Making peace with the Hippo

I’ve been gradually and begrudgingly starting to work out how to get the most out of the Hippo audio for Thai. This is based on a few pointers I got from Terry Hsieh the other day.

I was spending too much time before shadowing the same track, thinking I would wait until I could shadow it perfectly before I moved on to the next one. Diversity is actually key. Hearing the same words repeated in different contexts is an important part of learning them. I had a small “a ha!” moment when I listened to the fourth track a couple days ago and recognized some phrases from tracks one and two. I still don’t know what they mean, but the fact that I recognized them means they’re starting to make an impression.

The story is another important point. No matter how mundane it is, following the story — instead of just hopping around, listening to random middle sections — will help my brain put what I’m hearing in context.

So my new daily practice for Thai is as follows:

  1. Listen to the next recording in Thai. If I listened to track 5 yesterday, I’ll listen to track 6 today.
  2. Listen to the same recording in German. I can usually understand about 80% of the meaning this way. Good enough.
  3. Listen to the Thai track again, on repeat, for about 10 minutes.
  4. Go back and listen to tracks from previous days, each once or twice.

By “listen” I really mean shadow.

Why do I listen to the Thai track once before I figure out what it means? Is this important? I think it’s probably valuable to grapple with the sounds in Thai first, to give my brain a chance to figure out the meaning before it has an official meaning that it’s “supposed to” hear.

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