2009年1月18日日曜日

Listening and watching tips

It's only been recently that I've really started watching Japanese for enjoyment. Motivated by other people's efforts on learning through listening, I've begun to watch more Japanese stuff. The following are some helpful tips based on my experiences so far.

Tip #1 - Listen to a lot of Japanese to get good at listening to Japanese
Tobberoth's problem with listening to Japanese. From here:
"My first problem: I simply can't hear what they are saying. They say a line and I hear the Japanese sounds and I hear the particles, I hear some words... but some words just jump into a rumble which I can't really make out. This is probably based a lot on my second problem...
My second problem: I don't know tons of the words used! One could say "that's no problem, just listen to the word and look it up". The problem is, when I don't know a word, I get the above problem: They jumble together. Sometimes I can't tell if it's one or two words. Sometimes I can't tell if it's a long or a short o sound. Usually, I can listen to the sentence a few times and look it up, but then we have the other problem: Japanese is filled with homonyms! Which one did they say? Did they actually say one of them or did I make a mistake on one of the kana??"

My response in this thread was basically "focus on what you do understand and watch a lot". But this idea doesn't seem to be popular with a lot of people. People don't think that listening to raw Japanese without trying to lookup and understand things (dictionary/script) will help your Japanese. I disagree completely.

If you expose yourself to hours of spoken Japanese, things repeat. Words, patterns, accents, all will show up again and again given enough time, common words especially. Words will begin to differentiate simply because hearing them over and over will accustom you to the differences.

Thus, because you have to listen a lot, you can't be worried about trying to understand everything the first time. You have to get used to the idea that you're not going to understand everything. In fact, you'll probably understand very little. But does that mean you should give up and wait until you're better? No. That means listen more. Which leads me to the next tip:

Tip #2 Do not worry about perfection. Perfection is your enemy.
Do not put off watching/listening to something in Japanese because you want to parse it carefully looking up words and wearing out your rewind button.

This is a problem I was having recently. I have a series that I really like. But it turned out that because I really liked it, I avoided watching it. I wanted to try and go through it perfectly really carefully looking up words for understanding.

So don't do what I did and put off watching something cool. Watch it anyway.

Tip #3 Loop Japanese audio, but only interesting audio.
Listening passively to Japanese throughout your day is a great way to get audio input. I look at it as trying to push Japanese into active listening all the time. I'll listen to Japanese all day and try to listen carefully when I have free time or when I hear a certain part coming up. The repetition helps a lot here. Throughout the day you'll hear people say certain phrases or patterns and you basically get to the point where you memorize them, even if it's gibberish. Then you encounter the words somewhere else and make the connection and it's unforgettable.

One thing though, only listen to what you enjoyed listening to the first time. Things that were interesting that you liked. That means don't just download a bunch of audio or rip streams of Japanese and listen to it. There's no point when you haven't listened to it before, you'll just push it out and won't pay attention. But things you enjoyed you'll want to listen to and will naturally actively listen to more.

Tip #4 Use KeyHoleTV for the win.
KeyHoleTV(don't you dare push that English button) is awesome. It's a program that streams live TV to your computer for free. Like I set my favorite Japanese page (read=something I'll actually read) to be my homepage, I set the drama streams going and leave it on my computer all day. Even when I'm not watching it or listening to something else, the program is still on my computer really easy to just hit 'play' to watch. It's become a temptation.

Also, check out this article on how listening a lot, even if you don't understand it, helps.

4 件のコメント:

  1. I agree with everything you've wrote, despite not being able to understand what is being said it does improve your listening ability and mine has already improved in the past month or so and I'm still only at the point were i can only understand some words and the odd sentences which is more than i could a month ago, so it deffinatly helps being able to parse whats being said.

    Oh and thanks for the KeyHoleTV link.

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  2. Took the words right out of my mouth.

    And frankly speaking, half an hour's worth of listening a day has proved to be more beneficial than two hours worth of SRSing everyday. Quite amazing how the most effective things are the simplest to do....

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  3. Interesting. I've gotten used to not understanding everything. And my ability to pick out words has drastically improved.

    But on the keyholeTV thing. Do you really like it? I used it for a while, but it was eventually just a hassle b/c of the poor quality :(

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  4. I just wanted to share you guys some of my very interesting Radio Dramas I put on repeat in my iPod.
    That are those on the OSTs of the anime FLCL. I don't know exact names or which OST it is. But you'll find it if you look around for some FLCL OSTs...
    Those Radio Dramas are hilarious even if you don't understand Japanese! Because I fell in love with them 2 years ago when I spoke no Japanese, and now found them in an old box in my computer, and loved them still! I listen them A LOT on my iPod now!

    Yarrrrrr!

    -Mesqueeb

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