Learning to Listen and Listening to Learn

General discussion about learning languages
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Re: Learning to Listen and Listening to Learn

Postby olim21 » Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:44 am

Serpent wrote:
olim21 wrote:That's something learners often think: they are too slow. That's why we see slow-speed podcast and such. I don't think that's true, though.

I already explained all of this, but let's try again another way. That impression of being too slow is just that: an impression. This is a symptom of a the real problem underneath. The problem is that you are not ready to understand yet. Either because you don't know the words and/or the patterns of the language (or not well enough), and/or the sound of the language you hear in your head when you read is too dissimilar. The result being that you have to concentrate to figure out the meaning of each word and/or just recognize it when listening and its connection with the rest. It requires too much time, more than you have anyway. The consequence being that you can't follow.

Imagine the two different situations:

In the first one, you are a learner, you have some understanding already but not enough. When you hear a word it makes you think about how it sounds familiar, you're sure you've heard it before. You try to remember a context with the same word. After some thinking maybe you finally reach the thought corresponding in your mind with the idea that the word is supposed to describe. Now you still have to figure out the relation with the rest of the current context. It is slow and also prevent you from thinking about the actual meaning of what you are listening to.

In the second situation, you know the language, you can be a native speaker or a learner having reach a native level. When you hear a word, the corresponding thought (or series of thoughts) are immediately created in your brain (your hearing triggers the thoughts), they merge or take over the previous context. No need to think, no need to remember, it is instantaneous (almost).

In the first case, you don't know. What you do know is how to recover the meaning. In the second case, you just know. The consequence is a big difference in reaction time, this speed improvement is the byproduct of your learning.

Serpent wrote:What about the learners who can understand a lot in writing but still need those podcasts?

I also answered this one already. I you want to know, please read my other posts.

Serpent wrote:I actually like reading, I'm just slow. Please avoid making assumptions.

No assumptions? Are you serious? It's impossible, I'm a human being after all, that's what we do. We make assumptions all day long. And when they don't match with the reality we observe, we change them. There is no way around it. Assumptions are not a problem, not being able to let them go is.

Serpent wrote:Have you heard of the LR method?

It would be hard not to. You can see LR mentioned once every ten posts, it was even more than that at HTLAL. So yes I heard about it. And although I agree with a lot of it and you could even say that I use a variation on it to some degree, what are you supposed to do when the language you want to learn is fully opaque? Imagine Greenlandic as an English speaker for example. Words don't even match at all.

Serpent wrote:That's still a good starting point. If you can find something you want to understand and put in the hours, you're going to understand more.

For sure. That doesn't contradict what I have been saying all along, though.

Serpent wrote:And depending on the language combination the similarities may well be clearer in the spoken language.

Sure, Maybe. What combination are you thinking about?

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Re: Learning to Listen and Listening to Learn

Postby Bex » Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:51 am

olim21 wrote:It would be very nice if you could elaborate a little. What language are we talking about? Is it Spanish?
Spanish. I'll tell you how this happened in order to 'elaborate a little'. I moved to Spain being able to say "hola" and no more..my level was zero.

I went into supermarkets and every time I got to the till they said "blah, blah, blah, blah" for some reason even the first time it happened I knew what they were saying from context, rythm and experience "Do you want/need a carrier bag(s)?"...even my husband at the time could not fathom how just from context I new this. It seemed obvious to me. In a DIY store at the till "do you have a store card?". Tourist's in the street...always directions. I learnt like a child from context. If I don't understand they can rephrase, wave arms, point at things etc, whereas when reading if I don't understand that's it, I just don't understand. I would have had a terrible time when I moved here if everything had been written down and nobody spoke, all those visual, rythm, intonation, stress, context and emotional clues would have been missing.

