compared to other language learners that don't read a lot). But that will only get you so far.

    I can understand spoken English as well as spoken Dutch, so I know it is possible to get good at listening in a foreign language.
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    I'm the sort of person that can't hear the words of songs, and who struggles to follow conversations in busy crowded places like pubs, although my actual hearing is normal as far as I know.

    No surprise then that my skills in understanding speech in other languages lags woefully behind everything else. Typically, I can express myself fairly well, and with a decent pronunciation (although irritatingly instantly identifiable as English), so that the other person assumes I'm going to understand what they say.....

    French, Spanish, Italian, it's reading first, then writing, speaking, and listening; I can mostly read Portuguese, Catalan, and a good bit of Dutch, but the other skills are entirely absent.

    I can speak a very basic Persian, but reading is still so slow..... on the other hand, I can finger read a little Urdu and even less Arabic, but I couldn't speak to save my life.
    I can't always make out the words of English songs either. Is there something indistinct about English-language singing? Russians tell me they can understand Russian songs perfectly. There was the series SS-GB on British TV about what would have happened if the Germans had occupied Britain - and the newspapers were full of complaints about the English dialogue that was so muttered that few people could understand it.... So, no, I can't always understand every single sentence of English films or series either, although it is my native language - if asked to transcribe an entire film, there would be the odd sentences that I couldn't make out.
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    I recommend listening to foreign languages using earbuds. Listen to stuff that's clearly articulated but at a normal/fast pace. The news is perfect for this, as are podcasts, documentaries (depending on your level) and cartoons for older children.

    It is important to realize that listening is a separate skill. Don't think you can magically understand a language without a lot of practice. Reading a lot will improve your writing skills, but not vice versa. Similarly, listening a lot will improve your speaking skills, but not vice versa. Does reading a lot help with understanding the spoken language? Well, a little bit. If you often come across certain constructs in texts, you will be more likely to pick up on them in the spoken language (compared to other language learners that don't read a lot). But that will only get you so far.

    I can understand spoken English as well as spoken Dutch, so I know it is possible to get good at listening in a foreign language.
    Red Arrow, how does your proficiency in English listening comprehension relate to the fact that Dutch is one of the languages most closely related to English? English and Dutch don't really seem that similar at first glance (and I think Swedish is actually closer in the modern day due to the influx of Old Norse words into English), but maybe the links between English and Dutch help? Maybe the intonation is similar or the stress accent? Listening to Russian, they often seem to run words into each other, and it can be difficult sometimes to tell where the stress is on a word, as sometimes the pitch goes down on the stressed syllable and not up, etc. And the large number of sibilant consonants can also make everything seem like a sibilant blur. I wonder if English learners of Dutch ever manage to develop such a good listening comprehension of your language, i.e. the process in reverse?

    Another thing: listening comprehension doesn't develop overnight. You need to keep on listening every day, and over a long period of time, you will notice you're doing better at it.
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    I can't always make out the words of English songs either. Is there something indistinct about English-language singing? Russians tell me they can understand Russian songs perfectly. There was the series SS-GB on British TV about what would have happened if the Germans had occupied Britain - and the newspapers were full of complaints about the English dialogue that was so muttered that few people could understand it.... So, no, I can't always understand every single sentence of English films or series either, although it is my native language - if asked to transcribe an entire film, there would be the odd sentences that I couldn't make out.
    Sorry but these all seem like excuses to me. Let's say your English listening skills are 9/10 (rather than 10/10) and your Russian listening skills are 4/10 or something (just a guess). Then you can still make a lot of improvement. You can't complain that your Russian will never be 10/10 if you haven't even reached 9/10 yet.

