Balancing Skills: First up Listening

We all have a skill when learning a language that outpaces the rest. There are many reasons for this: convenience, interest, personality and more!

I've always enjoyed Chinese characters. It was the one part of Chinese that really stood out for me at first. It was just incredible to see such a different script, and learn to understand the uniqueness of it. That's why I did my Master's research in learning Chinese characters, and also created Hanzicraft.

This lead me to outpace my reading & character recognition way beyond my other skills.

However, now that I've started up with my learning again, I want to balance things out a bit more. I want to improve my listening, speaking & writing.

Listening Up First

I'm choosing to improve my listening as the first skill. There are a few motivations for this:

1) Right now it's a bit tricky for me to find a way & time to practice my speaking. Spending a bit each morning listening to content fits really well with my current routine.
2) Understanding spoken Chinese is something that I feel could give me a nice confidence boost when moving towards to speaking + writing.
3) I would love to be able to consume more native speaking level content without feeling completely lost.

Goal

When it comes to a goal I would like to achieve, it is the last point mentioned above: be more comfortable in consuming native speaking content.

I remember in 2012 watching 那些年,我們一起追的女孩 and being so lost. After living in Taipei last year, the movie feels a lot better, but I realize that I still rely a lot on reading the Chinese subtitles. This is something I want to move away from, at least in a way to increase my listening skill.s

I took part in Hacking Chinese's listening challenge in October. This was a great way to flex those listening and push myself. I failed with my goal of 10 hours in 3 weeks. The last week, life happened and I couldn't push through the last hurdle.

My current routine is trying to spend 30minutes each morning to listen to Chinese content. Here are my go-to ones for now:

1) ChinesePod Intermediate dialogues (just the dialogues)
2) Slow-Chinese
3) 鏘鏘三人行

They all have different styles & levels. The last one there is a bit beyond my level of Chinese. I found it also on Hacking Chinese's listening resources post. It's such a great talk show on so many topics! This is exactly the kind of content I want to be able to consume. Although I can follow the trend of the shows, I use it as a benchmark for reaching towards. Sometimes I can follow whole sections, then suddenly be lost.

Do you have other awesome content you use for listening? I'd love to hear those! What is your current goal? Are you focusing on a skill as well?