People selling you things or needing your help are surprisingly good at making themselves understandable.

olim21 wrote: What are you trying to read with what kind of level?
I am reading Harry Potter at the moment but I have attempted to read easy readers too.
olim21 wrote:And more importantly what is preventing you from reading?
This is more difficult to explain. The actual task of reading is what I feel difficult, I read every word individually never a sentence at a time, sometimes I've even forgotten the beginning of the sentence before I get to the end, so I have to re-start. Whereas I process the whole sentence, the emphasis, who's doing what, the context, the emotion, all of it when I listen.

I don't see my experience learning L2 is any different from an adult not being able to read in their native language. We've just never learnt to read.

olim21 wrote:For example if someone makes you a transcript of something you can understand when you listen, can you read it then? Why not?
I don't really know how to explain it... it's almost like when I read every new word or 3, they wipe out the last few...like I can't hold them in my mind whilst I read the rest of the sentence, it's probably because I read so slowly. So yes I could read most of the words (although many still suprise me when I see them written) , but it would be painfully, painfully slow and I would miss large chunks and generally understand a lot, lot less.
olim21 wrote:And even if you can't read, which I find a little puzzling but OK, it's not in contradiction with what I have been saying. My position is: if you trained properly your pronunciation at the beginning (and check from time to time to make sure you haven't slipped), read a massive amount of text (how massive, I'm not sure exactly but let's say 5 million words maybe less), then you should be able to listen and understand without too much trouble. I'm talking about understanding natively or close. From there you will still have to get used to the few differences between the written language and the spoken language and familiarize yourself with the relevant accents for your situation. You also are ready to easily learn to speak and write.

So you see my position is not in conflict with what you described.

I suspect if I had read at the beginning then yes my reading would be better now but I didn't. I wasn't trying to argue against your method, it actually appears quite sound to me. I was just pointing out that some of your statements were not what I myself had experienced when I learnt Spanish. I am sure however that they are exactly what you experienced because you learnt through reading.
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Re: Learning to Listen and Listening to Learn

Postby Kraut » Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:48 am

My position is: if you trained properly your pronunciation at the beginning (and check from time to time to make sure you haven't slipped), read a massive amount of text (how massive, I'm not sure exactly but let's say 5 million words maybe less), then you should be able to listen and understand without too much trouble.

Please tell how you learnt your mother tongue? I for instance have been a fluent speaker of German and of my Swabian dialect before I even entered a classroom where I learnt to read and write. My brain also could work mentally the sounds I heard into the "phonemes" that are a prerequisite to create meaning.
How about your brain? Had you not developped unconsciously a perfect phonological system via your listening skill before you learnt which letters stand for which phonemes (reading and writing skill)?
Mind you, illiterates can master a spoken language perfectly.
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Re: Learning to Listen and Listening to Learn

Postby olim21 » Sun Apr 01, 2018 2:12 am

I'm very confused. Even if you were absolutely right, how would that change anything? There is no relation between what you quoted and what you wrote underneath. If a baby learn in a particular way, it doesn't mean this is the only way, it doesn't mean this is the best way, it doesn't mean that adults have to learn the same way.

Kraut wrote:Please tell how you learnt your mother tongue?

Like everybody else, very slowly, very painfully, one word at a time, with a lot of repetition, a lot of mistakes, a lot of efforts. And like everyone else, I don't remember any of it, giving me this impression that it was effortless, that it happened in the blink of an eye, almost magically. That's not the real story. Watch this ted talk https://www.ted.com/talks/deb_roy_the_birth_of_a_word#t-250480 to realize how much effort is required, how long it takes, before you finally babble a new word.

As an adult being, capable of a lot more than a child, I have the choice to learn using a better method, more interesting and faster. Why would I want to learn like a baby if I have the choice not to? You can if you want, it has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

Mainly it doesn't change the fact that baby don't learn because of the listening but because of all the repetitive context around them. They spend hours upon hours, day after day, month after month, year after year trying to make sense of their tiny little world. But because sound is part of their experience, they also pick up on the repetitive sound patterns and start to associate what they hear with what they already understand ("already" being a keyword here).

