Useful Tips For Improving Your Chinese Listening Skills
Learning a language is like learning to swim. You can’t master it just by reading about it. Instead, you need to actually try your hands at it. When learning language, it isn’t enough to know how to read and write. You also need to be able to speak and comprehend the spoken language. In fact, it is the latter two skills that comes in the most handy when you need to work and communicate with others in another language.
Learning Mandarin Chinese is the same. For some, the biggest challenge lies in listening comprehension. Due to the unfamiliar tonal nature of the language, it can be quite difficult to grasp what Chinese speakers are saying, especially when they rattle off at such lightning speeds!
Thus, if you want to improve on your Chinese skills, you need to put in the effort to work on those listening skills as well! These are some simple strategies you can use anywhere to better attune your ears to Mandarin Chinese, and become better at deciphering the language.
Read with audiobooks
For a start, you can work on your auditory skills with some visual help. Get some Chinese audiobooks (children’s books are a wonderful place to start!) and listen to the audio as you follow the text. This reinforces your memory of the sounds of the words to their written characters, and help you appreciate the meaning better.
As you feel more confident with reading and listening, you can increase the reading level of the books. This method is also a great avenue for increasing your vocabulary!
Listen to podcasts
Once you feel ready to up the level, you can home in more on the listening aspect by listening to podcasts. It might feel more challenging at the start because of the lack of visual cues now, and you only have your ears to rely on. However, soon you will learn how to disambiguate the homophones according to context, and become a more fluent listener!
A huge advantage of podcasts is that they are so convenient to listen to! Unlike audiobooks or television shows where you have to glue your eyes to the screen, you can follow along a podcast while engaging in other activities. So, you can just plug in your earpiece and learn as you exercise, or while having your meals.
Consistency is key
Clocking in regular exposure listening to Chinese is crucial to helping you improve quickly. That one Chinese movie you watch during the weekends isn’t going to help! Instead, you have to get your brain immersed in the language every day, if possible.
As mentioned, podcasts make it convenient to listen anywhere. You don’t have to necessarily set aside 1 hour a day. Make use of small pockets of time and incorporate practice sessions over the course of your day. This will also make learning feel more effortless, as you will be seeing the results without seeming to have put in much time or work!
Talk to Chinese speakers
At the end of the day, you learn Chinese to be able to speak to Chinese-speaking people. So, you should also get some practice in speaking and listening in real-time conversations.
If you attend a Mandarin course in Singapore, you can take advantage of the classmates and teachers you meet there to practice conversing with them in Chinese. And you don’t have to limit yourself to class time, as well. If you know other Chinese speakers, like relatives or colleagues, you can converse with them in Mandarin too.
Learning a language isn’t complete if you don’t have the complete arsenal of skills. So, if listening comprehension is your weakness, you now know what to do! Take this time to hone your listening skills, and grow your fluency in Mandarin Chinese today!