    And it's not like you are learning languages only to understand songs.
    Red Arrow, how does your proficiency in English listening comprehension relate to the fact that Dutch is one of the languages most closely related to English? English and Dutch don't really seem that similar at first glance (and I think Swedish is actually closer in the modern day due to the influx of Old Norse words into English), but maybe the links between English and Dutch help? Maybe the intonation is similar or the stress accent? Listening to Russian, they often seem to run words into each other, and it can be difficult sometimes to tell where the stress is on a word, as sometimes the pitch goes down on the stressed syllable and not up, etc. And the large number of sibilant consonants can also make everything seem like a sibilant blur. I wonder if English learners of Dutch ever manage to develop such a good listening comprehension of your language, i.e. the process in reverse?
    Yes, English is definitely a million times easier to understand than French for me. But people all over the world are able to understand English thanks to American media, so my points still stand. All it takes is practice.
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    Sorry but these all seem like excuses to me. Let's say your English listening skills are 9/10 (rather than 10/10) and your Russian listening skills are 4/10 or something (just a guess). Then you can still make a lot of improvement. You can't complain that your Russian will never be 10/10 if you haven't even reached 9/10 yet.

    And it's not like you are learning languages only to understand songs.

    Yes, English is definitely a million times easier to understand than French for me. But people all over the world are able to understand English thanks to American media, so my points still stand. All it takes is practice.
    I'm not sure the American media is a good avenue to listening comprehension of British English, but that's another point really.
     

    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    In the Russian context, I have found myself saying things like буду сделать, instead of сделаю. This results from translating from the English "I will..." Whenever I catch myself saying things like that, I try to say out loud several times я сделаю, я сделаю, я сделаю to hear myself saying it correctly and stop the incorrect version from being imprinted in my mind.
    The concept of perfective and imperfective verbs is a major problem for speakers of English. буду делать is a perfectly correct imperfective verb.
     

    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I have lived in Málaga province for 18 years. I can hold a reasonable conversation one to one with most people. I speak Spanish in my dealings with lawyers, doctors and accountants. I can definitely survive in Spain without speaking English. However, when Spanish people talk to each other I have a job following. I put that down to never having lived or worked with Spanish people. I am though still puzzled why I can understand someone when they address me directly, but have a problem when they turn to speak to another Spaniard.
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    If a foreign accent doesn't distinguish the minimal amount of phonemes in that language, then it's definitely incorrect. For instance, you can't speak French with less than 11 vowel phonemes. If a foreign accent is unintelligible to native speakers, then it is also incorrect. Any other foreign accent is up for debate, I guess.
     
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    Ben Jamin

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I wonder about that. Is accent not more than just correctly articulating the individual sounds?
    There is no scientific definition of accent. People just use it freely to describe a way of speaking that they feel is different than theirs. Some include both articulation of phonemes and intonation, others only one of these. In English accent is often equated with dialect.
     

    Hulalessar

    Senior Member
    English - England
    My point is that accent is not just about the correct articulation of phonemes. Everyone has an individual voice. I am identifiable as me whatever language I speak. My brother is identifiable as my brother whatever language he speaks. We both articulate all the phonemes of English in the same way. There is a difference in the way we speak, but it is not down to phoneme articulation. If that is possible at the level of idiolect it has to be possible at the higher level of accent.
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    If a foreign accent doesn't distinguish the minimal amount of phonemes in that language, then it's definitely incorrect. For instance, you can't speak French with less than 11 vowel phonemes. If a foreign accent is unintelligible to native speakers, then it is also incorrect. Any other foreign accent is up for debate, I guess.
    Well I suppose the previous poster was meaning you can get the consonants and vowels right and still sound foreign if the intonation is wrong? But in that case, it is still wrong. If you can detect the person is not a native speaker, there must be something in the pronunciation and intonation that tells you that. This point is a little obscured by the fact that English is a pluri-centric language. Some foreigners kind of mix-and-match US and UK forms in their pronunciation, in way that seems inauthentic, but where each of the phonemes they use does exist somewhere in the native English world.
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    My point is that accent is not just about the correct articulation of phonemes. Everyone has an individual voice. I am identifiable as me whatever language I speak. My brother is identifiable as my brother whatever language he speaks. We both articulate all the phonemes of English in the same way. There is a difference in the way we speak, but it is not down to phoneme articulation. If that is possible at the level of idiolect it has to be possible at the higher level of accent.
    You mean the timbre of your voice? Well, yes, I can often tell on the phone that the person (e.g. in a call centre) has a native English accent, but is probably of ethnic-minority origin, down to the timbre of the voice. But when people say they articulate every phoneme of a foreign language correctly and are still "clocked" as non-native speakers, it's more likely to be the case that they are overestimating the accuracy of their enunciation of the phonemes. When I speak Russian, in my head it sounds perfect. When I listen to a tape of myself, there is a clear foreign accent. Learners of a language usually overestimate their ability.
     

