A foreign language sounds like a constant buzz to the new speaker. It can be very disappointing trying to get a message and not being able to, we normally blame ourselves or the speakers maybe, which is worse… Is there any solution?
In our SuperBaby series we’ve read how she dealt with language learning by listening all the time, no matter whether she understood or not. Babies find very normal not to understand as they don’t even know the level of communication involved.
Our own barrier
If you’ve been studying a language, your task during a listening activity or just speaking to somebody in that language is simple. You must try to get as much as you can.
Unless you have a hearing problem, your ears are not the problem, it is your brain. You become anxious because you don’t understand, and the more anxious you become, the less you understand.
After this, you brain starts thinking in your own language, and that is the moment in which it fully disconnect from the second language that you are listening and listening becomes impossible.
Despite the fact there are many words of terms you don’t know, inside you there can be a barrier that blocks the words and sentences you are able to understand.
Babies are innocent, and they pay attention to absolutely everything around them. They are capable of a total focus on the task, which helps them a lot.
But there’s something that helps them a lot, and that is what I mentioned previously. Babies can get the meaning of a speech in a very simplistic way, like understanding whether the speaker is angry or happy.
That innocent feature allow them to relax and so on they never have that barrier that blocks us, grown-ups. When you are relaxed, your brain uses another tool, intuition.
A matter of equilibrium
Your balance resides inside your ear. It is not a very common thing but it has been researched that bad balancers get some problems when they’re listening. A simple solution would just be to lean on a wall.
But the balance we’re really looking for is a different one, we should balance our expectations and fear with our positive features.
We cannot listen and understand everything, but we can listen and understand something, right? It may seem very difficult, but you’ll become much better if you do it.
Focus on what you understand. Ignore what you don’t.
I know you need more, I know you may feel like losing it all… but it is actually a very good way to start isn’t it?
Babies do it that way and they seem to be doing very well don’t they?
Babies need a year or so to start producing their first conscious messages. They have just understood those messages have a meaning and that they should use them accordingly.
Before that, how long have they been listening? 24/7 for a year… you have some advantage really as you are much more experienced and you’re not learning how to control your five senses, but you need to practice a lot.
You need to listen as much as you can. It is very easy nowadays, people necessarily had to go to a different nation before, but internet has solved that need.
Musci, soap-operas, films, skype conversations, blogs… I know some people read this blog to learn English, fair enough!
What about watching football matches in a different language? There’s the world cup in Brazil so soon, I think it could work for many of you.