How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Ask specific questions about your target languages. Beginner questions welcome!
Jbean
White Belt
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 8:12 pm
Languages: English (N), French (C1), Spanish (B2), Italian (B1)
I can read menus in many languages.
x 84

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby Jbean » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:08 pm

For me understanding Spanish and Italian is just a matter of having enough vocabulary. I'm sure that I could revive my high school German with vocabulary study as well, but French is in an entirely different category.

People disagree with me on this, but I think that you will have more success, if you know what you are listening for. I would suggest watching the TV show with subtitles and then rewatching it without subtitles. Training your brain is a lot like training your dog. You can say "sit" one million times to your dog and they still won't guess what you want them to do, however, say "sit" as you show them what to do and they will all eventually connect the word with the action. If you let your brain know what you're going to hear and then give it a chance to hear it, it's going to learn how to pick those sounds out. An accurate transcript is best, but an inaccurate transcript and replaying any questionable spots may suffice, if that's all you can get.

For me the magic wand was good old H.P. I started to read the first book because it was available! In French! Then I discovered that it was available as an audiobook and started that "instead" after reading the first chapter. Because of time constraints, I was reading a short amount of the book and listening to rougly the same material while driving to and from work. It was just coincidental, but suddenly the ability to distinguish individual words out of the blur of slurred mush, er, beautiful language of love just happened.
1 x

User avatar
rdearman
Site Admin
Posts: 4475
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 4:18 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Languages: English (N)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1836
x 10305
Contact:

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby rdearman » Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:14 pm

DaveBee wrote:
Cavesa wrote:. And another point: get rid of the subtitles. They can slow down the progress endlessly.
Are subtitles really so terrible?

I'm regularly watching two TV shows at the moment, one that comes with subtitles, and one that doesn't.

They aren't bad, but the problem is when you watch a show with sub-titles you aren't listening you are reading. Even if I watch a show in English if I put on sub-titles I tend to read not listen. :)
3 x
: 4 / 100 100 Italian paperbacks:
: 306 / 75000 Output Challenge 2019 (普通话写作):

Lollygagging Podcast available on iTunes

Jbean
White Belt
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2017 8:12 pm
Languages: English (N), French (C1), Spanish (B2), Italian (B1)
I can read menus in many languages.
x 84

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby Jbean » Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:54 pm

I was trying to get Apple to show me French language podcasts today, but I failed. However, I did find this free series of podcasts and transcripts for French learners:

http://frenchyourway.com.au

If anybody knows how to switch the latest version of Apple Podcasts over to French language offerings, I'd appreciate it.
0 x

User avatar
Ani
Brown Belt
Posts: 1398
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:58 am
Location: Alaska
Languages: English (N), speaks French, Russian & Icelandic (beginner)
x 3572
Contact:

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby Ani » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:15 pm

DaveBee wrote:
Cavesa wrote:. And another point: get rid of the subtitles. They can slow down the progress endlessly.
Are subtitles really so terrible?

I'm regularly watching two TV shows at the moment, one that comes with subtitles, and one that doesn't.


I think subtitles are awesome. I think if you are still finding a bunch of unknown words in the subtitles, that should be your clue that it is unreasonable to think you could just listen and re-listen to get a maximum of learning out of that show. I mean what are all the reasons listening suffers? 1) You don't know the words being used 2) You aren't anticipating the grammar and getting you're turned around faster then you can sort yourself out 3) You aren't expecting the sounds to sound the way that do, which might be a) lack of listening time or b) unfamiliarity with the phonology to the required extent. What did I miss, are there more reasons? Only one option out of reason 3 suggests strict listening without subtitles as the solution.

Also personally, in not going to rewatch the same episode over and over, or even stop an episode 30 times in 30 minutes. I'd rather do a course than make my fun stuff as miserable as possible. Pretty much everything you miss comes back again in a long series.
6 x
But there's no sense crying over every mistake. You just keep on trying till you run out of cake.

User avatar
rdearman
Site Admin
Posts: 4475
Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 4:18 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Languages: English (N)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=1836
x 10305
Contact:

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby rdearman » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:06 pm

Ani wrote:
DaveBee wrote:
Cavesa wrote:. And another point: get rid of the subtitles. They can slow down the progress endlessly.
Are subtitles really so terrible?

