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Focusing on input: Listening

When you first listen to new content, not only you need to get used to the sounds, but also to get a sense for the rhythm.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand all of it. Listen a few times without reading the text or script. 

Then read the text carefully, look up new words in a dictionary, and save new words and phrases to a list for later review.

Even after you basically understand a certain text, you need to listen, over and over, to make this content part of your subconscious. You may have to read the text again and you will certainly review the new words and phrases many times. But mostly you should listen.

Especially in the early stages, focus on a small amount of content and get used to it, rather than trying to listen to constantly changing content.

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By listening to the same content repeatedly you will get better at hearing where one word or phrase ends and the next one begins. 

You will also start to recognize familiar words when you listen to new content. Let the phrases ring in your mind even after you stop listening.

Repeat certain phrases out loud. Try to imitate the correct pronunciation.

Repetitive listening is like physical training. You are training your mind to process the new language. Short, frequent listening sessions can be better than fewer longer sessions. 

Try to listen for one hour a day, broken into short segments of ten to thirty minutes at a time.

Modern audiovisual learning materials such as computer assisted interactive games or other tests and quizzes create artificial learning environments. 

Most people don’t enjoy being tested on their comprehension of what they are listening to. 

People naturally resist questions that force them to try to remember what they hear. It’s preferred to listen again, or to listen to new material, or to engage in a general conversation on the subject of your listening. 

Natural communication is a more effective way to learn.

Listening is real communication. When you are listening, you are absorbed in a pure language environment. 

You have to use the sounds of the language to imagine the meaning. 

Repetitive listening is an ideal learning environment, as long as you choose content of interest to you, content that you want to understand. 

You should build up an ever-expanding library of such material as part of a lifelong language learning strategy.

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