Listening Strategies

Hi everyone,

Doing my best to come up with most efficient and effective strategies across all facets of Chinese. Listening will be the most important by far skill to develop, as reading is more a function of vocab, and exposure (and there are not THAT many grammar points). So for me, reading is relatively easy to systematize and excel.

Right now, I plan on doing a lot of Chinese Pod. And kind of muscle through it.
However, do you do anything specific to 1) deal with homonyms? (do you make an Anki card deck with example sentences with homonyms… for example. 2) do you target non noun words (all other parts of speech are very finite compared to nouns) and try to perfect the usage of these for example by making SPEAKING ANKI cards (english on one side, and you have to say the whole sentence in Chinese) with prepositions or other functional words/phrases (for example having a few sentences with a bu dan er qie construction). Getting these “glue” words/phrases perfected/become second nature so that the other nouns “pop” easier.

Or do you do anything specifically creative? What are a few different strategies you focus on? Be it speaking, reviewing a script and then listening to an audio, having success with a specific app/resource…etc. Since Chinese is an objectively hard language to listen to probably mostly due to homonyms, it would be interesting to hear a language learners adjustments to Chinese…that might not be necessary for learning another language in the realm of listening…

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Listening is a lot about putting in the minutes, hours and days, although understanding more of what you’re listening to is generally better.

I have never tried to deal with homonyms explicitly. Just listen more. It takes an awful amount of time to get your deck set up, going through it, fixing things, figuring out what to add, how to add it etc. You’re much better of spending all that time listening. Homophones will resolve themselves.

I’m not sure what you mean by words other than nouns being “finite”, but I have rarely added cards for speaking at all. My strategy has always been to read and listen a lot, then let writing and speaking emerge from that. Also, your question seems to be about listening, so if that’s what you’re asking about, studying the “glue words” separately is good as it allows you to get the structure of the sentence more easily.

When it comes to other strategies, I wrote a whole series of articles about that, starting with this one:

Agree with SkritterOlle, listen listen listen is the best way to spend time, over compiling analytical lists.

Within a spoken sentence or conversation, it’s actually not that common for homophones to be a problem, because the context is there to identify which one is being used.

(Although I always enjoy when native speakers do become confused, and the correct characters are expressed, in invisible ink, with one of the conversationalists writing on the palm of their hand with their finger, and holding it up to show the blank palm to the other person.)

Thank you Olle for an excellent link on listening strategies.

Cool - I will definitely looking into “Learning Chinese through Stories” - an obvious Leader is Chinese Pod. (had to edit this post, just read your review for Chinese Pod). At least these two appear to be organized in such a way that complements your “scaffolding” technique pretty nicely. And they are relatively “centralized” so it gives you the opportunity to be systematic with your progress. Appears to be a great couple resources.
However, the paid resources appear to be a bit “better.” I noticed you didn’t top ten your paid listening resources.

Is there any way you can do a top 5 at least for paid listening resources that are structured enough for beginner to intermediates that sort of jive with your listening optimization suggestions? Maybe they’re not just “apps”…

I2 (your term in your article for listening slightly above your level) and active listening appear can be helped out (in the beginning especially) a lot with resources that organize and tier their information appropriately and have quality information.

Passive listening is a little abstract but your methods to make passive a little more active is a very good specific instruction.

Quantity of times hearing a word in different contexts should in theory increase it’s processing speed. That probably really gets to the nuts and bolts of the issue with listening.

By “finite” I just meant if you look at a frequency dictionary nouns make up a huge percentage, while the other words make up a tiny percentage. But it’s these other words that really structure the language.

I think pretty good intervention on my way to getting off on the right foot…

Thanks for your reply!.. More like Scritter Magnus Carlsen over here…!

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