February 24


5 things you should keep in mind when using an audio language course

By Katharina

February 24, 2020

Do you want to learn a new language with an audio language course? Self-study courses like audio courses and language courses with a high audio proportion are very popular. This is pretty much because you can easily use them on your smartphone, they are flexible and enable learning en passant. You can learn a new language on the way to work, while cooking or doing sports.  In this blog article, you’ll find out what you should keep in mind when learning languages with audio courses.

What you should keep in mind when learning languages with audiobooks, audio courses and other audio recordings:

1. A native speaker is a must for an audio language course

You must choose audiobooks or audio courses that are recorded by native speakers. Perfect pronunciation of the mother tongue is essential because the phonetics of each language are so multifaceted that it is almost impossible for non-native speakers to achieve a completely accent-free pronunciation. This is, however, the goal of every language exercise.

Incidentally, the voice transmits not only information but most importantly, emotion – and it is this emotion that captivates the listener. Also, the voice should sound sympathetic and interesting. Especially when the student works with spoken texts, it should not sound boring or monotonous. The listener should still be interested in what the speaker says even after hearing it 20 times

2. Pay attention to good sound

50 years ago, music had a rich sound. Today, digital audio is compressed so much that it overwhelms the brain. Compression removes sounds that do not influence the listener’s perception. Consciously there is hardly any difference to be heard. But the subconscious cannot be fooled. MP3 music and mobile phone conversations are becoming annoying. It is taken to the extreme when listening on smartphones: these little wonders have reached their limit here. The built-in boxes are low-power.

Have you experienced this too? When the telephone conference with your colleague from Germany only started a few minutes ago, but you’re already unfocused and tired. Studies show that this is often due to poor sound quality. When sounds are affected, it has a measurable effect on our brain. Even if we do not perceive the transmission as disturbed at all. Why is that? In the case of poor sound, almost all central areas of the brain are activated. The brain has to work more, for example, when the person you are talking to is difficult to understand. It tries to close gaps caused by interference or compression of the audio signal. The synapses in the unconsciously activated brain fire more frequently. This action makes us tire faster and can even lead to stress.

3. Motivation is the be-all and end-all

An audio course waits patiently on the shelf. Unlike learning apps, you will not receive reminder emails or get rewarded with points for achieved goals. We, therefore, recommend that you think about concrete goals before you start learning: What do you want to achieve? By when do you want to achieve it? You should also plan your learning sessions: When do you plan to learn? Calendar apps, in which you enter your sessions, or note apps, in which you can check off completed learning sessions as “completed”, are well suited here.

Remember: Your brain doesn’t differentiate between weekday and weekend. Of course, there are days when you are less motivated. But what is most important now is to continue. Study at least one 10-minute session daily. This is how you show your brain that you are keeping up and more is coming. (You can find out why you should learn in 10-minute sessions here: 7 Tips for Efficient Learning).

4. Music supports language learning

Sounds and music inevitably arouse emotions: Think of shrill violin sounds that introduce creepy horror movie scenes. Or the gentle tones that underscore a romantic film. Sound effects are also used for film music. Famous example: the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller “Psycho.”

Today we know that not only music but also the sound of a voice touches us emotionally. When it’s good, we prefer to listen, we’re more focused and calm. Take advantage of this same effect when learning languages too!

Music also helps put you in a receptive state. It’s not so much the type of music that’s important (the so-called “Mozart effect” could not be proven), but the individual effect on you. So use your favourite music to get in the mood for learning (music in advance to get you in the right mood or during your study sessions for mental support). Above all, choose music that has a positive influence on you and makes you happy.

5. Repetition with an audio language course

Repetition is the mother of learning success. Practice makes perfect, so you should repeat everything at least three times. After 20 minutes we forget 40 % of what we have learned, and after one hour, half of it. (Based on Hermann Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve. Details here).

Tip: If you have already listened to a text for a few days (preferably day and night), try speaking it yourself. An excellent exercise for this is choral speaking. Play the recording and speak “in chorus.” Alternatively, you can repeat “in echo”, i.e. at a very short interval after the native speaker. Choral speaking is one of the exercises that leads you into “harmony” with the speaker: by speaking and repeating, your brain automatically compares the native speaker’s pronunciation with yours and can almost completely equalize the differences. The more often you do the exercise, the better your pronunciation will be, and the more likely you will avoid a “foreign accent.” If perfect pronunciation is your primary goal, then you should do this exercise even more often.

Finally, one last tip: Don’t let it get you down! Especially in the beginning, you might not understand anything. If necessary, read through the translation of the text usually supplied with the audio course. The rest comes all by itself by repeating it several times.

Do you know the brain-friendly language courses?

The brain-friendly language courses enable you to learn a foreign language anywhere and anytime. You can watch the MOVIE© on multiple devices: on Windows or Mac devices, mobile devices or TV sets by streaming them online. So, whether you’re at home, in front of your notebook, on the train or at the gym, our brain-friendly language courses are perfect for learning foreign languages intuitively and brain-friendly. Whenever and wherever you want!


About the author

Content Manager and blogger Katharina Rucker has devoted herself to the Birkenbihl Approach for language learning since 2011. Since 2014, she has been working as a freelancer in the field of online marketing: www.rucker-marketing.at

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