Enhancing Second Language Acquisition by a Focus on Listening Comprehension: The Potential of the Cassette*


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    This article is based on a workshop which the authors conducted at the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, 17–20 April 1980, in New York. Because of the nature of the original presentation, the emphasis of the paper is on practical experiences gained in using cassettes for listening comprehension in courses of French and German at Georgetown University.


Abstract  Based on extensive insights from the foreign language classroom as well as recent studies in psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, and semantics, the authors plead for more emphasis on active listening comprehension as a prerequisite for oral communication in a foreign language. The not-sufficiently-recognized potential of text-independent language cassettes for enhancing active listening comprehension is discussed. The paper presents numerous samples of excellent cassette materials and illustrates their varied use at different levels of instruction in French and German. The article concludes with some reflections on expanding and enriching the student's education through active listening in a foreign language.