olim21 wrote:Yes, it is a lot. But Compared to the amount of reading you will have to do to develop your understanding to a level comparable to your native language, this is nothing.
But it's not nothing. It's a huge amount of pretty dense activity (intensive listening, you called it), that will be a strong basis of all your future language progress (no matter how much the latter will take).
The hours of that very important first stage are dwarfed in comparison with later stages. But the importance is not.
olim21 wrote:Sure, but is it part of language learning? This is something you can do later when you already understand the language. When you have the best chance of success.
The order of learning activities... is a matter of debate for many people. I prefer to uphold the natural order - listening first. So do you. It will be pretty hard to correct the fossilized mistakes (already formed synaptic pathways), than getting them right from the beginning. It's easier to get different accents, when you already understand one accent (that shares some general language features - like phonemes - to a great degree with them), that you learn to do at the beginning of your language learning. It could be some widespread accent, or a neutral (without regional features) one.
So you try to get your listening skill properly developed at the beginning, and then develop your vocabulary and phrasal knowledge (and all the rest) with reading. And continue doing some listening "for enjoyment and checking the understanding" from time to time later. It's a good strategy. But what you've claimed at the beginning of this discussion (that listening is not a skill) is oversimplifying your experience. You develop your strong listening skill of the language first, which saves you from a lot of pain later. And you improve your listening skills after that, but it's largely facilitated by your language expertise developed by reading (which you call "understanding"). So, maybe, you don't even notice it?
olim21 wrote:It looks to me that you think you should prepare yourself for every accents possible in the eventuality you will somehow, one day encounter such a speaker.
No, I will only train myself to listen to the accents I care about. But I usually try acquire a good understanding of one accent first: spreading your efforts too much at the beginning is not very helpful, in my opinion.