Baby understand a big chunk of their world way before they understand the spoken language, way before they utter their first word. Having a language is not required to understand: baby that are deaf at birth learn to understand their world just as well without the sound.

If your point was that you can learn a language without reading, who says otherwise? Not me. Just read what I said about Bakunin's method, you'll see.

Kraut wrote:Had you not developped unconsciously a perfect phonological system via your listening skill

You use words like "unconsciously" and "perfect", but they are just masking the fact that you don't have an explanation for what happened. Because you didn't learn unconsciously at all, you just don't remember it. This is really not the same thing. And what is a "perfect phonological system"? I am familiar with the sound I'm used to, but I can also learn more. Does that mean my "phonological system" can become more perfect? In the end I agree that you learn the sounds of the language(s) you were exposed to by listening. How else? But you still mainly learned the language by making sense of the bubble of world around you. The listening part is just the mode of communication. This is a very important distinction.

Imagine the following cruel experiment: you keep a newborn in complete isolation, with no access to the world, except for the sound. She can't see, she can't feel, she can't move, she can only hear. Do you think she will learn the language? How could she? The best she can do is become familiar with sequences of sounds. She can recognize them but she doesn't not understand because she can't connect what she hear with anything.

Kraut wrote:Mind you, illiterates can master a spoken language perfectly.

Of course, who says otherwise? "Perfectly" seems a little overboard, however.

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Re: Learning to Listen and Listening to Learn

Postby NoManches » Mon Apr 02, 2018 5:40 pm

This is a very interesting thread and I really wish I had more time to participate in it. The truth is, I've only been reading bits and pieces of it trying to get the gist of what is going on. Also, I feel pretty outgunned by all the studies being quoted and the vast amount of experience most of you have in learning multiple languages (I'm still on my L2 :| ).

I do feel like participating though so here are my thoughts:

In college when I had extra time to learn Spanish, I was really focused on improving my "listening comprehension". I had already been exposed to all of the verb tenses and although I was not the best at reading in Spanish, I considered myself literate. My biggest problem was always with listening (so I thought). One day, I was watching a telenovela without subtitles and rewinding every so often to turn the subtitles on in order to figure out what was going on. I quickly realized that my problem had little to do with "listening comprehension" (I probably could have transcribed what I was hearing). The problem I had was with "comprehension" in general. I realized this because even after I turned the subtitles on, I could not fully comprehend what I was reading without looking it over a few times and maybe thinking about why a verb tense was used or having to look up an unknown word. I came to the hasty conclusion that Assuming you are literate in your L2, if you cannot read something and understand it, then you will definitely not be able to hear it and understand it.

So I guess based on this conclusion, I agree with olim21, at least in the sense that reading helps with listening. It took me a long time to realize this and even now, knowing what I know, I still devote too much time to listening and not enough time to reading :roll: .

I think at this point the conversation is dealing with other things but I just wanted to share this one thought which I believe many already agree with and has been mentioned here.
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Re: Learning to Listen and Listening to Learn

Postby reineke » Wed Jun 06, 2018 3:56 pm

Shared Syntax in Language Production and Language Comprehension

"Successful communication relies on both efficient production and comprehension of language. Is there 1 integrated system for comprehension and production or are there 2 separate systems? How are comprehension and production processes related and which information is shared by the 2 processing modalities? We can ask these questions in regard to the individual word level or the sentence level, where words are combined in a syntactic structure. The latter is the focus of the current study. Specifically, in this study, we investigate whether the neurobiological substrate for coding and processing syntactic representations is shared between speaking and listening. Naturally, the input for speaking and listening is different. A speaker starts with a communicative intention or a message representation that she wants to communicate to a listener. Over several processing stages, this intention is converted into a sequence of sounds which are articulated. The listener in turn receives this stream of auditory information and has to retrieve its meaning and the intention of the speaker…"


"Our results disclose the following organizational principles of syntactic processing in comprehension and production: 1) not just the same brain regions, but the same neuronal populations subserve syntactic encoding in production and syntactic decoding in comprehension. Hence, there is a shared neuronal substrate….

