You have a good vocabulary. You have good grammar. So why are you still daunted when you hear a native Persian speaker on the television, radio, or in conversation? There is no doubt that listening to and understanding a native speaker can be an unsettling experience for students of Persian. Please don’t worry, there are simple things you can do to feel more at ease in the situation. Here are 10 tips that can help make the listening experience not only productive but also enjoyable.
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1. Ask us to slow down
2. Listen for keywords
Remember that it’s not necessary to understand every Persian word. Actually, the important thing is to pay attention to keywords so that you can get the gist, or general idea, of what is being said. For example, if you can catchwords like “اقتصاد”, “ایران”, “مشکل”, in a news report you already have the basic idea of what is going on. Maybe keywords repeated or said in a different voice. If it is possible, write them down if this will help you further.
3. Pay attention to context
Common sense is very useful when trying to understand a foreign language. In fact, it is important to always bear in mind the context of what is being said. Let us tell you an English example. For example, in a news report about farming, if you are unsure, it is more likely that the word herd is being used in reference to a group of cattle (cows) rather than the verb heard.
4. Work constantly on your vocabulary
Keeping a notebook or a folder on your computer with Persian vocabulary (and constantly updating this list) will be a big help when it comes to understanding native speakers when they speak.
5. Turn off the subtitles
You will pay better attention to what is being said if you turn off the subtitles in your native language when watching Iranian movies or series. Subtitles can be great to help us understand difficult words and even slang. However, it is important not to over-rely on them and to get used to watching movies in Persian without them.
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6. Start easy
Don’t be afraid to start with easy options such as music that repeat the same words or programs that are aimed towards children. Once you feel comfortable with this level, you can then proceed to more complex Persian.
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. The best way to improve your Persian listening skills is to practice them regularly. Even finding Persian videos on the internet, playing them a few times, pausing when necessary to consult a dictionary is a great idea to improve your comprehension and to make you feel more relaxed about understanding Persian spoken by native speakers.
8. Put Persian on your mobile
Why not download a novel on your mobile? You can improve your Persian while you run or take the train to work. If you are listening to something you enjoy, surely you will learn a lot faster!
9. Get your Persian speaking friends to speak to you in Persian
If you are uneasy when hearing native Persian, a great way to overcome this is to practice with native Persian-speaking friends. Most will be more than happy to speak to you in their mother tongue and even explain difficult words should you have problems.
10. Take it Easy!
Actually, the worst thing you can do in a listening situation is become stressed. Maybe you lose your focus and miss keywords that otherwise you would have heard. Take deep breaths if you find yourself becoming overwhelmed and please remember to keep listening!