Language Tutor Tells-All: Listening Comprehension

Posted by Sophie Pauze on 7/9/12, 3:49 PM

language learning, language tutorDreaming of a trip to Florence…Toulouse…Shanghai…Munich….Barcelona….? Language instructors share tips & resources: 

Don't know the language? Hola...Ni Hao...Bonjour...Ciao...Guttentag...Fear Not!

Many jetsetters are limited by their linguistic abilities and intimidated by the prospect of navigating a new country without the tools to do so.

Any language tutor will tell you: To get accustomed to a new language, the first step is develop your listening comprehension.

There are some great ways to start comprehending a new language that don’t cramp your style, don’t require any "work", and keep language-learning fun. Easy and portable, these online resources will help you navigate your summer destination.

I. Podcasts are a great way to supplement your language classes. Immerse yourself in German as you stroll through Harvard Square, or Mandarin as you walk down Lexington Avenue. Podcasts are tailored by level. Whether you are a new language student or a seasoned linguist, there is something out there for you:

II. Local & Regional Newspapers
For intermediate language students, daily newspapers are a great way to follow current events in your new language, while advancing your reading comprehension:

There are also tons of newspapers published in the United States that cater to bilingual populations. Find these daily publications around NYC , Boston or online, to get local news in your target language.

  • Tip: Highlight or make a list of the words you do not recognize as you read. Don’t stop to look them up immediately. Finish the article and see how much you can understand without the dictionary. Then, look up the words, and re-read. This process may seem repetitive, but it asks your brain to work a bit more actively, and will yield results!

III. Music
Some musicians are particularly easy to listen to in their native tongue. Listening to music will get you comfortable hearing your target language and help your comprehensions.  While you’re at it, you’ll expand your knowledge of colloquial vernacular and regional slang.  

  • Tip: Look up the lyrics in English before starting so you have a sense of the meaning of the song before you start listening. This will make it easier to recognize vocabulary.


  • Manu Chao
  • Shakira
  • Mana
  • Browse Spanish radio stations here to check out current hits! 


  • Edit Piaf
  • Johnny Halliday
  • Alizee
  • Browse French radio stations here to check out current hits! 


  • Giorgia
  • Jovanotti
  • Zucchero
  • Browse Italian radio stations here to check out current hits! 


  • Roy Black
  • Rammstein
  • 200 Sachen
  • Browse German radio stations here to check out current hits!

Share your language-learning suggestions here by posting a comment.

Tags: language learning