If you are trying to learn a new language but are finding it tricky to build up skills outside of reading and writing, worry not as you are definitely not alone. Many people do not realize that language knowledge is actually about four distinct skill sets. Being able to read, write, listen, and speak a language all require different skills and practice. The age-old saying is that if you want to learn a foreign language fast, go live among people who speak it, but not everyone has the means or time to take a month-long vacation in Spain or Italy, or anywhere else.
Next to actually speaking with native speakers, listening to audiobooks is the most effective way to improve your foreign language abilities. Learning a new language tones and patterns may be naturally accomplished with the help of audiobooks. The continuous stream of words is a major benefit of listening to audiobooks rather than, say, music or movie soundtracks. Action sequences and instrumental music are, as you would expect, not great language-learning tools. Audiobooks have a distinct edge over other forms of audio since their narration is often clear and easy to understand. Words are clear because they were recorded by someone with extensive training and good diction. This makes it more comprehensible than the typical street dialect.
We have prepared some answers to frequently asked questions that arise regarding using audiobooks to study a foreign language.
What Are The Best Types Of Audiobooks To Learn A New Language?
It may seem absurd at first, but the children’s classic audiobooks are the ones I’d advise you to try out first. Keep in mind that when we read stories with a well-known plot, like Jack and the Beanstalk or Little Red Riding Hood, our brain is free to focus on learning new words, sounds, and structures rather than the story itself, which is helpful when we are learning a new language. Even if you don’t understand every word, phrase, or even paragraph of the story, knowing where you are in it can be encouraging and empowering for the listener. Children’s books sometimes have brief chapters, so it’s a good idea to aim for something reasonable.
Should I Check Every Word I Don’t Understand When Listening To The Audiobook?
It can seem natural to stop and look up every term you don’t understand when learning a new language. Actually, there’s no need to do this, and doing so will just make even the simplest stories tiresome and tedious to read. We can deduce the meaning of some words from context even while reading in our own language. Allowing your mind to figure things out on its own is a terrific method to find linguistic patterns and build solid knowledge.
However, if you want to expand your vocabulary rather than only become accustomed to the language’s sounds and rhythms, it is a good idea to look up any repeated terms that seem essential to understanding the story. Even well-known stories like “Little Red Riding Hood” can be beyond your comprehension if you don’t know the language basic vocabulary. As soon as you have looked up the terms, make a note of them together with their translations and return to the list occasionally. In this manner, the words will remain in your memory.
How to keep focused while listening to an audiobook?
Even the most devoted listener may find it challenging to stay engaged and interested when listening to lengthy recordings. An audiobook can greatly increase your language proficiency if you are able to follow the plot. Even if you don’t understand every word or sentence, just staying attentive is sufficient. Maintaining your hands busy with household tasks like dishwashing or laundry folding is an excellent technique to keep your thoughts focused. By doing so, you give your brain just enough additional stimulation to help it focus while avoiding interfering with the audiobook.
Do I Have to Focus On The Audiobook In Order To Learn A New Language?
You might not be concerned right now with understanding the big picture or even with recognizing whole sentences. In addition to actively reading the book, it’s entirely fine to have it playing in the background as background noise while you do other things. Your brain will continue to be active even when you are not aware of it, processing information and looking for patterns.
Can I Learn a New Language By Listening To An Audiobook In My Sleep?
Yes and no, but mostly no. Sleep is crucial because it aids in the long-term encoding of memories in our brains. It seems logical to question if memories may be altered, enhanced, or even created from scratch because so many things occur to them while we sleep. The notion that learning might occur while you slept was originally made popular in the 1930s, but by the time the 1950s arrived, it had become clear that most of the learning that had been previously assumed to occur while you slept had actually been carried out by participants who were awake.
But later studies have revealed that the truth is actually somewhere in the middle. Only subconsciously, the brain can create new memories and absorb new information when dreaming. In comparison to the cognitive activities required to learn German or any other language, this approach to study is significantly more basic. In the end, it is not a wise trade-off to sacrifice your quality sleep in order to possibly acquire a few new words because you can study and retain material far more effectively when you are up and well-rested.
Can I Improve My Speaking and Writing While Listening To An Audiobook?
Listening to an audiobook while reading along is the best method to ensure you’re getting the most out of the tale and expanding your vocabulary. Make sure to look for a physical copy of the book you are listening to. The pronunciation will improve as you begin to understand the relationship between the letters and their sounds, a crucial factor for a novice learning a foreign language. On a higher level, it will facilitate the recognition and internalization of the more intricate grammatical rules you’ve been learning. You shouldn’t make it a practice of reading along every time you listen but having the printed materials on hand might be beneficial if you come across unfamiliar terms or phrases that you don’t understand.
What is a useful trick when learning a new language through audiobooks?
Listening to audiobooks at slower rates, such as one-fourth or one-half the normal playing speed, is a common feature of many audiobook applications. If you’re serious about learning a new language, you should find an app that supports this function and put it to good use.
The average person spends around 5 hours of their week on commutes, which means that you could theoretically listen to one whole audiobook every week while in transit. More and more people are opting to listen to books instead of reading them, giving you a wide range of audiobook options in terms of genre and format. Many hours of content are included in a single audiobook, and repeated listening may further improve retention and fluency. Audiobooks are fantastic for squeezing language study into a hectic schedule.
Check out my page at https://todvadavid.portfolial.com/ where I write about other topics that I find fascinating if this article has enhanced your enjoyment of books and audiobooks even somewhat, whether for language acquisition or just to add a little reading to your day.
David is an experienced writer who has worked in the sports industry for many years and he also enjoys writing about tech, business and real estate investments as a freelance writer. David's background as a Russian native gives him a unique perspective on Eastern European business culture and current trends. When he's not writing, David enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.