How to Improve Your Foreign Language Comprehension

To master a foreign language requires a great deal of input, concentration and time. Before you speak with a native of the language, it requires a great deal of practice. I mean, before you master it you feel as if the natives are speaking Greek. Language comprehension greatly involves your listening skills.

Listening comprehension is the ability to grasp and make sense of what you hear. One can be an excellent speaker and reader yet they are unable to understand what another person is saying. This is because a series of sound units are connected together quickly when spoken by a native tongue and it is difficult for an untrained ear to distinguish. The only way to train your ear to foreign speech is by listening and listening to gain more exposure.

The first step is to find the right resources. There are two types;

  • Beginners/ Intermediate Learners. This is simplified material for beginners.
  • Advanced Learners; This is for learners who are at least on a B2 level

Choose the best materials that you feel will help you most. Then prepare on how you will go through this challenge. Before you start listening, there are some things you need to know and understand;

  • One, you cannot understand everything at once.
  • Listen as often as possible. While doing chores, in a car, or relaxing.
  • Listen to something you enjoy
  • Do not translate into your native tongue.
  • Do not get annoyed when you don’t understand. Be patient.
  • Remove distractions that may hinder you from listening.
  • Have a goal in mind.
  • Do not give up no matter what.

You can improve your listening comprehension skills through the following ways.

1. Practice

Understand that speaking practice improves listening comprehension. Talk to a native speaker as they are the ones who can honestly slow down, listen, answer your questions and correct your mistakes. In addition, they will help you place facial expressions, gestures and help you understand the language better.

2. Watch TV shows and movies

You can watch movies in the native language with subtitles. Subtitles help you to follow along without pausing to decipher the meaning of the words spoken. This helps you to keep at speed with which people speak and at the same time teach you the accent. If you decide to use this method, then Netflix has an extensive collection of foreign films that you can use.

3. Listen to Music

This helps you learn the language’s slang and phrases. There are some apps that you can use for this. FluentU offers a good platform for learning as it provides videos with interactive subtitles. This comes with a personalized learning forum as you can develop vocabularies and track your progress as you advance through the videos.

4. Download practice apps

There are several apps that you can download on your smartphone to keep you up to speed with foreign languages. These apps help with the vocabulary as they give you an honest overview of the language, common words, and phrases. The most popular app is Duolingo. There are more apps that you can download from Google Play or iTunes depending on your phone.

5. Use podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to develop the feeling of a language. As you advance you gain more understanding of the language and perfect the accent on the way. If you look around, language learning opportunities are all around you. You just have to find one that works for you. But remember, the key is a constant practice.