Sometime back, I wrote about reading in a general sort of way.
At that point, I was interested in being able to read (and nothing else) in Afrikaans. I now want to understand the spoken language.
There was a famous linguist called Kató Lomb who essentially learnt languages by working her way through and deciphering novels, and I originally I wondered if I could do the same with Afrikaans.
And so I slowly read Die ou met die snor by die bar - which gave me a (very) basic knowledge of the language and common grammatical structures.
I'm now equally intrigued in understanding the spoken language - on the radio primarily, and wondered if I could do so by reading and listening to an audio book at the same time.
I've always thought that good comprehension (spoken not written) is a more difficult skill to acquire than speaking, or perhaps it takes more time. For example, I was able to construct sentences in Spanish years before being able to understand the replies.
My current language experiment (as of May 2016) is to slowly read another Afrikaans book, and listen to the associated audio, and at the end, see how much of the radio, that I can understand.
To understand a language, among other things, you need to be able to break down the stream of sound into constituent parts (normally called words). You also need to know what these *words* mean - individually and in sentences - and this you do when reading and listening! (If you are interested in speaking, then you might be interested in these conversational Afrikaans sentences)
The audio book I picked gives me something like nine hours of audio, enough I hope to help tune my ear to the sound of Afrikaans.
None of this is rocket science, and it doesn't require an expensive course, but it certainly requires motivation and interest.