How efficient are TV shows for improving listening comprehension?

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NoManches
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How efficient are TV shows for improving listening comprehension?

Postby NoManches » Mon Apr 25, 2016 2:44 pm

A few people pointed out in one of my older posts that TV in foreign languages is not as efficient for improving listening comprehension as one would think.

I keep trying to plow through TV shows because I want to develop "native like listening skills", but it is incredibly hard. If I turn on the subtitles I end up reading and not listening. If I just try to listen I miss out on a bunch of what is going on. Then, I end up thinking about other things and not concentrating.

One thing I noticed is that even with subtitles on I have to stop a lot to look up slang words (note: this is only true for the show I'm watching now: " El Cartel". Other shows I can read a long and understand 90% of what is happening...this show is just really hard)

I have found that YouTube videos from "famous" Mexican YouTubers are much easier for me to understand and follow along.


Does anybody have input on this? Do you use TV shows or is that for when I'm super advanced (C1-C2 level).


If YouTube videos are at least comprehensible input it makes sense to watch them, but how will I ever develop my listening to watch TV shows if I don't watch them until later in the game?
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Re: How efficient are TV shows for improving listening comprehension?

Postby alexraasch » Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:20 pm

I can only speak from my own experience but for me TV shows have always been very beneficial. I do recommend however that you need at least a B1-B2 level to get anything out of it. Also, I use recordings of TV shows so that I can go back and forth if I don't understand something and I do use a dictionary when watching. Live TV is ok once you have achieved basic fluency. So, yeah, TV is definitely something I would recommend.
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Re: How efficient are TV shows for improving listening comprehension?

Postby Marah » Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:25 pm

TV shows and TV series are in my experience much more difficult to understand than Youtube videos. I agree with you on that. I remember that a few years ago it was still somewhat difficult for me to watch certain tv series without subtitles even though I already had a high level, paradoxically I could understand YouTube videos and documentaries and whatnot almost perfectly. I kept at it and after a few series I was getting better.

They're the kind of n + 1 difficulty that is great when you are indeed C1 or C2 but that doesn't mean that you should avoid them if you're not there yet because they're fun, they keep you interested in the language, etc.

But if you just want to pratice your listening skills working with videos and news is probably more time effective at first when you're still on the A or B range of the CEFR scale. Your main concern should be increasing your vocabulary imo.
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Re: How efficient are TV shows for improving listening comprehension?

Postby NoManches » Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:31 pm

Marah wrote:TV shows and TV series are in my experience much more difficult to understand than Youtube videos. I agree with you on that. I remember that a few years ago it was still somewhat difficult for me to watch certain tv series without subtitles even though I already had a high level, paradoxically I could understand YouTube videos and documentaries and whatnot almost perfectly. I kept at it and after a few series I was getting better.

They're the kind of n + 1 difficulty that is great when you are indeed C1 or C2 but that doesn't mean that you should avoid them if you're not there yet because they're fun, they keep you interested in the language, etc.

But if you just want to pratice your listening skills working with videos and news is probably more time effective at first when you're still on the A or B range of the CEFR scale. Your main concern should be increasing your vocabulary imo.



Yes! YouTube and documentaries are much easier than TV shows. I would say I'm a B2, very close to being a C1. But, based on what alexraash just said maybe I should be concerned that I'm an advanced speaker but can't follow TV shows.
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Re: How efficient are TV shows for improving listening comprehension?

Postby alexraasch » Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:37 pm

NoManches wrote:Yes! YouTube and documentaries are much easier than TV shows. I would say I'm a B2, very close to being a C1. But, based on what alexraash just said maybe I should be concerned that I'm an advanced speaker but can't follow TV shows.

No, that's not what I meant. If you are an advanced speaker you don't need to stop the show to go back as often as you need as a beginner/intermediate speaker. So Live TV is more suitable for more advanced learners, I think. But even as an advanced speaker you don't necessarily understand every TV show that's out there. When I was at a B2-C1 level in English I did have some trouble with American sitcoms at first because I have not had much exposure to colliquial language or slang.
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Re: How efficient are TV shows for improving listening comprehension?

Postby DangerDave2010 » Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:40 pm

Try american series or japanese anime dubbed in Spanish, if these give you any trouble at all you are still too green for native content.
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Re: How efficient are TV shows for improving listening comprehension?

Postby garyb » Mon Apr 25, 2016 3:45 pm

It seems like you've answered your own question to some extent: some TV shows are easier than others, and it sounds like you've chosen a hard one and maybe need to spend more time on easier ones first. I don't know Mexican TV so I can't recommend any, but I'm sure some other members could.

