Chinese Language Learning – How to improve listening comprehension for regular conversation/unscripted stuff?

This past year I did a lot of listening while reading, and relistening multiple times to stuff I’d read before, which both helped my listening skills a lot. I also listen to condensed audio of shows I’ve seen that I liked, which has helped with my listening skills. But audiobooks and show audio (all that sort or scripted clearly pronounced stuff) is not how regular conversations sound. When I listen to podcasts I find it difficult to figure out the main idea or topic or what’s being said, when I have conversations with people it’s likewise more difficult, even if I know a lot of the words they’re saying. Because I don’t have context the way a show let’s you know setting/general topic visually, a audiobook gives you context description and setup, a regular conversation (or podcast or livestream) might bounce from topic to topic randomly because it’s how people actually talk. And in regular conversation people don’t always pronounce as clearly as in audiobooks and shows, there’s local accents and just less clear pronunciation.

I am wondering how I could work on studying specifically to get better listening comprehension for regular conversational stuff like conversations in person, listening to podcasts, watching livestreams.

I was thinking maybe watching shows that are more like reality TV might be helpful (like The Truth) since they’re a bit less scripted and more talking that is people discussing stuff and unsure of stuff (so not direct like scripts and topics changing more). Since reality TV type shows still have subs, so I could try watching with subs (to ensure I recognize the words I know) and then without (no subs as crutches).

I have been watching livestreams lately and it made me realize how much worse I am at following regular kinds of talking compared to scripted stuff. I was thinking maybe just brute force listening to livestreams more may help, but with no subtitles (obviously lol its live) I basically just guess if the word that sounded familiar is what I think it was (since topic frequently changes and local accents make it sound less like I’m used to in shows) then every few minutes catch a couple sentences I think I understood so I get some context for the topic, then topic changes and I get lost again and repeat. I am a bit concerned if I just try to brute force watch livestreams more (or podcasts where I don’t even have facial expression to help me figure out the topic) then improving might be slower than doing something else. (Like with audiobooks… listening while reading, then listening more Afterward improved my audiobook comprehension overall of all scripted audio faster than when I was just brute forcing audiobook listening with no text-with-audio preparation). In conversation with others this listening is easier as I can ask if they meant X when something sounds a bit different (like more -er endings than I’m used to etc) or if topic suddenly shifted I can ask “Hey are we talking about X now”. But I can’t do those things when listening to podcasts livestreams etc so I’m not sure how to improve listening comprehension for those.

I’m wondering how other people improved in this listening area?

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  1. sheidou November 12, 2022
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