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    What is "incorrect"? If you can be understood without equivocation, where's the problem?

    There's a case in trying to reduce your foreign accent if you are in an overwhelmingly English-speaking environment (because you want to fit in, which in a way is also wanting to cater to discriminative attitudes). But in an international setting, a slight foreign accent is perfectly okay and trying too hard to sound like a native sounds pretentious and show-offish.
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    What is "incorrect"? If you can be understood without equivocation, where's the problem?

    There's a case in trying to reduce your foreign accent if you are in an overwhelmingly English-speaking environment (because you want to fit in, which in a way is also wanting to cater to discriminative attitudes). But in an international setting, a slight foreign accent is perfectly okay and trying too hard to sound like a native sounds pretentious and show-offish.
    It's incorrect because the pronunciation is incorrect. The fact that you can understand some incorrect pronunciations doesn't mean to say that speaking like a native speaker isn't the Gold Standard in terms of language learning. If a German says "zees is ze sing", I can understand it. But it is totally wrong and should be "this is the thing".

    I think you are trying to justify not trying to learn English well. If you speak with a Catalan accent in English, you didn't learn English well. It's that simple. If I speak Russian with an English accent, then I have not learnt the language as well as I should have. I acknowledge that.

    But note - and this is the important point - as a non-native speaker, a learner of any language lacks "locus standi". If I, as a non-native speaker of Russian, believe that "it is pretentious to try to speak Russian with a native Russian accent", my views are irrelevant. I am not a native speaker, and my views on this don't count. What is important is that Russian native speakers see the difference and they know that poorly pronounced Russian is not "just as good or even preferable". They are the ones who determine this - they are the only ones with locus standi.
     

    jimquk

    Member
    British English
    What is "incorrect"? If you can be understood without equivocation, where's the problem?

    There's a case in trying to reduce your foreign accent if you are in an overwhelmingly English-speaking environment (because you want to fit in, which in a way is also wanting to cater to discriminative attitudes). But in an international setting, a slight foreign accent is perfectly okay and trying too hard to sound like a native sounds pretentious and show-offish.
    It's perfectly okay and acceptable not to have a native-speaker pronunciation; but that doesn't make the non-native pronunciation equivalent to a native one.
    Discriminative attitudes are an unfortunate fact of life; non-native pronunciations, just like non-native grammar or vocabulary, are marked as such. The stronger the markedness, the more it distracts from the message you want to get across. This is not particularly to do with English, it applies to any language.
    In an international setting, where perhaps no-one is a native-speaker of English, (or more likely the monoglot Anglophones isolate themselves by not accommodating themselves to those with English as a second language) there is more of a level playing field, and "Globish" can run free.
     

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    It's incorrect because the pronunciation is incorrect.
    That's a wonderful circular argument.

    The fact that you can understand some incorrect pronunciations doesn't mean to say that speaking like a native speaker isn't the Gold Standard in terms of language learning.
    It's usually a good rule of thumb to try to mimic natives as much as possible but you must be aware it's basically impossible to achieve a native accent past a certain age, to the point most foreign-language speakers don't care about that.

    But it is totally wrong and should be "this is the thing".
    "Zees is ze sing" is definitely not incorrect in the same way 2+2=5 is incorrect.

    They are the ones who determine this - they are the only ones with locus standi.
    I draw a line between moving to a country and trying to fit in, and learning a language for its value as a lingua franca.

    And since English is often learned because of its function as a global lingua franca, and not specifically to connect with the Anglosphere, in an international setting there's nothing "wrong" in having a foreignish accent as long as it's easily understandable.

    If the 5% of the world's population who have English as a mother tongue are in such excruciating pain because of the accents of the other 95%, it's their problem.

    The stronger the markedness
    Some native accents are much more marked than non-native ones though. I'm not sure among natives of the US for example, but a slight Scandinavian, Dutch or German accent is definitely more comprehensible to me than Scottish or NZ English.
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    And since English is often learned because of its function as a global lingua franca, and not specifically to connect with the Anglosphere, in an international setting there's nothing "wrong" in having a foreignish accent as long as it's easily understandable.

