priming with easy audio

Right now i’m trying to read a fairly difficult book in german, and i’ve been looking for ways to make it a bit easier to understand, and i just happen to have stumbled upon just such a trick. What i accidentally did was listen to 1 solid hour of Assimil German, which is pretty easy for me (at least in the beginner sections). Listening to a solid hour of german conversations that were 95% understandable has apparently flipped my brain into german mode.

After this hour of solid listening (with intense concentration to make sure i understood everything precisely), i then proceeded to read my fantasy novel, Der Abschiedsstein. Wow, what a difference. I’m trying to read in a flowing manner, with no dictionary and no breaks to lookup words at all. Just keep going constantly….and it’s working! I’m getting much more of the story, and guessing many more words than previously. I can just skip past the words i don’t know and keep going, and it feels fine. My inner german monologue comes much easier, with good imagined pronunciation.

Two things specifically have changed: 1) the flow is much better…i can glide through it smoothly. 2) i get more words from context, just guessing. It’s weird to see such a noticeable change in my comprehension just from doing an hour of intensive listening. I need to try this every time. I can’t wait for my audiobooks to arrive, since this effect may perhaps be magnified if i can do several hours of Listening-Reading where the audio matches the book. This seems like really preliminary evidence that the L-R folks are right about half on hour per day being not that helpful, and 3+ hours per day being the sweet spot. You need a definite period of warm-up action, and then your brain goes into overdrive and dives right in. I’ll be testing this theory more in the coming weeks.

Here are my latest stats for german:

  • Sentences in Anki: 36 (goal: 1000 by the end of June)
  • Words read so far: ~5000 (goal: 1000000 by the end of June)
  • Hours of listening: 1.5 (goal: 100 by the end of June)

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