Podcasts: Slow it down
I’ve had a bit of a change in my schedule lately which means that I have a much longer commute than before. I hate getting up early in the morning, but I’ve been trying to look at the upside – I have more time before and after work to listen to music, catch up on news, watch TV, or, most importantly, work on my language study. I’ve been flicking through some flashcards on the subway, and also listening to some language podcasts (right now I’m listening to Chinese Lessons by Serge Melnyk and lessons from Popup Chinese).
I’ve never really taken advantage of the speed adjustment on my iPod Touch before, but I was listening to a dialogue the other day that was just that little bit too fast. I slowed it down to half speed and tried again. It was a little bit jumpy, but generally worked quite well. After listening to that specific dialogue a couple of times at half speed, I changed it back to normal and it was fairly comprehensible. I also made use of the little go back button (I don’t know what it’s actually called) which jumps you back 30 seconds instead of having to try to rewind with the slider. I still haven’t found a use for the 2x speed, but maybe it would be a slightly more accurate way to cue up the part of the podcast you need.
For intermediate and advanced learners, perhaps this function will allow you to subscribe to podcasts completely in your target language. There are podcasts about pretty much anything these days, so it is another great way to integrate your language and your interests. If the speakers go too fast, slow it down for the first couple of listens, and then see if you can understand the regular speed. Try news programs for a slightly slower pace.
Unfortunately this function doesn’t exist for regular audio files or voice memos (just podcasts) on iPod, so it’s not that useful for your own recordings. If anyone knows of any apps or other players that can get around this, drop me a note in the comments.