That said I do also agree that TV shows are a big step up from YouTube videos, documentaries, radio, podcasts, audiobooks, etc. The first TV series in a new language is a bit like the first book: even if you seek out an easier one, it's going to be tough at first. I've found that following along with subtitles and pausing to look up words does the job, even if it's not the most efficient or high-tech method. That helped me take my listening from "getting the gist" to "almost everything". If you have access to English subtitles as well as Spanish ones, you can try making bilingual subs, which means less pausing and looking up. The discussions of "subs2srs" are also interesting, on the subject of making learning from TV more efficient; it really doesn't seem like my idea of fun, but some have found it very useful.

Update: just saw DangerDave's post, I agree that dubbed series are usually easier than native ones.
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Re: How efficient are TV shows for improving listening comprehension?

Postby Cavesa » Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:24 pm

They are extremely efficient!

I wouldn't recommend them to a complete beginner but once you get the basics, it's one of the best things you can do.

The key is to get rid of subtitles as soon as you can, or you'll rely on reading forever.

The second step: Do not give up after ten minutes or one episode. I have heard a variation of this sentence many times: "I tried but I didn't understand, there was no point in losing time for longer than the ten minutes, I am not a langauge genious like you". Nonsense (and I felt like hitting the person with a grammarbook, despite our friendship, for a moment). Of course you won't understand much after ten minutes. But if you persevere and start at the point where more or less follow the plot, you are bound to notice a huge improvement after just one season! C2 listening in not too hard language (I cannot speak about the league including Chinese, Arabic, Finnish, etc.) is possible within one Super Challenge. And by the time you finish the SC, you should notice progress in your other skills as well, thanks to the huge amount of input.

The comparison with Youtube leading to general statements "Youtube is more/less difficult than tv series" doesn't make much sense. Pokemon is well understandable with less than A1 German in just several episodes (I really couldn't continue for longer as I hated the series but it was a good ego-boost), while one man shows of Alexander Astier or heated political debates on Youtube are sometimes hard as hell.

In general, the difficulty depends on various aspects. Genre. Original or dubbed. Target audience. How old is the series. And others.
I would say the best lead are reviews by other language learners, I'd say we are currently having quite a lot of those for at least some of the popular languages.
Emk-French, Spanish
Stella-Spanish (does she watch tv series in Tagalog as well?)
Elenia-I think she mentioned some Swedish ones
Radioclare-Croatian
Expugnator-I think he mentioned some Russian series
BrunUgle-various, including Star Trek in German
rdearman-French
And I am sorry as I certainly haven't mentioned everyone and perhaps made some mistakes.
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Re: How efficient are TV shows for improving listening comprehension?

Postby rdearman » Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:47 pm

Cavesa wrote: I am not a langauge genious like you". Nonsense

Sorry, but you are a language genius. Deal with it! ;)
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NoManches
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Re: How efficient are TV shows for improving listening comprehension?

Postby NoManches » Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:19 pm

The second step: Do not give up after ten minutes or one episode. I have heard a variation of this sentence many times: "I tried but I didn't understand, there was no point in losing time for longer than the ten minutes, I am not a langauge genious like you". Nonsense (and I felt like hitting the person with a grammarbook, despite our friendship, for a moment). Of course you won't understand much after ten minutes. But if you persevere and start at the point where more or less follow the plot, you are bound to notice a huge improvement after just one season! C2 listening in not too hard language (I cannot speak about the league including Chinese, Arabic, Finnish, etc.) is possible within one Super Challenge. And by the time you finish the SC, you should notice progress in your other skills as well, thanks to the huge amount of input.



So I have watched entire seasons of certain TV shows and I'm sure it has helped my listening a bunch....but like you said, after 10 minutes I start questioning myself: " How efficient is this? I've watched x amount of minutes and only understand 60% of it. Or, if watching a show in Spanish (such as a telenovela) I will hear dramatic music when a character is talking and j get frustrated because I know they are saying something important but I'm just missing it. It's like I'm only getting a portion of what they are saying.

With YouTube at least I can follow along and get 90-95% of what is happening (plus I am more likely to lay attention for the entire video).

My ultimate goal is to be able to watch foreign TV and movies and learn idioms and slang this way.

The frustrating part is that if you talked to me on the street in Spanish you would say "man, this guy is a fluent speaker in Spanish. I have no problems talking to him and it is in now way difficult to have a conversation with him". But if we were watching a TV show together I'd have no clue on what was going on.
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