Cavesa wrote:You're right about the huge differences among the various audiobooks. However one disadvantage stays: they are slow and extremely clear and stardard speech. Awesome at some point but a totally different beast than normal conversations. Yes, they include much more vocabulary, but as you said, there are many proficient second language readers who cannot follow a conversation or tv series, it is not about that.
Yeah, I like audiobooks, and they're certainly very useful. They're usually spoken slowly and clearly by a single narrator (which can be very helpful in the beginning!). But they also have some limitations:
- They tend to use a much larger, more formal vocabulary than ordinary conversational speech, and they don't use as much informal conversational vocabulary.
- Most books include surprisingly little conversation between the characters. This might not matter so much for a language like Spanish, but for a language like French, narration is very different from dialog. French narration, for example, uses completely different verb tenses that are basically never used in native speech, and it replaces the funky topic/comment and comment/anti-topic structures of spoken French with much more English-like structures. In other words, if your language has any significant diglossia, typical audio books will be a surprisingly inefficient source of natural conversational speech.
- No pictures! I like pictures; they help me puzzle out unknown words.
Cavesa wrote:I am not generalizing, not saying the timeline and learning curve are always that easy. I am just pointing out that improving one's listening comprehension with tvseries can, in some language combinations, be a much faster process than expected, not a matter of many years of frustration.
I think the most remarkable results from TV happen when you either (1) have a very strong base in a closely related language, or (2) you can already read pretty comfortably, but your listening is weak. If you're starting from nothing at all, it's definitely going to be a longer road, and you'll need more intensive listening and/or reading.
NoManches wrote:I came home from work and started to watch the dubbed version of "Master of None" on Netflix. I have already seen the 1st season in my native language, although it was a few months ago. I'll say this: I am understanding about 90-95% of everything said and it is super motivating! I understand a few things: 1) It is not native content. 2) The speech is very clear. 3) It is much easier to comprehend compared to a show made for native speakers.
As I watch, I keep saying: This is too easy. I need to push myself...I need to "throw myself in the deep end". But, it reminds me of emk's consolidation theory which he was kind enough to repost for me earlier today:
Yeah, I always look for dubbed shows in the beginning, because they tend to be clearer (well, except for gritty HBO series, which can have very challenging French dubs in my experience!). If you understand 90-95% of Master of None and you're having fun watching it in Spanish, I think it would be an excellent idea to binge-watch several seasons. You'll definitely see a jump in difficultly when you start watching episodes you haven't see before, but by then, you'll have already gotten used to the voices and vocabulary, so the transition will probably be manageable.
And as you watch, you'll burn a lot of Spanish expressions into your brain. Things which are "decipherable" for you at the moment, in this series, will become "automatic" after a few seasons. And then, when you encounter the same expressions in a harder series, or in real life, your brain will be expecting them. High-level listening comprehension basically requires you to be able to "finish the sentences" of native speakers. Until you become so familiar with how people speak that you can already half-guess what they're going to say, it's very hard to decipher slurred speech.
At any given time, I watch the easiest and most entertaining series I can find, and only increase the difficulty slowly, or when I desperately want to watch something cool. My personal rule of thumb for judging difficulty is "Trust my sense of fun." If I'm enjoying something, and maybe stretching just a little bit, the level is probably fine. Yes, this means that truly awesome series are allowed to be more difficult than boring ones. So if I can have a total blast watching something at 40% comprehension, and nothing else is even more tempting, I'll happily watch it.
(By the way, none of this is new. Dr. Krashen said it long ago, and his ideas proved extremely helpful for my comprehension—though not so much for my output! I'm just trying to find a way to explain old ideas as clearly as possible.)