Have you ever laughed --- either openly or secretly --- at the idea of people who aren’t blind listening to “books on tape,” or audiobooks as we now accurately call them? You might have thought them as lesser for listening to audiobooks instead of reading with their own eyes, but if this is the case then you should rethink that attitude. Audiobooks are, in fact, one of the most invaluable learning tools that we have outside of our classrooms.
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In today’s blog, we’re looking at the different ways in which audiobooks can help you learn a foreign language.
1. Vocabulary, Grammar AND Pronunciation
Not only is an audiobook a veritable treasure trove of vocabulary and grammar knowledge, much like a regular novel, but it also has the added bonus of being able to demonstrate the correct pronunciation of the words, and intonation of the phrases.
You’ll hear all the complex words read out clearly by the voice actor hired to read the book, and also how to level your voice and distribute intonation throughout each sentence. You can then pause the audiobook and repeat back language that you think is useful, and all from the comfort of your couch, or bed! These are things that a regular novel simply cannot do.
2. See How Vocabulary and Grammar are Used Naturally
Both paper and audiobooks have the advantage of demonstrating to learners how various language patterns, vocabulary and grammatical structures are used in a natural way. Since many learners restrict themselves too tightly to textbooks, they are only ever exposed to purposefully written dialog and reading text that is designed only to teach a specific language point.
An audiobook solves this problem. The writer of that book didn’t create it necessarily with language learners in mind. It’s written for the native-speaking audience, and any others who know the language well enough to understand and appreciate it. This kind of reinforcement is far superior to any other you can receive.
3. Allows You to Be Learning in Your Downtime
Next, audiobooks are great for learning “on the go.” You could be commuting to work on the subway, or riding the bus, or even driving your car. An audiobook can be playing in the background, feeding you with listening practice and new vocabulary, thus nourishing your language learning appetite.
It’s easy to take out your ear buds, click play on your audiobook and get even just a few minutes of practice whenever you can or want. There’s no preparation needed, nor any additional tools. It’s instant learning for whenever you are in downtime mode and in need of something constructive to do.
4. The Perfect Way to Add New Vocabulary Every Day
To build your language skills over time, you need to get at least a little practice and gain a little new knowledge every single day. Those who try to cram in too much in too short a period of time often end up forgetting what they’ve learned.
An audiobook is a resource that comes pre-divided into digestible chunks and allows you to easily guarantee that you can spend at least a little time each day learning and practicing your target language. You can just listen, you can listen and repeat, you can listen and make notes, you can listen and just take down 3 new words that you didn’t know before. In whatever way you look at it, it’s beneficial to you.
5. It’s Fun!
When learning can be made more enjoyable, it’s more effective because you start learning a large amount of knowledge without even knowing it. One big obstacle to learning is when it becomes a real conscious effort and strain. You end up becoming more focused on how difficult it is rather than the language you’re meant to be learning.
Audiobooks make language learning fun! You get to enjoy a good story while at the same time picking up new words and grammar structures to add to your growing repertoire of knowledge. It’s easier to benefit from learning when you don’t even know you’re doing it.
6. Massive Variety
Finally, there’s basically no limit on the number and type of audiobooks that are out there, with more being made all the time. Listening to audiobooks of different genres will help teach you different kinds of language, and also help to better illustrate the culture, history, art and humor of your target language. When you can understand and appreciate that language better, then you have a better chance of learning it better.
Conclusion: A Great Learning Experience
In short, it’s impossible to deny the immense value of audiobooks when it comes to learning another language. Perhaps the best thing is that if you have a smartphone and valid payment method attached, you have all the tools that you need to start exploiting this learning channel as quickly as possible. Start listening and experience the benefits almost immediately.
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