Updated: Feb 1, 2021
You may have heard that it’s important to listen to your target language often as you’re learning it—whether it’s by watching your favorite television shows or just listening to a foreign radio station while you’re cooking or driving. But have you ever thought about why listening is actually necessary? How does it help you learn a language quicker? 👀
In this blog post, we'll give you our full insight into why daily listening is crucial for reaching the language results you’re hoping for, and how to take full advantage of it. 👌
Remember how you learned your mother tongue
Let’s start with a simple question: How did you learn your mother tongue? Was it difficult? How many different textbooks and methods did you use to actually learn it? Did you hate the grammar lessons and those numerous verb tenses? Was it difficult to remember them? 😎
You’ve probably noticed that we’re being ironic. Obviously, we as children didn't use any textbooks or methods to learn our mother tongue; nor did we need to study verb tenses. It just kind of happened by itself, didn’t it?
But let’s dig deeper. How did this automation come about? If you think about it, the answer is actually quite simple. As a child, you needed to survive in the environment into which you were born. Thus, to raise your chances of survival in the environment, you acquired skills that helped you do that. So, if your parents speak French, you will acquire French; if they're Chinese, you will acquire Mandarin. It would have been quite unfortunate if, as a child, you started randomly speaking French instead of your parents’ native language. 😁
So, what actually happened? It all boils down to a very simple process. As a newborn, you were surrounded by information that came mainly from your parents, but also other sources like TV, radio, videos, other people, road signs, texts, etc. And this information began to form your language skills.
Step by step, you started putting together words and sentences and started to understand your environment. And at some point, you mumbled your first words. Magic! 💫
What were your first words, by the way? I bet it was something like “thank you,” “mama,” “dada,” or something else that you’d heard most frequently from those around you.
Reason 1: Creating a language environment is key
Here we arrive at the first key reason why daily listening is crucial for language learning success: Creating a language environment that is similar to what you experienced as a child would help you develop language skills much faster.
Learning a language is a natural process, as we have all experienced, but the success of the language learning process is largely dependent on whether or not you manage to create a proper language environment around you. 😎
Start listening even if you don't understand a word
To put it more clearly, your body and your brain need to understand that you’re in an environment that demands new foreign language skills for you to survive and thrive.
To explain why it’s so crucial, I usually give an example of frequenting the gym, because growing muscles and learning a language are actually incredibly similar.
Imagine that you go to the gym for the very first time. You pick up a weight and you do some bicep curls. Now, imagine what your body thinks at that exact moment? (I'm using the word think very specifically here because our bodies think much more than we consciously understand.) 💪
Your body is probably thinking, “What a weird behavior. We’ve never done this before, but okay. Let’s see what happens.”
You finish your workout and return the next day. And the day after that. And the day after that. What is your body thinking now? Probably something along the lines of, “If we do this weird behavior every single day, then it must be important.”
Exactly! And that’s the magic moment at which we must arrive: Your brain and body become convinced that this new skill is now part of your daily reality. 👌
Why, you ask? According to studies, when this happens, your brain starts to absorb new information in the foreign language much faster. Thus, you will see much better progress.
Reason 2: Repetitive listening is key
Now that you know how crucial it is to create a language environment, let’s discuss how to do it efficiently using the tools provided by Speakly.
As you may already know, Speakly has over 15 hours of interesting listening exercises that unlock as you progress. These exercises are a wonderful tool for daily listening, because:
➟ they contain words that you have already learned in Speakly in addition to new words that challenge you to understand the exercises, and
➟ at around 10 minutes each, they are just the right length.
Now we’ve arrived at the most important point about daily listening that will decide whether your foreign language environment will be successful. It’s crucial that you listen to a single Speakly listening exercise for 5 – 7 days in a row without listening to any other exercises. ☝️
Let’s go way back to the beginning of this blog post where we discussed how young children learn their mother tongue. Now, let me ask you this: Does a child hear a plethora of new words and sentences daily, or are they usually repetitious to ensure that the child remembers them? Most certainly, the latter is true. There is evidence that parents even subconsciously repeat important words to make sure that the baby memorizes them. 👌
But what does all of this have to do with Speakly listening exercises? Well, everything! It’s exactly the same thing that Speakly exercises do!
With Speakly, you learn a language’s most relevant words and sentences. Then, the listening exercises reiterate these words to strengthen your memory’s hold on them. If you’d like to explore why Speakly teaches you a language’s 4,000 most relevant words, check out this blog post.
What happens when you listen to a single exercise 5-7 days in a row, is that automatically the words and sentences will start sticking to your memory and a few days in you will find yourself listening to an exercise that you will understand fully, even though a few days ago it was all a blur. That's the magic happening right there! 😉
Daily listening is the key for success in language learning. For that you just need to take the Speakly listening exercises and make sure to listen one single exercise for 5-7 days in a row. When you do that, you will successfully create a foreign language environment in your daily life, and based on research this will simplify the learning process for you a lot, as your brain and memory will be much more involved in memorising new information and helping you out. Enjoy! 💁♂️