For the last month I have been downloading the news spoken slowly in German from Deutsche Welle:
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/0,,8030,00.html on to my ipod and making sure I listen to at least 15 minutes worth each day (each one lasts less than 10 minutes so I listen to a number of the most recent ones). As I’ve said before, my aural skills are lousy, and I’ve heard in many places that this is a good way to learn. I try to really focus when I’m listening, i.e. not do anything else, and write down words which I don’t understand. It’s a good news broadcast, there was me thinking my beloved BBC told me everything that was going on in the world ;)
Well, I thought I wasn’t really getting anywhere, but this weekend I had some time so thought I’d work my way back through all of the podcasts for the last month. Amazing! I realise that I really have made progress, some of the early ones I’m listening to and thinking “I didn’t pick that up at all first time round!” – whole sentences of easy words that I just couldn’t hear. It really is about ‘getting your ear in’. I’m so pleased to know that I really AM making progress, it was feeling like a real slog. I guess at some point, when I understand everything, I’ll have to listen to the proper news at proper speed, but hey, baby steps…
I can really recommend this method to anyone else struggling with their listening skills. There is a similar thing in french ‘journal en francais facile’ on the RFI website, and no doubt there are similar things in other languages out there.