From our finding that there is a shared neuronal substrate for syntactic processing in speaking and listening, we can infer that there is a shared cognitive system with shared representations (Pickering and Garrod 2004) and/or processes manipulating these representations (Kempen 2000). Therefore, theories of syntactic processing in the comprehension or production domain that propose modality specific aspects are problematic. Our findings do not entirely exclude the possibility that there are some differences between syntactic encoding and syntactic decoding. There may be a dissociation that has to do with the difference in direction between syntactic encoding and decoding. When constructing syntactic structures, a speaker knows the concepts and thematic role structure because she has determined them herself. The difficulty lies more in specifying the word order. On the other hand when deconstructing syntactic structures, the word order is given but the difficulty lies more in reconstructing the thematic role structure. So there may be a difference between syntactic encoding and decoding in terms of where difficulties or ambiguities are likely to arise. Moreover, in comprehension, one might be able to bypass full syntactic decoding in the presence of semantic, lexical, and nonlinguistic information (Indefrey et al. 2004). In production, one usually cannot bypass syntactic encoding. Developmental findings suggesting that there are differences in understanding versus producing syntactic structures (Fraser et al. 1963; Clark and Hecht 1983; Bates and Bretherton 1988), indicate that we should leave open the possibility that there are some differences between deconstructing and constructing syntax, but these are not final arguments in favor of such differences. These developmental findings might be due to the fact that we, children as well as adults, can understand a lot without paying attention to syntax. During comprehension, meaning can be derived from purely lexical information and from the context, in combination with general conceptual world knowledge; this is the case for children and also for adults listening to dialects or foreign languages they only know to some extent…"

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/pubman/item/e ... x_2012.pdf
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Re: Learning to Listen and Listening to Learn

Postby reineke » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:34 am

Sound representation in higher language areas during language generation

The results of our experiments show that a special representation of sound is actually exploited by the brain during language generation, even in the absence of speech. Taking advantage of data collected during neurosurgical operations on awake patients, here we cross-correlated the cortical activity in the frontal and temporal language areas of a person reading aloud or mentally with the envelope of the sound of the corresponding utterances. In both cases, cortical activity and the envelope of the sound of the utterances were significantly correlated. This suggests that in hearing people, sound representation deeply informs generation of linguistic expressions at a much higher level than previously thought.

How language is encoded by neural activity in the higher-level language areas of humans is still largely unknown. We investigated whether the electrophysiological activity of Broca’s area correlates with the sound of the utterances produced. During speech perception, the electric cortical activity of the auditory areas correlates with the sound envelope of the utterances. In our experiment, we compared the electrocorticogram recorded during awake neurosurgical operations in Broca’s area and in the dominant temporal lobe with the sound envelope of single words versus sentences read aloud or mentally by the patients. Our results indicate that the electrocorticogram correlates with the sound envelope of the utterances, starting before any sound is produced and even in the absence of speech, when the patient is reading mentally.


Cortical Activity of Areas Close to Broca’s Area Also Correlate with the Sound Envelope of the Linguistic Expressions Generated.

Our results are in line with previous results derived from stimulation mapping of language areas during neurosurgery (10, 11), showing that the location of sites whose stimulation could interfere with language varied widely from patient to patient and were not limited to the anatomically defined Broca’s and Wernicke areas.

Our experiment shows that neural activity in Broca’s area, a prototypical high-level language area governing morphosyntactic structures across languages (15⇓⇓⇓–19), and in the high-level language areas of the dominant temporal lobe is informed by the envelope of the sound of the linguistic expressions that that same activity is encoding. This is true whether the encoded linguistic items will then be uttered or not (as when we think)...

Our results suggest that in normal hearing people, sound representation is at the heart of language and not simply a vehicle for expressing some otherwise mysterious symbolic activity of our brain.

