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How do I improve my listening comprehension that is lagging behind other skills?


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About a year ago I moved to a new country (the Netherlands). With the help of Michel Thomas and a bunch of friends, I picked up learning the local language shortly after that, and in general I made some progress I am satisfied with. I can read the newspapers easily, I can read regular books with the occasional help of a dictionary, and I can speak with the locals if they speak clearly. And this is my problem, half of the people speak clearly and slowly enough for me, but with the other half, I don't understand much, I cannot parse even the simple sentences. I tried listening to the radio -- no luck, I can pick up only single words. But on the other hand, I went through several audiobooks and I can make out most of the sentences, and make enough sense of the rest. I feel hopeless at this point, I have no idea what should my next step be. Could anyone recommend something?

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Find some Dutch TV shows where they talk at a conversational speed. Watch/listen to a couple of sentences, pause, go back to before the two sentences, turn subtitles on and see how close your translation was. Then listen to it once more with the correct translation to get a feel for the sounding of the words and a quick tempo.

Remember you're not watching it for your enjoyment, so don't ruin a show you like  :grin:

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  • 1 month later...

I would also  the same thing as Welkom. Practice makes perfect and the more you listen, the more it'll get better and easier for you. You may very well have to eat, live and breathe Dutch for a while. So watching some Dutch TV as well as listening to the radio, should help a lot. It doesn't sound like much, but I honestly think listening to some of the music could also come in handy. I know it worked for me when I was learning Italian. The music wasn't my favourite type of music, but it did the job :)

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Hi there!!  I'm also moving to the Netherlands soon!  I think in your case the best you can do is to keep on practicing the language, if you can listen to dutch podcasts and try to talk with as many natives as often as possible. The only way you can improve your comprehension is listening as much dutch as you can, go to a site like speaky and find a language exchange buddy.

By the way, where in the Netherlands are you located? South or north?  I have noticed for me it's harder to understand the people from the south of the Netherlands.  I was told in the north people speak different dialects. I'm nervous about that.

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