My experience on using Clozemaster for listening comprehension

I’ve only been working on this for less than a week, but I’ve had such overwhelming success so far I thought I had to share.

I’ve been trying to learn Spanish over the national lockdowns here in the UK. Out of reading, writing, listening and speaking, listening is definitely my weakest point. Everything just sounds like a rapid-fire machine gun of syllables. Last week I read up a few language learning forums for advice on this and someone wrote that people learning English as a foreign language (EFL) get the same feeling listening to full speed English and referred to it as the “Mairzy Doats effect”:
“Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey” ← what an EFL learner hears
“Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy” ← what a native English speaker hears

I figured what I needed to work on was identifying words from the stream of syllables. I’ve been working my way through the most common words lists, selecting the “listening” skill in “text input” mode. The audio is played at 100% speed and I get to hear the audio only once. Sentence comprehension isn’t important, only trying to guess what the cloze word was based on what I remember the audio sounded like from that one, single play through. If I get it wrong, I play the audio over and over again without looking at the text on the screen until I can identify each and every word (again, comprehension not a priority).

I’m not going to lie, it was outrageously hard the first day and I had to reduce the speed to 75% at the start. But even by two day I was up to 100% speed and making really good progress. It didn’t take long to get through the “100 Most Common” list. I’m currently about half way through the “500 Most Common” list. Today, for reviewing “100 Most Common” sentences, I was able to increase the audio speed to 125% and had no difficulty at all!

Despite only focusing only on identifying words from syllables, my listening comprehension has improved dramatically. For the first time ever, I’ve been able to watch kid’s cartoons on Netflix in Spanish without subtitles. I have nothing to back this up but what it feels like to me is, since I only get one chance to listen to the sentence spoken at full speed, I don’t have the time to slowly translate what I hear into English bit-by-bit like I used to. Instead I’ve been forcing myself to understand what was said in Spanish to have a chance of remembering what the cloze word is. For example, the word “pensar” isn’t “Spanish for ‘to think’” in my head any more, it’s simply “pensar”. This probably isn’t a massive revelation for many people, but it is for me! This isn’t the case with every single word, but it is for a great majority now.

I’ve got 3 and half more weeks of Pro remaining. I aim to get at least complete up to and including the “1000 Most Common” list. When I complete the “1000 Most Common”, I plan to simply stick with reviewing from then on and just keep upping the speed to increase the challenge rather than adding more sentences.

Again, this is very earlier days, but I’m so excited about this that I was compelled to write this all out! xD

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Ciao One.Month! I really enjoyed reading your post particularly where you’ve started to “think Spanish”. I love this site and its pace, and it has emphasised how much more is gained by thinking in the language you’re learning rather than translating every other word. The door is always la porta these days, and the duck is always l’anatra! Happy learning, hope you stay with ClozeM.

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I’m no master, but you begin to feel for the language, you’ll notice things ‘don’t sound right’ or it ‘isn’t the right word.’

Clozemaster was the best purchase in language learning I’ve ever made, bar none. I bought the lifetime subscription and I really look forward to what I’ll learn over the future :slight_smile:

A few things that really helped me:

  • Don’t question it, it is what it is. I always caught myself asking WHY? THIS DOESN’T MAKE SENSE! then I’d get frustrated or feel stupid. For me in my native English, I don’t know grammar at all. When you look at subjunctive cases or formulas/rules, it simply doesn’t work for me. I don’t learn that way, and it took me YEARS of mistakes to find a groove with Clozemaster and HOW I need to learn.

  • Go easy on yourself. Even if you do 5 sentences a day, that’s five you didn’t do before. Over a year, that’s 1825 words/sentences you didn’t know before. Progress in any way, is progress.

  • DO NOT BE SCARED TO MAKE MISTAKES. YOU’RE LITERALLY LEARNING ANOTHER LANGUAGE. Speak, write, browse. It will be uncomfortable at times…then it won’t be! The goal is communication. You’re going to have ups and downs, but there will be a day (like the experience you had) where even the smallest things ‘click’ and you get excited. You should be! The amount of friends and experiences you’ll make with just another language is life changing; so much so I wish I started at birth! I wouldn’t have ANY of the experiences or friends I have now without that first experience, mistake, etc. You’ll come a long way from “Gracias” or “Hola”

I’ve had plenty of Mexican restaurants give me free food, I’ve translated situations to help people in need, made people cry happily realizing we could communicate and they weren’t alone. Do I consider myself fluent? Maybe someday. You’ll look back at all the crazy experiences and laugh. Just a few words can open entirely new worlds.

  • Find things that interest you or to get excited about. If you’re not sure, just think about your most watched youtube/netflix stuff…and switch the language! I love cars, engineering, cooking shows, finance, and music. It’s stuff I use every day, so it doesn’t feel strained or I HAVE to do a lesson. It’s just fun, like a big puzzle.

Happy to hear your progress and keep us updated :slight_smile:

There’s a good community here and everyone is really helpful. We’ll assist in any way we can!

-Jordan

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Great post, it is what it is - couldn’t have put it better. The rewards peoplewise when learning a language are immense - our Italian club is a pleasure, a great way to share the learning and invaluable during these lock-down times.

To feel at home in Venice is a joy, and to have understood what a frustrated gondoliere said under his breath rewarded us with a non-tourist journey round the hidden waters of Venice. We greet each other every March tho this is on hold for a while. Perhaps next year, we hope!

To feel part of, and understand, a different culture is reward in itself for recognising the congiuntivo and getting to grips with Italian clitics. ClozeM certainly gets a big thank you from me :wink:

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