Most people find reading a foreign language to be much easier than listening to a foreign language. Reading is easier for several reasons, the most important two of which are:

  • Listening generally happens around 150+ words per minute, reading is at whatever speed you need it to be
  • With reading you can go back and re-read easily to work something out, often with listening going back is harder to do

My current goal for my Italian is to find listening to Italian almost as easy (words I don’t know to one side) as listening to English. I’ve come up with a nice exercise to help me. I watch a tv show with the sound off and Italian subtitles on and I try to understand what is being said without pausing the video. It’s a nice practice – try it! And if you pick the right movie or programme then you are having fun while improving your language skills

The reason I am so keen to reach the point of being able to listen to Italian successfully and easily is so I can maintain my Italian at an almost zero time cost as when I want to relax I can just pop an audio book in Italian on to my phone and enjoy the story. I can do that while travelling, exercising, cooking, waiting for the bus and in many other moments when I might otherwise find myself looking for something with which to occupy my mind.