I'm regularly watching two TV shows at the moment, one that comes with subtitles, and one that doesn't.


I think subtitles are awesome. I think if you are still finding a bunch of unknown words in the subtitles, that should be your clue that it is unreasonable to think you could just listen and re-listen to get a maximum of learning out of that show. I mean what are all the reasons listening suffers? 1) You don't know the words being used 2) You aren't anticipating the grammar and getting you're turned around faster then you can sort yourself out 3) You aren't expecting the sounds to sound the way that do, which might be a) lack of listening time or b) unfamiliarity with the phonology to the required extent. What did I miss, are there more reasons? Only one option out of reason 3 suggests strict listening without subtitles as the solution.

Also personally, in not going to rewatch the same episode over and over, or even stop an episode 30 times in 30 minutes. I'd rather do a course than make my fun stuff as miserable as possible. Pretty much everything you miss comes back again in a long series.

Hang on a second. The OP has stated they are B2 and working toward C1 so there really shouldn't be that many unknown words in the sub-titles of a typical TV series. They can obviously turn on the sub-titles temporarily if they are missing something. But I suspect if they are really close to taking a C1 examination they are missing the words because of problems with listening comprehension rather than unknown words.

Admittedly if you're watching something like "Hero Corp" then you're probably going to fall afoul of accents, slang, and other issues, but if you're watching something fairly mainstream in translation like Daredevils (which the OP said they were watching) then it shouldn't be a problem. I watched Daredevil without sub-titles and I understood it, and I don't think I am B2->C1 level. There were a couple of scenes where I was forced to fall back on sub-titles, but this was mostly long dialogues with a high density of unknown words.

In addition, the rewatching tends to happen in the first couple of episodes and then afterwards it becomes easier. I think this is because a lot of dialogue and words used by the writers are new to you, but as the series progresses then you have learned them.

Sarafina wrote:In terms of reading, I can comfortably sit a B2 reading paper and expect to pass. When I looked at the C1 reading paper, the texts there was reasonably accessible and understandable. If I watch TV series like Daredevil with French subtitles then I have no problem understanding it but when I watch it without any subtitles then I'm lost like 40% of the time. The problem is that I am unable to hear the words when spoken due to lack of French audio input. I heavily focused on reading French texts and rarely ever listened to much French hence the massive disparity.


If you can comfortably read B2 papers and C1 is understandable, then the issue is more likely to be practice listening.
3 x
: 4 / 100 100 Italian paperbacks:
: 306 / 75000 Output Challenge 2019 (普通话写作):

Lollygagging Podcast available on iTunes

DaveBee
Blue Belt
Posts: 952
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 8:49 pm
Location: UK
Languages: English (native). French (studying).
Language Log: https://forum.language-learners.org/vie ... =15&t=7466
x 1367

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby DaveBee » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:16 pm

Jbean wrote:I was trying to get Apple to show me French language podcasts today, but I failed. However, I did find this free series of podcasts and transcripts for French learners:

http://frenchyourway.com.au

If anybody knows how to switch the latest version of Apple Podcasts over to French language offerings, I'd appreciate it.
Do you mean iTunes? You could look for podcasts offered by french language radio stations, TV stations. So France Inter, France Culture, France Bleu, RTBF (belgium), RTS (switzerland), etc.
Last edited by DaveBee on Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
0 x

Sarafina
Green Belt
Posts: 321
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:02 pm
Languages: English (N)
French (Intermediate )
Japanese (Beginner)
Yoruba (Advanced Comprehension)
x 636

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby Sarafina » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:29 pm

Again many thanks for all the advice. It's been extremely useful.
0 x

User avatar
Jim
Orange Belt
Posts: 117
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2017 3:18 pm
Languages: English (N), French (intermediate), Spanish (frosty intermediate)
Language Log: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5766
x 196

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby Jim » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:37 pm

DaveBee wrote:
Jbean wrote:I was trying to get Apple to show me French language podcasts today, but I failed. However, I did find this free series of podcasts and transcripts for French learners:

http://frenchyourway.com.au

If anybody knows how to switch the latest version of Apple Podcasts over to French language offerings, I'd appreciate it.
Do you mean iTunes? You could look for podcasts offered by french language radio stations, TV stations. So France Inter, France Culture, France Bleu etc.

