World music revelation, Oum talks about her favourite public, Morocco and the vibrant heritage which fuels her work
Learn French with youtube interviews
Youtube is a fantastic way to find listening material to improve your French listening skills.
When designing a listening exercise for learners, teachers look for ‘graded material': the difficulty of the language used should be no more than 1 level above the learners level.
Unfortunately, this excludes much ‘natural’ material.
So the other option is to provide support for the learner, to ‘level the playing field’.
This support is easily accessible on youtube through the CC option more popularly known as subtitles.
For supported languages, voice recognition software provide an automatic transcript in the source language.
Which is the first help the learners get. So even if the language is of an advanced level, we could reach an intermediate audience.
Why are subtitles important
Listening is not hearing. Hearing is passive, listening is active. You hear something, but you listen FOR something: you seek, you ‘look for’, but with your ear.
But how can we check we have understood correctly? With subtitles.
How accurate are they
Quality clearly varies, but as with many other computer interpretation of human communication, the SISO rule still applies. Nonetheless, there is much material of excellent quality available. If you find a video you’ve found useful, please share as comment.
Subtitles in other languages
Yes! Through the huge grinding of the google machine in the cloud, some subtitles are automatically translated in a handful of languages.
How accurate is the translation of subtitles
Excellent question. I sideline as a professional translator so have naturally kept a keen eye on googletranslate. It’s got a lot better since I started tracking it 10 years ago. It’s about 85% accurate on the whole. This is obviously a gross estimate, and quality varies wildly but there are some excellent results also.
So, now what
Listening to a video
How long should the video be?
Less is more and small is beautiful. Seriously. Training your ear to look for something means focusing on very short, specific pieces of language.
Watching/listening to anything longer than 15 minutes in a foreign language can become very taxing, focus gets lost, and learning becomes more passive.
So either choose something really short or break down the listening into section. It’s also possible to filter youtube searches and explore only videos shorter than a set number of minutes.
In this video here, for example, which is 10:42 minutes long, Oum answers five distinct questions, so roughly 2 minutes per question
00:40 Quel est le public qui vous a le plus marqué?
00:40 Which audience have you been most impressed by?
02:43 Et le Marocain?
02:43 What about your Moroccan audience?
04:04 Pourquoi les autres passent toujours avant Oum?
04:04 Why do others always come before Oum?
06:16 Que represente Targalte pour Oum?
08:47 Votre mission est d’emporter avec vous un bout de M’Hamid?
08:47 Your mission is to take with you a piece of M’Hamid?