How to improve Mandarin listening skills
No matter how much you read and practice your tones and learn characters, it can be disappointing and even downright discouraging when you still have trouble understanding what you’re hearing. Here are some tips to help you improve your Mandarin listening comprehension.
There are many ways to improve your Chinese listening. The most effective way is using the Internet. There are plenty of Mandarin learning resources online and many are low cost and convenient. You can even study online with real teachers if you can’t travel to China.
Many textbooks include CDs and it can be helpful to listen to them. However, many of my students have told me that even after listening, they still don’t know what’s going on. My recommendation is to listen actively. The first time through just listen. The second time write down a key phrase and attempt to get the overall meaning. The third time, listen for nuance and verify the meaning. The last step is to retell the story your own words. This kind of repetition helps to build memory and fluency.
Many students enjoy listening to Chinese music. Learning to sing along with a few songs can improve your listening skills—and it doesn’t matter if you’re not a good singer! Learn the lyrics and follow along as well as you can until it seems natural to you. The first song will be the hardest, and you’ll get better after that.
Why limit yourself to just one method? Get some Chinese friends, get a book or two, watch a movie, learn a song… and watch your Mandarin listening ability grow.
I'm currently work as Mandarin teacher at Hanbridge Mandarin school. More about me: http://www.hanbridgemandarin.com/author/mollan
Nice post - wanted to add a couple of suggestions. One I've just found is 懒人听书 (Lazy Person Audio Books). It's an iPhone app that comes loaded with tonnes of Chinese stories. For beginners there are lots of kid's books. Really useful if you are looking for massive volumes of listening material! Second, https://sensiblechinese.com/learning_resources/ has a bunch of other resources (listening and otherwise) that are useful. Third, there's another app called DuoMi. It's kind of like Spotify for Chinese music. The best thing about it is that the songs come with karaoke style annotations, allowing you to read along as you listen (or sing!). A useful addition for making music listening more active practice.
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