Tina Learns Italian: Listening

I’m learning that it is one thing to drill vocabulary and memorize monologues (both of which are necessary for me, if I want to say anything without reading a script), but it is definitely another thing to understand what natives are saying, even when I know the vocab they are using.

During one of my recent Skype lessons, I could not respond to ANYTHING my teacher said or asked me… unless she wrote it down. Once I read it, I either understood what everything meant, or understood enough to infer what she was saying through context clues… Then I could respond.

Well, if you can’t see the problem there, it’s a big one. How am I supposed to actually speak Italian if I need everything written down to understand it? I can’t. So… here comes my big push for training my ear to hear things correctly (instead of hearing just a bunch of jumbled sounds)… and training my brain to understand what I hear.

So, here’s what I’ve been doing to attempt to remedy this deer-in-the-headlights-whenever-I-hear-something-spoken problem:

  1. Glossika. It’s the same sentences over and over, and I’m focusing on the first 50 right now… but I’m learning which words run together when spoken, and the cadence of the sentences.
  2. My Spotify playlist. It’s small right now, because I’m trying to consciously listen to each song as I add it and don’t want it to just turn into noise again. Once I listen to a song 3+ times, I’ll look up the lyrics, listen while reading the lyrics, then translate the lyrics and listen again…. Then just turn on the playlist and see what I remember when that song plays.
  3. ItalianPod101. I haven’t always been consistent with listening to these, because I usually listen to them while I’m walking my dog, and I haven’t been consistent with THAT either lately, thanks to my schedule, the weather, and getting sick.
  4. News in Slow Italian. I haven’t listened to this podcast in a month or two, but when I was trying to listen previously, I don’t think I had enough vocabulary to keep up with more than 1/4 of what was said, so it was just frustrating. After I record my Day 60 video I’m going to pick this back up.

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