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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.