When it comes to listening comprehension, is it better to study widely or deeply?

April 10, 2015, 03:45 AM posted in General Discussion

What do you guys think? Is it more productive to study widely, consuming as much listening material as possible, or deeply, listening to the same dialogue over and over until it's ingrained in your subconcious?

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April 10, 2015, 06:59 AM

I would say deeply. Im new to chinese pod so just to check out whats here I have been listening widely and noticed it doesnt really stick. Before when I was using pimsleur I would listen to the same track multiple times and that stuff has yet to slip from my memory. Honestly though it really boils down to what works for you, as everyone learns differently I think. Peace.

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I would say do both.  Newbies should have a bias toward "listening deeply" (or "drilling") , and as one advances it inevitably becomes better to increase the portion of time devoted to "listening widely."  However, even for a Newbie I would say at the same time that one might be concentrating on selected ChinesePod lessons (playing the same dialog sentences over and over, for example, and working through the exercises) there is no reason one should not also enjoy listening relatively passively to many other Newbie (and above) lessons to get more listening practice.   The nice thing about CPod is that there is so much content at each level.   I would recommend sticking to your current level most of the time, but reserving a little time for material that is "too hard" or "too easy" also.  

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This is some good advice. I'm in transition stage right now (Ele>Int) and I find I just can't do it cold turkey. So I've been trying to go topic by topic, exhausting all the Ele lessons first on a particular topic and then doing the Int lessons.

I tend to "drill" mostly on CPod, because each line of dialogue is offered in so many different ways, but I also do more passive listening with other sites like Fluent U and YouTube.

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April 12, 2015, 03:41 AM

I would say initially until about upper-intermediate you should listen deeply. I think its important to have internalized structure that you pick up through deep listening (where you listen to dialogues over and over again).


But once you get past that, its better to expand your listening (which is what I have shifted towards). At that point you want to vary the Chinese you listen to and expose yourself to (oral as well as more formal, professional language).

What I've struggled with is how to create a more advanced learning plan that can help me continue to progress my language skills into a higher level from upper intermediate. The deep listening for me doesn't work as well for me anymore.