If you just started to grasp beginner’s Chinese, you’re no doubt looking to move on to the next step and improve your skills even more. The question is, how do you continue to improve your skills in a foreign language you just barely started learning? You do so by listening. Do some Chinese Listening Practice.
If you want to learn how to speak Chinese, you’ve got to learn how to listen in Chinese as well. You’ve done well to begin to learn and practice basic Chinese words, phrases, and pronunciations, but to take it to the next level, you’re going to need to practice listening and make that a regular part of your routine.
The Importance of Chinese Listening Practice
You’ve already taken the first step of acknowledging that Mandarin Chinese operates in a multitude of ways throughout the world. It’s certainly one of the best options as far as learning a foreign language is concerned.
Quite frankly, listening may be one of the most important aspects of learning a foreign language. Without listening, you never would have learned your native tongue. It’s the most passive, yet, a fundamental component of comprehending and retaining any new language!
By incorporating some Mandarin listening exercises into your regimen, you’ll slowly begin to unravel things about the language that you never would have properly picked up on — including pronunciations, inflections, tone, banter, etc.
How to Improve Listening Skills
Here are a few of the most easily-accessible methods to practice basic listening. You’ll no doubt find yourself intrigued in at least one or two of the following methods, but you should make a concerted effort to adopt all of them because they each serve a unique purpose.
TV Shows & Movies
If there was one component of this list that entailed the most fun, it’d probably be this one. It’s already something that you do on a daily basis: everyone loves a good movie or fresh TV series to binge. Luckily, China is chalked full of great content for you to indulge in.
This method is a sure-fire way to start learning the language as a beginner by allowing you to pick up certain aspects of the language in an engaging and entertaining way.
It’ll allow you to see and hear words you already know being used in real-time. From here on out, it’s just a matter of using the context of the visuals to further build upon your already established lexicon of Chinese words. Subtitles are also a great tool that are at your disposal, and all of Netflix’s Chinese catalog come equipped with subtitles in the language of your choice.
It’s no wonder why so many people use this same method to learn a foreign language. Oftentimes, they don’t even go into it with this in mind; but, unbeknownst to them, they begin to learn the language little by little. And you will too!
Podcasts are another fun one. They’re a great way to pass the time, whether you’re driving into work, exercising, or cooking a nice meal. No matter what you’re doing, you can always count on podcasts to keep you company.
So, why not use them for Chinese listening practice?
If you’ve already made podcast-listening the mainstay of your daily free-time, it’s just a simple matter of transitioning over to one of the countless Chinese podcasts that are at your disposal.
Podcasts are more of an intermediate listening exercise, as you won’t have any visual cues or subtitles to help you out. It’s a great way to fill in some of those gaps throughout the day with a little extra practice.
Admittedly, compared to the other two options, the news is a bit of an acquired taste. And there’s also the matter of listening to localized news Vs. listening to news from a place that isn’t as relevant to you.
These are fair arguments, no doubt. However, you need to detach the idea of news as a source of information and reframe it as an effective Chinese listening exercise. Just because you don’t intend on using it as your authoritative source for news and information, doesn’t mean you can’t use it to practice basic Mandarin listening.
The news is a great way to practice comprehending complex issues and ideas in a short span. Doing so will do wonders as far as your overall language competency. It will ultimately help to propel the speed and complexity of your listening capabilities. For that reason, listening to the news would serve as a good intermediate listening exercise.
This is, by far, the ultimate piece de resistance as far as improving beginner’s Chinese is concerned. There is no better way to exemplify your skills and how far you’ve come than by actually engaging in a conversation with another Chinese speaker.
It’s certainly a lot easier said than done, and you should begin to consider it when you get to a more advanced level of Chinese competency. That’s why it’s last on the list: because you’ll need to work your way up to this. But once you do, you’ll be beyond fulfilled when finally reaping the fruits of your labor. You can now rest knowing that you’ve truly made it this far in your journey.
By engaging in conversations with Chinese speakers, you’ll be diving head-first into an environment that requires you to intuitively react and respond to what the other person is saying. You’ll need to force yourself to comprehend what they’ve said in order to meaningfully respond.
Ultimately, this list should quell any concerns about how to improve your listening skills. There are a lot of great resources at your disposal that will serve you well on this journey, and you should take the time to implement them all!
Listening practice is paramount to learning any language, so be sure to give it it’s due diligence and include it in your routine.