In addition to my active speaking/writing skills, I want to improve my listening skills, too. My husband and I speak a little bit together, but I don’t want to subject him to even more of me asking, “Can you repeat that?” and “Can you say that a little more slowly?” and “What was that last word you said?” So I started looking for other ways to practice listening to Farsi.
I love artists like Dariush, Googoosh, and Faramarz Aslani — I certainly listen to their music (and others) and it’s fun to look up the lyrics. But that’s not really the same as listening to someone speaking, and trying to understand them that way.
It’s pretty hard to find good resources for listening. I found a couple podcasts like Learn Persian with Chai and Conversation and PersianPod101, and I’d recommend them if you’re interesting in audio learning. But they aren’t really designed for immersive listening practice. What I wanted was something like the Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten I listened to while learning German, to allow me to practice my listening skills but not get overwhelmed by fast speakers.
Today a lightbulb went off in my head, and I found a great combination:
- The BBC Persian Radio podcast, which has a new episode daily with relevant world news
- The Overcast iOS app, a podcast player with premium features that include changing the playback speed without distorting the sound
I had tried listening to the BBC Persian podcast before, but they talk too fast for me to really pick up what they are saying. And I’ve used the free features on the Overcast app for ages now. But today I had the bright idea to try out their premium features, and using the playback speed option to slow down the BBC Persian podcast is perfect. Now I can listen to the news every day at a slow enough speed that I can pick out the individual words and start to understand what they are saying. (The £3.99 price tag for those premium features was totally worth it to me.)
So now I’m on the lookout for other Persian podcasts to add to my playlist. Do you have any recommendations?