Are you a good listener – in English?
Listening is one of the most difficult parts of learning the English language, we need to be both a good listener and a good talker. If we are not able to understand people; we cannot comprehend the responses we receive to our questions or requests, follow instructions, listen to announcements at airports and stations, or appreciate TV and radio programs.
What effective ways are there to improve your skills as a listener?
A combination of:
- Television viewing.
- Listening to speech on the radio.
- Listening to songs.
- Watching films.
- Receiving dictation.
- Listening to direct or indirect speech.
- Improve your vocabulary
1) Television programmes such as new bulletins, weather forecasts, cartoons with speech, young children’s programmes are useful because you can also get a sense of the context visually.
2) Radio programmes are a little more difficult than those of TV, because there are no images to aid your understanding. Again news bulletins and the weather forecasts can be useful, as can interviews and light drama too.
3) Listening to songs (and singing along too) is a great way to improve your listening abilities. Try to choose slower music with singers whose voices are not drowned out by the music. It is very easy to find the lyrics of most songs on the web at sites such as lyrics.com and many others.
4) By watching a wide variety of English language films, you will hear different accents, dialects and voices, some of which may be more easily understood than others. It may surprise you to hear that watching the films without sub-titles is preferable, for the purpose of learning to listen.
5) Receiving dictation is a tried and tested way to improve not only your listening but also you vocabulary too. You could choose to have a good English speaker read or dictate to you, though an alternative method is to try writing the words to a speech or a song as you listen, which is actually quite good fun.
6) Try to spend time in places where English is spoken or in the company of English friends or colleagues. Even if you are not directly involved in the conversation, you will recognise words and phrases that are used. Persevere and slowly but surely you will understand more and more English.
7) The better your vocabulary is the more words will be able to recognise and understand. Set yourself a target to learn a certain number of words everyday. It does not matter how many, as even one new word learnt a day, means that by the end of the week you will know seven new English words. Obviously it is more difficult, but seven new words each day equates to over two-hundred new words of English added to your personal vocabulary knowledge every month.