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Re: Learning to Listen and Listening to Learn

Postby reineke » Fri Jun 15, 2018 7:21 pm

Listening and Reading Proficiency Levels of College Students
Erwin Tschirner

Abstract: This article examines listening and reading proficiency levels of U.S. college foreign language students at major milestones throughout their undergraduate career. Data were collected from more than 3,000 participants studying seven languages at 21 universities and colleges across the United States. The results show that while listening proficiency appears to develop more slowly, Advanced levels of reading proficiency appear to be attainable for college majors at graduation. The article examines the relationship between listening and reading proficiency and suggests reasons for the apparent disconnect between listening and reading, particularly for some languages and at lower proficiency levels.


Despite the fact that the foreign language teaching profession has focused on oral proficiency for decades, reaching the Advanced Low (AL) level [ILR 2/CEFR B2] in oral proficiency has remained “an elusive endeavor” for many college graduates majoring in foreign languages, including prospective foreign language instructors (Brooks & Darhower, 2014, p. 593). According to Swender (2003, p. 523), only 47% of graduating majors at prestigious liberal arts colleges, many of whom spent an academic year abroad, were at the AL level or higher, 35% were Intermediate High (IH) [ILR 1+/CEFR B1], and 18% were Intermediate Mid [IM Survival proficiency/ILR 1 – CEFR A2] or lower…

The mean reading proficiency in English cognate languages such as French and Spanish was NH (Novice High) in the third semester, IL or IL in the fourth semester, IM (Intermediate Mid) in the fifth semester, IH [Intermediate High – ILR 1+] or IH+ in the sixth semester, and IH or AL [Advanced Low – ILR 2//B2] in the fourth year. These proficiency levels were considerably higher than the ones reported previously. If one looks at the top 84th percentile of students, they were even higher: Both French and Spanish students were IM in the third semester, AL as early as the fifth semester and AM or AM in the sixth semester. In the fourth year, they were AM [ILR 2] in French and AH in Spanish. Despite the limited amount of data for Italian and Portuguese, their proficiency levels were similar to those reported for Spanish, while proficiency levels in German appeared to be similar to French.

Listening proficiency, however, seemed to be a different matter entirely. One of the most significant findings of the present study was the fact that listening proficiency was lower than reading proficiency at almost all levels of instruction and across all languages. The mean listening proficiency in French and Spanish was generally one sublevel lower than the mean reading proficiency in the second and third year, and it was two sublevels lower in the fourth year.

This may be a reflection of what the profession considers important in foreign language education. As a panel of experts noted in a recent accreditation procedure in which the present author took part, listening proficiency is not considered important enough for college credits to be given on the basis of an examination. While the literature faculty in foreign language departments may still focus on reading, the emphasis on input and listening comprehension that characterized the early years of the communicative competence revolution in the late 1970s and 1980s appears to have all but disappeared. The focus on speaking, and particularly on interpersonal speaking, ushered in by the proficiency movement in the late 1980s and 1990s and the fact that the first ACTFL assessment that was made available was the OPI may have contributed to the neglect of listening comprehension even at the lower levels of language instruction....

Taken together, the studies that are summarized above, based on ILR or ACTFL proficiency assessments, indicate that proficiency levels in the interpretive modalities generally appear to be lower than in the productive ones and are lowest for listening ability, especially in instructed foreign language learning. The typical reading proficiency of foreign language students in the United States appears to be between NH and IL after four high school years (Davin et al., 2014) or three college semesters for closely related languages such as French or Spanish (Schmitt, 2016). Third- and fourth-year students seem to be IM to IH in both reading and listening in such languages (Watson & Wolfel, 2015). In more distant languages such as Russian, students appear to be NH to IL in reading and listening after 2 years of college instruction, IL after 3 years, and IM [ILR 1] after 4 years (Rifkin, 2005). In intensive foreign language programs such as The Language Flagship (National Security Education Program), learners may reach IH in reading and IM in listening after 2 to 3 years of college instruction (Davidson, 2010).

