Déjà vu all over again – the power of repetitive listening in language learning.
I was reading some intermediate Russian content that I had not looked at for years. It was great. I could still hear the phrases, that at that time had been a mystery to me. Now they were clear, and sort of reinforced my sense of the structure of the language. I had a great sense of satisfaction. This is just another benefit of repetitive listening in the early stages.
For the first few months into a language, my main activity is listening, and repetitively listening to the same content. I listen a lot, at least an hour a day, so I do listen to quite a range. From listening as much as 20 times to the very beginner material, I progress to listening 5-10 times to more intermediate content. Many language learners tell me that they do not have the patience to do this, either because they do not like listening to content that they do not fully understand, or because they find repetitive listening boring.
I do not find that. As long as I do not fully understand, I am motivated to listen again. I prefer doing this to trying to learn grammar rules, most of which I cannot remember or use.
The benefits of this approach are two fold.
1) While you are doing this repetitive listening, you start to hear certain phrases running in your brain, even though much of the content is still very fuzzy. This starts to build up vocabulary, when combined with reading and some Flash Card work.
2) Much later, perhaps years later, when you read this material again, you will find a new level of understanding and a new grasp on grammar, as you read phrases that you did not understand at the time, but which now are still ringing in your brain as you read.
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