I’m been thinking about exposure to language versus studying language, and I’m curious as to how you all balance it out. In reflecting, I realize that I’ve a tendency to use the vast majority of my language time on studying the language in some way or another, with little time spent on simple exposure.
An example of this is that I’ve spent relatively little time in just listening to German, with no further agenda. I’ve rarely tuned in to German radio stations or listened to podcasts without the intent to make it into a lesson or study session of some sort. If I have the transcript available, as is the case with podcasts from Deutsche Welle, I’ll print it out and read it as I listen, marking words and structures I don’t recognize. If I don’t have such a transcript, I’ll listen with pen and paper in hand, ready to jot down unknown words.
I’ve done the same thing with written material. I’ve never really just read German news articles, I’ve made them into assignments: usually, I’d go through the article, underlining words I don’t know, with a sheet of paper at my side (or a document open on my computer) to put the definitions and notes on.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with doing this. It’s obviously beneficial to “work” with articles or other materials in your target language. But I think I’ve gone way too far with it, and need to incorporate more simple exposure – just reading and listening to the languages I want to learn, without placing any burden on myself to go further with the activity.
How do you all balance this out? Do you do a lot of listening and reading without actually “studying” the material? No vocabulary lists, no notes? If you do, how beneficial have you found it?