While preimmersion students may be stronger in their productive modalities, postimmersion students seem to be stronger in the interpretive modalities (Rifkin, 2005). Even in study abroad contexts, learners appear to make gains more easily in reading than in listening, with students in 2-month and 4-month study abroad programs lingering in the Intermediate range and only students who study abroad for longer periods, e.g., students in 9-month programs, advancing to AL.

The focus on speaking, and particularly on interpersonal speaking, ushered in by the proficiency movement in the late 1980s and 1990s and the fact that the first ACTFL assessment that was made available was the OPI may have contributed to the neglect of listening comprehension even at the lower levels of language instruction. This may explain the finding in the literature review—the productive skills appear to be stronger at the lower levels of foreign language instruction (Davin et al., 2014; Rifkin, 2005; Schmitt, 2016). Listening proficiency was lower in French than in Spanish at all levels of instruction except in the second and third semesters. The discrepancy between listening and reading for French may be due to its deep orthography (Frost, 2012). Deep orthography languages have an opaque writing system, in which it is not easy to infer the pronunciation of a syllable or word by the way it is written. Words, therefore, need to be learned twice, as visual and aural entities, and words learned visually are not easily accessible when listening. Listening and reading proficiency, therefore, diverge, and gains made in reading may not translate to listening. The lack of continued development of listening proficiency in French beyond the second year may have also been due to upper-division courses being taught in English. This, of course, may be exactly the kind of vicious circle that solidifies the status quo…

Moreover, stagnating listening proficiency development as students enter upper-division courses may be a contributing factor to the often noted Advanced barrier in oral proficiency, a level that appears to be very difficult to attain for students who do not spend a significant amount of time in the target country (Davidson, 2010). As Rifkin (2005) found, postimmersion students showed greater ability in listening and reading, contrasting their stronger skills in speaking and writing prior to the immersion experience. Davidson (2010) found that attaining Advanced-level listening proficiency took the equivalent of a 9-month study abroad period. Moreover, it may be important to distinguish between local and global comprehension, and between careful and expeditious reading and listening (Weir & Khalifa, 2008). While global and expeditious reading—and listening, for that matter—may be the kind that is most valued in literature classes, and even in lower-division language courses, it may be the local and careful reading with its attention to detail, including lexical and grammatical detail, that may be required to develop higher levels of proficiency.

This seems to call for a renewed effort to better understand the relationship between vocabulary breadth and depth and reading and listening proficiency, including the ability to parse incoming information grammatically. A number of textual features have been identified as crucial to text comprehension, including vocabulary load, syntactic complexity, domain, and genre, among others (Bernhardt, 2011; Jeon & Yamashita, 2014; Vandergrift & Baker, 2015; Van Zeeland, 2014). While there may be some overarching principles that relate to all languages, many of these features may be language specific and thus may need to be examined language by language.

Still, the data presented offer a first comprehensive picture of the reading and listening proficiency levels of U.S. college students at major milestones and raise a series of tantalizing questions, answers to which may reshape the way foreign languages—in particular, reading and listening—are taught and learned.

Conclusion The data presented in this article suggest that it may be time to rethink the role of foreign language education for academic purposes in the United States and the role of foreign language proficiency within a liberal arts curriculum. In particular, there seems to be increasing recognition of the need to develop principled approaches toward improving listening proficiency, and to a lesser extent reading proficiency, throughout the undergraduate foreign language experience. A focus on listening proficiency may not only help the profession succeed in providing students with useful, professional academic foreign language listening skills, but may even be key to developing professional speaking skills as well. While reading proficiency levels, especially for cognate languages, appear to be much higher than speaking levels and close to what one might expect at various points in a postsecondary program, more principled approaches to reading proficiency may allow learners to reach what Carroll (1967) thought he discovered 50 years ago, i.e., Advanced High [ILR 2+] and Superior levels [ILR 3].

https://www.languagetesting.com/pub/med ... Annals.pdf
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Re: Learning to Listen and Listening to Learn

Postby reineke » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:01 pm

A Guide to Measuring Listening According to the ILR Skill Level Descriptions - Listening A Report on the DLI Listening Summits


Adverse Listening Conditions • Measure/describe how these impact listening at all levels (ex. L1 even a small amount of adverse conditions will prohibit comprehension but the effect will be less pronounced at L2). From Level 2 and up there should be overt mention of the effect of noise. Difference between noise and background sound needs to be defined.