    If the 5% of the world's population who have English as a mother tongue are in such excruciating pain because of the accents of the other 95%, it's their problem.


    Some native accents are much more marked than non-native ones though. I'm not sure among natives of the US for example, but a slight Scandinavian, Dutch or German accent is definitely more comprehensible to me than Scottish or NZ English.
    If you mean that functionality-wise poorly learnt English can enable people in far-flung areas of the globe to communicate with each other, then I agree. But I don't know why anyone would set out to learn a language badly. If there are such people and they are content, then good luck to them. Someone saying "zees is ze sing" can probably make himself understood to another L2 learner, and yes, some L2 speakers are reasonably fluent in bad English.

    If that suits them, then fine, but "zees is ze sing" will never be good English, even if they think it is. What counts as good English is a conversation among native speakers (who will differ - and yes, there will be some who will accept "zees is ze sing"), but L2 learners aren't even in the conversation. I will not sit there speaking to a Russian telling him- yes, telling him in a haughty and peremptory voice - that poor foreigners' Russian, with no hard/soft consonant contrasts, incorrect conjugation and declension, is just as good as the real thing, simply because L2 speakers of Russian can make themselves understood to other L2 speakers via poor Russian. I think it is matter of respect.

    I agree that some native accents are difficult. I think a foreign learner should aim to imitate a less "marked" native accent. E.g. if you're Catalan and set out to learn English with a "broad Scots" accent, that would have "novelty value" - people might think you were joking when you spoke, and would struggle to believe you set out to copy that. There are a few broadly accepted accents including General American, RP and some others.
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    I have been listening a bit to French every day since last autumn, and while my listening skills have always fluctuated (with overall a positive trend), I feel like I had a major breakthrough in the last few days.

    My progress isn't linear in the slightest.
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    I have been listening a bit to French every day since last autumn, and while my listening skills have always fluctuated (with overall a positive trend), I feel like I had a major breakthrough in the last few days.

    My progress isn't linear in the slightest.
    That's wonderful. Do you use podcasts with transcriptions, so you can check what you're hearing, or do you use audio sources without transcription?
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    Podcasts and cartoons without subtitles, the news first without subtitles and then a second time with subtitles (and if I am really in the right mood, a third time without subtitles again).

    I try to use subtitles sparsely. I can literally listen to something with subtitles for years without ever improving my listening skills. Not understanding every word perfectly is a small price to pay. The alternative is no progress at all. (I use reading to boost my vocabulary)
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    Podcasts and cartoons without subtitles, the news first without subtitles and then a second time with subtitles (and if I am really in the right mood, a third time without subtitles again).

    I try to use subtitles sparsely. I can literally listen to something with subtitles for years without ever improving my listening skills. Not understanding every word perfectly is a small price to pay. The alternative is no progress at all.
    I think if you don't understand what you're listening to, then you will need a transcription, but you need to listen to plenty of stuff that doesn't have a transcription either - and it doesn't matter if you don't understand everything, it's still training your ear.
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    From my own experience, I can tell you that if you can fluently read a language but are terrible at listening, then transcripts won't help you at all. On the contrary. Listening to a podcast with a transcript is a reading excercice disguised as a listening excercice.

    I understand that it might feel useless to listen to things you can't understand, but if you can already read fluently, then you just have to trust the process.

    Toddlers don't get transcripts either when their parents talk :D The way my 2 year old niece is currently learning Dutch reminds me a bit of how I am learning French.
     

    pimlicodude

    Senior Member
    British English
    From my own experience, I can tell you that if you can fluently read a language but are terrible at listening, then transcripts won't help you at all. On the contrary. Listening to a podcast with a transcript is a reading excercice disguised as a listening excercice.

    I understand that it might feel useless to things you can't understand, but if you can already read fluently, then you just have to trust the process.

    Toddlers don't get transcripts either when their parents talk :D The way my 2 year old niece is currently learning Dutch reminds me a bit of how I am learning French.
    sp: exercise
     
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