Hi, I just finished your survey and forgot to add the following to your concluding general question: I answered the frequency and duration question with the times I was able to devote when actively studying. Now I'm not studying at all, in part due to other commitments, but in large part out of frustration and discouragement with being unable to discern spoken French words because everywhere I turn, in person, recordings, and the web, they are spoken too fast for me to discern, let alone comprehend.

* Originally posted by jfcowan.

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  • Thank you very much for filling out the survey! And we appreciate this additional note; I've given it to the team in charge of reviewing our survey responses, and we're grateful for your input!
    ~Lauren, Gabe's assistant

    * Originally posted by Gabriel Wyner.
  • At the risk of a pun/jeu de mots, Hear, Hear! to @jfcowan.

    I suspect that, like me, you can read French fluently, speak comfortably if not fluently, and can also write a little. But when a French person replies (or you try to watch the TV news or a film), it's a blur. I still remember a couple of decades ago, asking a well-crafted question at a railway ticket office in France, only to be overwhelmed by the response – he must have thought my French was reasonable! But my children next to me, who had much, much less exposure to French than I did (but had been going to an international school and mixing with French children), immediately understood the reply, basically osmotically. That frustration remains, unless the person I'm speaking with enunciates clearly and relatively slowly. Then I basically get 100%.

    Of course part of this is to do with age, but I know this part of my brain could be improved over time with effort on my part, provided I could get hold of reasonable, graded resources (these seem hard to find, or else are expensive and promise the earth). Let's face it, people migrate to other countries relatively late in life, and the one thing they usually attain is oral comprehension, even if they remain illiterate and speak with strong accents. Alternatively, I could get on italki and work up better aural comprehension for the next time I go to France – but that might not happen.

    * Originally posted by Lance.
  • I have the same problem in my target language which is Mandarin. I've found something that really helps.

    Find a television show or movie in your target language that has subtitles in your target language. Then you can watch the show, pausing and repeating each line. Read the subtitles so that your brain knows what to expect to hear and then listen repeatedly until you can hear it. I've got a couple of shows that I do this with. There is one character in particular that I have a lot of trouble understanding. I almost feel like he's mumbling or something. Doing this technique over and over again really helps me pick out what he's saying.

    * Originally posted by Hacksaw.
  • I read an article recently, it explained that Listening Comprehension is the hardest component of learning any language. And that it can't be faked. It is the one thing that has no short cut except diligence and time. The article went on to comment on Listening Comprehension being the real test for self proclaimed polyglots- they may know vocab, how to read a bit, how to pronounce - but can they be thrown in a foreign situation with a native and comprehend on the spot? I recall in Gabe's 'hacking fluent forever' blog post, https://fluent-forever.com/hacking-fluent-forever/
    one asks the tutor to state the phrase at slow learning speed and to repeat again at full conversational speed as there is a significant difference.
    I mention this as a gesture of reassurance. For me it was an encouraging insight. It's not just you - it's not the language - it's just the biggest point of resistance to persist with. like waves on the beach eroding the sand. Keep going!

    * Originally posted by Meher Baba.

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