Radio Days, Days of Radio

It’s been a while since I’ve posted something. It’s been another busy year. So, here’s a quick post to get me back on track. Recently at a work dinner, I was speaking about language learning and a shared ambition to learn new languages with colleagues from other universities. After reflecting on the many reasons for learning languages and listing off the languages we want to venture into next (and why), we started to compare learning tips. The one I want to share is simple, especially if you are a radio fan. Put the radio on in the language you want to learn. So far so obvious, you may think. However, for me, I have only ever thought of using radio as a way of active listening, which means parsing what has been said and puzzling over meaning. All of which can be useful, but sometimes frustrating and stressful. The suggestion is to play radio in the background of your everyday life and let the language slowly make sense to you. Let the rhythms, cadence, and musicality of it wash over you, and observe how it starts to become more than sounds and to form meaning. For me, to understand radio was to be fluent and was something to leave until you were confident. Instead, this trick is a way of letting the words find you and not to stress about the detail. Although, I’ve now found my way to a pretty good comprehension of Portuguese, I’ve taken this tip on board and done some casual listening whilst carrying out everyday tasks. It was quite pleasurable and, rather than seek out words, I found myself hearing patterns, revising linking words and connectives, and just enjoying being immersed. Try it, no matter your level.

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