I agree with this - certainly in the UK if you look for the stations there are loads of podcasts to choose from and you don’t need to change any app settings. My current favourites are On Se Dit Tout on France Bleu and Popopop from France Inter. I also listen to L’Esprit Public from France Culture.
1 x
La hora más oscura es la que viene antes del nacimiento del sol

Merci de corriger mes erreurs !

User avatar
Ani
Brown Belt
Posts: 1398
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:58 am
Location: Alaska
Languages: English (N), speaks French, Russian & Icelandic (beginner)
x 3572
Contact:

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby Ani » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:32 am

rdearman wrote:Hang on a second. The OP has stated they are B2 and working toward C1 so there really shouldn't be that many unknown words in the sub-titles of a typical TV series. .


If grammar is mastered by B2, the big difference between B2 and C1 is vocabulary and fluency. I think there is a big difference between C1 reading papers being "mostly understandable" and having that vocabulary down cold so you can recognize it quickly.
I said what I said because I think subtitles are awesome, not only because I thought it applied to the OP. Like smallwhite said, a crutch that should be removed at the right time. Still, crutches are a big help, not a hindrance, if you need them still. They speed healing by keeping all the rest of your muscles strong while the offending limb mends. Subs are a huge boost to vocabulary and grammar if you use them with extensive watching.. until you don't need them anymore.
1 x
But there's no sense crying over every mistake. You just keep on trying till you run out of cake.

Cavesa
Black Belt - 3rd Dan
Posts: 3252
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:46 am
Languages: Czech (N), English (C1), French (C2), Spanish (intermediate), German (somewhere on the path), Italian (passive advanced, active basic)
x 9271

Re: How to improve my listening so I can pass a C1 DALF listening section

Postby Cavesa » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:50 pm

Ani wrote:
I think subtitles are awesome. I think if you are still finding a bunch of unknown words in the subtitles, that should be your clue that it is unreasonable to think you could just listen and re-listen to get a maximum of learning out of that show. I mean what are all the reasons listening suffers? 1) You don't know the words being used 2) You aren't anticipating the grammar and getting you're turned around faster then you can sort yourself out 3) You aren't expecting the sounds to sound the way that do, which might be a) lack of listening time or b) unfamiliarity with the phonology to the required extent. What did I miss, are there more reasons? Only one option out of reason 3 suggests strict listening without subtitles as the solution.

Also personally, in not going to rewatch the same episode over and over, or even stop an episode 30 times in 30 minutes. I'd rather do a course than make my fun stuff as miserable as possible. Pretty much everything you miss comes back again in a long series.


This list is exactly the point of extensive listening. Extensive listening means learning by immersion, by context, and simulation of a real life, where you encounter unexpected stuff all the time. I am all for using various learning methods alongside extensive listening, but I think using subtitles is damaging the method.
1.unknown words: that is a normal problem. I use coursebooks, vocab books, SRS, extensive reading, and other methods for this. But by turning subtitles on, I lose the opportunity to understand from the context and fast enough. And if the word is truly unknown (which is not that common at higher levels, where most words or their related ones have been encountered), subtitles are not gonna help much. A learner aiming for C1 needs to learn how to orient themselves in a flood of speech with a few unknown words here and there, without any significant damage to communication.
2.Not anticipating the grammar used: again, this is exactly the point! Methods to be used alongside extensive listening: coursebooks, exercise books, grammar books, extensive (or intensive) reading, and more. Immersion during extensive listening made me extremely good at understanding whatever grammar is being thrown my way, even though I couldn't use it all just as efficiently as a native. And at full speed.
3.Yes, and there is no other way to learn that than practice. More sounds, more speakers, more dialects, more voices, more speech impediments.

