Monday, August 21, 2006

Training for Thai

135 hours:

A few weeks ago, AJ wrote a great motivational post entitled, "Learn a Language, Get in Shape!", pointing out how L2 input and physical exercise can be done at the same time.

I recently started training for the Seattle half-marathon, which will take place in November. My times in previous half-marathons have been slow, but I'm quite content to get some exercise, enjoy the race, and finish without injury. If I'm lucky, I may even take a few minutes off of my personal record.

Running provides a great opportunity to listen to Thai language mp3s. I'm running for a half-hour a few times per week, plus a longer run on the weekend, so the hours accumulate quickly.

I've had to solve a few issues. The main one is that ambient noise like wind or traffic is a big obstacle to comprehension. Since I value my hearing, I don't want to compensate for ambient noise by turning up the volume. I never noticed a problem with ambient noise while listening to NPR podcasts or English talking books, so I must be much better at unconsciously filling in gaps in English.

After a number of experiments, I'm now using a pair of Sony earbuds which cut down considerably on ambient noise. It also helps to listen to short, 1-5 minute segments over and over, rather than trying to listen to an entire newscast. This enables me to follow the thread even when a few words are lost.

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