Rate of Speech • What is “normal” rate and how should it be measured? • Definition must include more than fast/slow; it must address variable speed• What is the effect of the interaction of speed with factors such as idioms, distortion, mumbling, slurring
Emotional Overtones • Appears only at L2+ • Somehow ILR needs to capture body language, gestures, and emotional cues

News Items • Mentioned at L2 and L3 • Used a lot for testing but not enough description of what is in the news • Needs definition of typology

Dialect • Pashtu (no standard dialect, a lot of dialects that are spoken in different areas) • Russian (no dialects heard in the course of daily life, small features that are easily picked up) • Considerations of dialect should be removed in light of these differences across languages • Chinese is notorious – wait until L4 to discuss ability to understand dialects

Tension and pressure • Currently appears at Level: L2+/should appear at Level:L3 • What breaks down under pressure? At other levels, this information should be specified, and how much do you “break down?” Is your mastery lost? • No one is going to do as well under pressure. • How does it relate to non-participatory/participatory distinction? How does it relate to the speed of the speech, cognitive load?

SocioLinguistic/Cultural References • Currently appears at Level:3+,4+/should appear at Levels 3,4

Listening Comprehension vs. Global Communication Skills
• Seems as if “real” communicative listening doesn’t happen (as described) until level 2+; • Below that seems to be a “learner” environment; the entire scale should be nonparticipatory?

Following unpredictable turns of thought • 4 – sometimes • 5 – always • How do we quantify the comprehension?
Topic Shift: Currently appears only at L4. Beyond the Lines: Currently appears at L4
Non-verbal communication is a huge part of face-to-face listening comprehension
Interlocutor – how much sympathy? Will listener make every effort to understand (listener’s purpose)

Another summit attendee suggested that “There is a lack of attention to culture. It comes in at higher levels of listening, not lower levels. Cultural awareness should be emphasized at all levels.”

Findings from the Summits

Factors that may influence Listening at ILR Level 2

Processing is at the sentence level with systematic errors when language becomes more complex
Understand the facts but not “between the lines”
Every day, common, general words and phrases; high frequency media vocabulary
Complex sentences (e.g., dependent clauses) are not always understood
May display weakness or deficiency due to less secure knowledge of grammar and syntax
Needs the core of the message to be audible. Authentic noise should not impede comprehension; may occasionally understand words and phrases produced in unfavorable conditions; cannot sustain comprehension when core elements are obscured by unfavorable conditions.

Salient features for Listening at ILR Level 3

Breadth and depth of listening competence (vocabulary, grammar, syntax, etc.) is sufficient to bridge gaps in comprehension of unfamiliar vocabulary, structure, tone, etc.
Able to understand even speakers who may talk over each other... but may not understand native speakers if they speak quickly
Will miss distinctions in language tailored to different audiences
Able to tolerate and compensate for limited distortions in predictable situations; can deal with gaps that relate to main content because of the overall strength of their language
May have difficulty with culturally specific vocabulary, slang, colloquialisms

Salient features for Listening at ILR Levels 4/5

Able to interpret most cultural cues precisely Understand “beyond the lines” Understand language that is deeply embedded in culture in which all the syntax, vocabulary, grammar, literature, and history emerge automatically
Only at L5 would one be expected to understand illiterate language, slang
Unfavorable listening conditions: Even the most adverse listening conditions can be overcome.

Future areas for research
What is the relationship between proficiency level and memory load? What is the relationship between proficiency level and cultural load? (In some languages, one does not get to the point quickly in supporting an argument. How long can a listener be expected to follow an argument in a language where this is the norm?). How to test culture as a component of listening comprehension?
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