I’m trying to improve my listening skills - because I understand almost nothing of fluent Welsh!
I noticed on the forum the advice is usually not to use subtitles or transcriptions.
I’m sure this helps to get the right sound or “music” of spoken language from native speakers.
But I have a few doubts and questions, based on my experience so far.
If I listen to a random clip on the radio for the first time, I understand just a few scattered words that I heard in the challenges or in the songs or among “words of the day” before.
I usually don’t even understand what the topic is, unless there happen to be enough Welsh words that sound almost like English or latin - which allow me at least to guess that.
If I listen to the same clip several times, maybe also after weeks…nothing changes.
Also, it’s almost impossible for me to keep my attention focused for more than 5 minutes and in general it’s very frustrating and exhausting!
A random TV clip of course is easier in general because
- I can see what’s going on and get helpful hints to guess the topic
- Dialogues and sentences are usually shorter that make them a bit easier to follow
In any case, without subtitles I don’t understand many more words than in radio clips - no matter how many times I repeat it.
With Welsh subtitles it’s worse: I waste all my attention and energy trying to follow them, but I don’t understand anything anyway. I can’t even recognize most of familiar words, when they’re written!
With English subtitles, instead:
- my attention doesn’t wander because I can understand what’s going on and it keeps me curious
- I’m able to catch several more familiar words and structures - because when I read the meaning, I know what to expect and it’s easier to hear/identify it.
- If they repeat a new word a few times, I often become able to recognize it from then on, also in other clips and without subtitles
- If I watch the clip again after a few days (without subtitles), I understand most of it - for recipes almost all of it.
I feel a big improvement - compared to the frustration of listening to the radio. And I’m talking about an average of 10-15 minutes a day of practice, not hours!
So what am I missing?
Why “no subtitles” would be preferred?