Does shadowing improve listening?

General discussion about learning languages

Does shadowing improve listening?

yes
19
86%
no
3
14%
 
Total votes: 22

s_allard
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Languages: French (N), English (N), Spanish (C2 Cert.), German (B2 Cert)
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Re: Does shadowing improve listening?

Postby s_allard » Wed Nov 29, 2023 10:54 am

Iversen wrote:Listening while reading the text (from a complete and faithful transcription, I hope) would for me be the perfect way to do listening training, but adding your own lamentable babbling on top of that would be overkill (or just 'kill :mrgreen:). Of course the final goal is to be able to dispense with the text and just listen, and beyond that the ability to understand lousy recordings without help, but knowing exactly what you are suppose to hear can't from my perspective be a bad thing.

Contrary to Arguelles I'm quite worried about the negative effect of speaking yourself at the same time, so I would prefer listening and reading followed by echoing (not chorusing, please) - and this should be repeated a couple of times for each short snippet to get the sounds right. And in principle it might be useful then to have a qualified native speaker to evaluate the result, but personally I would prefer working on my own as much as possible. Constant interference from a teacher is at best a nuisance, at worst hell on earth, but once you think you have reached your goal in your own opinion, a qualified opinion from a pronunciation expert may tell you exactly how and why you haven't - and THEN you can do the necessary corrections.

The main problem has hitherto been to get sufficiently loyal transcriptions of clearly spoken speech (or simple plain readings without the usual histrionics), but technology may solve that problem for us.


I have to first admit that I didn’t always understand here the fine distinctions between the forms of shadowing, echoing and chorusing. The common thread appears to be repeating aloud the sounds of a recording with a – to be determined – variable amount of delay.

It seems to me that this is all useful as a form of speaking practice. But the other part of the OP’s question is how useful is this for listening comprehension. This is where iversen’s post is in my opinion very important. As he points out, what really makes a big difference in understanding is access to really accurate transcripts of recordings of the target speech samples. Subtitles of Youtube videos are useful but they are often inaccurate.

What I believe is really efficient for comprehension is a transcript with translation plus technical commentary or explanations of what is being said. I have seen this done for French whereby the teacher highlights things to look for and points of interest from a linguistic perspective such as pronunciation, grammar and of course vocabulary. This is particularly useful for spontaneous informal speaking where all sorts of non-standard things happen.

As for shadowing – in whatever manner – this material, it would seem to me useful obviously for pronunciation practice. How useful this is for actual listening comprehension, I’m not so sure. Just repeated listening with a good transcript, a good translation and access to some resource such as a tutor for explanations will do a great job.
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