Check out our updated Community
How long did it take you to listen to the radio in your target language?

I'm at the point where I am somewhat comfortable watching films in my target language after a year, but without the visual aids I'm just finding myself picking out words or a few sentences on the radio. I wonder if listening to the radio is a worthwhile excercise, but hey it can't hurt right? 

Feb 25, 2015 8:34 PM
Comments · 3

For English, it took me quite a while. When I was younger I struggled a lot trying to understand the pronounciation and the idioms.

For French, it took me only a few months thanks to the similarities in lexicon with the italian language and thanks to the fact that I have a good understanding of the french phonetics.

For Russian, I am in your exact situation: after a year of study, or so, I am able to get fragments or, occasionally, full, but short, sentences. And I know that ahead of me lies a huge amount of work for improving my vocabulary and grammar, because I don't think that in this case the pronounciation represents a big hurdle (or the main problem).

If you're having troubles understanding standard italian, maybe your problem lies in an insufficient knowledge of grammar and lexicon rather than in an inability to hear the sounds of the language.

All in all, I think it's worthwhile exercise or opportunity to keep in contact with your target language.

February 25, 2015

I had a similar problem when I was learning English. Spoken English was just like a continuous flow of sounds, I couldn't understand a word. But I found it very useful to listen to special slow English podcasts, where it was spoken slowly and clearly. I also tried to have a precise transcript of the podcast on the screen. That way I could connect what I was hearing with the words I was looking at. I started to distinguish more and more words in the flow. Step by step I reached the point when I was able to understand almost everything I heard on the radio.

There are similar slow audio (and even video) podcasts in other languages. In Italian, it's probably Italianpod or Lingq, Dolce meta and Tempo di caffe. Yabla videos might also be useful. 

Interestingly enough, it is still easier for me to understand what is being said on the radio than in the movies. Maybe, if I fully concentrate on using one sense (hearing), it helps me. And I guess that the language they use on the radio is often a bit easier to grasp. The pronunciation is often better precisely because they have no other means to help the listener understand them. So you will probably be able to get what they say on the radio quite soon :) 

February 25, 2015

I use that method on an infrequent basis, mostly because I find it rather frustrating. "Foreign" radio is reduced to annoying background noise when you don't understand it! My brother said that listening to radio helped him, though, so I sometimes get back into it with a vengeance. I think it helps, but I imagine it takes time and is only supplemental to learning a language. Good luck!

February 25, 2015
Language Skills
English, Italian, Russian, Spanish
Learning Language
Italian, Russian, Spanish