The last time I made the effort to write out my learning method, I called it synergy. In addition to using the method myself, I wanted to draw attention to the fact that all language skills reinforced each other, and that practicing them concurrently is very beneficial. Or perhaps a better way to look at is, if you don’t practice them all concurrently you’ll be missing something crucial. I felt this fact was underplayed or even ignored by a great deal of language learners, so I took it upon myself to reveal it. I could say it was the strongest principal running through my method.
While I still believe strongly in synergy, a few years ago I began to think I was missing something major. My pondering started as a general disappointment with how slowly we acquire listening. Then I started thinking about input - reading and listening. It seemed to me that the true source of input was listening, not reading. Reading hasn’t been around nearly as long, and isn’t even needed to learn how to speak. I’m just telling you what was going on in my mind; I’m not trying to start an argument about theoretical fake vs real input lol. Anyway, that’s when and why it hit me – Listening Is Everything to a polyglot. Every other thing I do, I do it for the main purpose of propping up my listening, or at least that’s the way I should look at it. Listening really is, in my mind, the origin of everything, and by knowing this fundamental truth we should be able to reap some benefit. So I started to look for a way to do that.
I haven’t made much progress yet, but my goal is to create a language learning method that places importance on/draws attention to this truth. I call it LIE. I’m still going to use synergy, but I want lie to be primary. Why am I interested in doing this? First of all, just like with synergy, I feel that the importance of listening is underplayed, ignored or unknown by a great deal of language learners. I want to draw more attention to it. Secondly, I think we make decisions with our study path that could cause a positive or negative impact on our listening, so it would remind us how important listening is, and encourage us to err on the side of better listening wherever possible.
Now this is a bit controversial, but a few months ago I took the time to write down a few principles I believe in which I’ll share with you:
Becoming a good listener takes a long time and the support of other techniques and skills to do it efficiently imo. Here is my prescription for becoming a good listener:
1) First, listen a lot. It takes 1500-2000 hours of listening for your brain to acquire the ability to parse a foreign language at normal speeds (source). You can understand a language to varying degrees with less listening, but the time on task listed above is required to become a good listener.
2) Although a lot of pure listening is required to become a good listener, doing nothing but listening not very inefficient. This is because in addition to parsing, you have to be able to understand thousands of words and grammar. The following is a sample of things you can do, other than pure listening, to support the acquisition of listening.
a) Read. Reading the transcript for the material you are listening to is ideal, but any reading is beneficial to listening because it improves your grammar and vocabulary. Reading also gives you a visual memory of words, which helps your recall.
b) Write. Like reading, writing familiarizes you with vocabulary and grammar, which in turn helps your listening. Also, when you write you read, which I’ve already stated helps listening.
c) Speak. Speaking familiarizes you with vocabulary and grammar, which in turn helps your listening. When you speak you hear your own voice, which is listening practice, and one of the many reasons why reading out loud is a good skill to practice.
I decided to end the list here because not only does it show some ways to become a good listener, but also the study of these three skills, and therefore the learning of the entire language, can be considered to be in support of listening.
It seems every time I have an epiphany moment, I end up reading an article or study that supports what I thought I had “discovered”. It can be a little annoying, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’ll probably never discover anything new in the world of language learning. Anyway, rdearman posted a link to this study, so I’ll close by including some key excerpts.
Listening Skill Requires a Further Look into Second/Foreign Language Learning
Current English-as-a-second and foreign-language (ESL/EFL) research has encouraged to treat each communicative macroskill separately due to space constraint, but the interrelationship among these skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) is not paid due attention. This study attempts to examine first the existing relationship among the four dominant skills, second the potential impact of reading background on the overall language proficiency, and finally the relationship between listening and overall language proficiency as listening is considered an overlooked/passive skill in the pedagogy of the second/foreign language classroom.
Arguing for the role of listening in the communicative macroskills, Hunsaker  found that more than three quarters of what children learn in school is achieved through listening in the classroom.
The essence of listening skill for effective communication has been recognized almost for a century. Rankin  conducted a study and found that listening skill was the most dominant skill for the mode of human communication. Listening skill occupies almost 50% of our daily communications. In this regard, two studies conducted by Ralph and Stevens  and Rankin  reported that listening (46%), speaking (30%), reading (16%), and writing (9%) involve our daily communication.
As the studies reveal, listening comprehension lies at the heart of language learning, but it is the least understood and least researched skill in language learning, and the listening process is often disregarded by foreign and second language instructors .