kulaputra wrote:I believe the article I posted is that listening to material even with 0% comprehension, does, in fact, help.
Yes, but the question is how much? And what is the opportunity cost of that activity? Is there something significantly more effective that could be done instead?
kulaputra wrote:It's not about the level of comprehension, it's about the volume. With reading, however, reading extensively below 70% comprehension or thereabouts can be painful, so I don't recommend it. But listening doesn't have to be, if you pick the right materials.
I want to underscore the word "volume" above, as I usually agree with arguments about language learning that are based on that principle. And I'm curious about the second sentence of why you say it is less painful to extensively listen than to extensively read semi-understood content. I am guessing you are really comparing extensive reading (which basically requires 100% attention) against background listening of audio while doing something else, i.e. with partial attention... which I think is apples to oranges. Otherwise I don't see why 100% attention extensive listening is less painful vs 100% attention extensive reading.
I'd like to point out that we've seen far too many instances of people trying to "just listen" their way to fluency from very low levels of understanding with little to show for it in the end. To be honest, I've watched hours and hours of Cantonese videos, some with L1 subs, some with L2 subs, some with nothing at all and at my lower levels, I didn't pick up much. Almost all of it seemed like a wave of slurred syllables.
But I do wholeheartedly agree with, and actively use, background listening of audio while doing other things like driving or eating lunch as this is an extra activity that helps while costing little time that could otherwise be more effective. Even with a small % of understanding, it 'helps'.
I also understand that when someone is burned out from intensive studies, it's always nice to kick back for a while and just listen/watch some fun content, even if understanding is small or *gasp* even use L1 subtitles and just try to keep one ear on the audio. I do this too.
And for higher understanding levels (75-80%+?), gained either by intensive study or related languages, extensive listening/reading is definitely an enjoyable and effective path to continue to build your skills to high levels.
But IMO it is wasted time to do 100% focused extensive listening of barely understood content, when you could be doing intensive activities and you have the energy to do so.
When people use the word "volume" or, like a post above said, "12 hours" a day... I think they really mean just some partial attention background listening. And this I think is often way overestimated for many people. For me there is no way to have anything close to 12 hours a day in background listening. Yes, I work in a private office and in theory I could have Cantonese playing in my ears all day. But a) 99% of the time I couldn't pay the least bit of attention to it. b) This would actually be distracting to my work. I can't even listen to music with English lyrics when I'm working as it messes with my concentration. Also, given that I enjoy interacting with my wife, I don't want to walk around in the evenings and weekends with earbuds in my ears all the time. So I can get maybe 1-2 hours of background listening each day without it eating time better spent on something else or distracting from something more important. But, for the most part, I do try to use 'dead time' to extensively listen. But to me, this is a tiny side dish of my language learning activities, doesn't add up to a whole lot of extra hours, and only has a small effect on my skills.
Don't get me wrong, as my listening level gets higher, I absolutely will be switching more and more to extensive activities... with glee. But this is about the right tool at the right time. Someone pointed out emk's model earlier, and right now, to be effective with my time, I need a lot more "cheating" and can only do a little bit of "consolidating." That ratio will change as my level improves.
Edit: I should add that the suggestions to find some 'easy' content are good. I've looked before without much luck, but I think I might be at a level now where some anime or programs for kids might be above a useful threshold of understanding for extensive work. But I need to balance this with interest level. I won't last long watching Peppa Pig in Cantonese. (which I did for a little bit