To the note about personal choice: I totally agree with it, for these reasons:
-I find 30 minute extensive listening sessions absolutely useless, at least at the beginning of the extensive listening training.
-A learner at B1-B2-C1 still needs other learning activities alongside normal use of the langauge.
-A 30 minute time window is also useable for intensive reading or listening, if you are using the method. It could actually be the largest amount of time a learner like me would be capable of spending with it at once :-D It doesn't mean rewatching things ad nauseam. But it might be an opportunity to make pauses, repeat after the characters, or look up things one hears. If someone dislikes intensive listening, like me, than there are lots of other learning activities.

rdearman wrote:Hang on a second. The OP has stated they are B2 and working toward C1 so there really shouldn't be that many unknown words in the sub-titles of a typical TV series. They can obviously turn on the sub-titles temporarily if they are missing something. But I suspect if they are really close to taking a C1 examination they are missing the words because of problems with listening comprehension rather than unknown words.

Admittedly if you're watching something like "Hero Corp" then you're probably going to fall afoul of accents, slang, and other issues, but if you're watching something fairly mainstream in translation like Daredevils (which the OP said they were watching) then it shouldn't be a problem. I watched Daredevil without sub-titles and I understood it, and I don't think I am B2->C1 level. There were a couple of scenes where I was forced to fall back on sub-titles, but this was mostly long dialogues with a high density of unknown words.

In addition, the rewatching tends to happen in the first couple of episodes and then afterwards it becomes easier. I think this is because a lot of dialogue and words used by the writers are new to you, but as the series progresses then you have learned them.

Sarafina wrote:In terms of reading, I can comfortably sit a B2 reading paper and expect to pass. When I looked at the C1 reading paper, the texts there was reasonably accessible and understandable. If I watch TV series like Daredevil with French subtitles then I have no problem understanding it but when I watch it without any subtitles then I'm lost like 40% of the time. The problem is that I am unable to hear the words when spoken due to lack of French audio input. I heavily focused on reading French texts and rarely ever listened to much French hence the massive disparity.


If you can comfortably read B2 papers and C1 is understandable, then the issue is more likely to be practice listening.

I agree. It is about the choice of a tv series. Daredevil and similar ones are good choices. Hero Corp, Kaamelott, Engrenages are bad choices at this point.

From Sarafina's description of her (?) level, I came to the same conclusion. The foundation is there, listening is the problem. Using all the knowledge at full speed. Subtitles would ruin practice of this.

Ani wrote:
rdearman wrote:Hang on a second. The OP has stated they are B2 and working toward C1 so there really shouldn't be that many unknown words in the sub-titles of a typical TV series. .


If grammar is mastered by B2, the big difference between B2 and C1 is vocabulary and fluency. I think there is a big difference between C1 reading papers being "mostly understandable" and having that vocabulary down cold so you can recognize it quickly.
I said what I said because I think subtitles are awesome, not only because I thought it applied to the OP. Like smallwhite said, a crutch that should be removed at the right time. Still, crutches are a big help, not a hindrance, if you need them still. They speed healing by keeping all the rest of your muscles strong while the offending limb mends. Subs are a huge boost to vocabulary and grammar if you use them with extensive watching.. until you don't need them anymore.

It is not. It is definitely not mastered. Yes, quite all of it has been encountered, that much is true. But definitely not mastered. That's why Grammaire Progressive Perfectionnement is such a great resource, it is much more than just a review book. There are more nuances to the individual grammar features, more uses, more combinations. And extensive activities are important at this point, as one of the great challenges is using the knowledge in unexpected combinations and at full speed.

I know lots of English learners that are using subtitles "until they don't need them anymore". The problem is: the moment never happens. They will never feel ready. Many of them try out, when they get a feeling like this, and then turn the subtitles back on after ten minutes, becase "I am not ready and don't want to waste my time". Noone is ever as ready as they would like to.

Using subtitles, that is perhaps not a crutch. A crutch is really a better metaphore for healing something broken. But nothing is broken here. Subtitles are more like training wheels. Some kids learn to ride a bike without them. Many kids with them, but they need to have them removed at some point. And usually the earlier the better, but most kids still feel nervous and not ready for the real bike. A thirteen year old on a bike with training wheels would look ridiculous, imagine an adult with them. And we are discussing here keeping the training wheels on until the child is absolutely sure they are not gonna fall after having them removed, which is impossible.
5 x


Return to “Practical Questions and Advice”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest