Community Tutor
Listening: how incredibly weird it is.

I should write a blog or something; I seem to enjoy writing things. Though I do ramble a lot.


I have been learning Korean for a short while (6-7 months), I've technically been learning it for a longer time but that was a very rough start. From day one of learning I made a habit of exposing myself to the language (via radio and learning material mainly), but I feel that there is a specific way you should do things. Don't understand? Well I don't either, but let me explain what I'm talking about.


Essentially my listening is rubbish (understatement), so I have trouble listening to Korean speech when I hear it on a podcast or when Korean people actually speak to me. I feel that I am somewhat unable to comprehend much, and that's at my best. When I say my "best," I am talking about how my listening confuses me: it's never consistent; some days my listening is how I mentioned it before, and other days it is worse than that. Some days I have what I like to call a "burnout phase" where my brain refuses to process Korean.


When people are asked how to improve listening, the usual answer is "Do a lot of listening; there are no shortcuts." That's fine. I'm not asking for a shortcut, I'm asking for a way to imrove my listening that works, and "Listen a lot" is kind of vague. A couple of questions pop in to my head:

a) Listen to what?

b) What? Just put on something and listen to it? Or do you do something else as well?


The problem is not that I haven't improved in the last 6-7 months; my problem is that I'm concerned about any future improvement. Also I'm curious about any way to keep that consistency. I have that same problem with speaking and thinking: sometimes I can do it, sometimes I can't. It can make the transition in the space of two minutes.


So let's have a fun discussion here shall we? Do you have problems with listening? If so, do you share my experiences? If you have shared - but no longer share - my experiences, how did you overcome it.

You can tell that this is the first language I'm learning, huh?

Jul 12, 2014 1:09 PM
Comments · 4

Have you tried listening (to dialogues, news, songs...) while reading the transcription? It can help a lot!

July 12, 2014

I think this is an issu attached to the mono-syllabic languages. I didn't have this problem when I was studiying japanese or arabic. I could u derstand as soon as I know the words the speaker uses.

July 12, 2014

Yes I do have similar listening problems with chinese. I can understand if I read a sentece. But the wotds are so short (it's a mono-syllabic language) that when people speak just like they do in TV or in the daily life, I can't understand anything. The words are short, so often very similar. When they say something, I need a laps of time to identify which word is said and it's meaning. But they have already finished a sentence....

I believe the only solution to fix this is to apply to classes with a native speaker as teacher. With the time you'll get used to hear him pronouncing...but it will take time

July 12, 2014

I've been trying to do that a lot lately, but there are two big problems I face with that:

a) They (in the audio) often speak faster than I can read.

b) I have a hard time focusing on both the reading and the listening. I am either focusing on the reading and not the listening, or focusing on the listening but not the reading.


I can still try, right? :P

July 12, 2014