220 VIEWS | 4 MINS READ Wednesday 15 / 01 / 2020
Struggling to understand when listening to people talking in English? This article may help.
Listening means understanding a speaker’s accent, pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, and some other features. Still, find it hard to do? Here are some tips:
It is always good to start from the easiest. BUT, how do we know what is 'easy'?
1.1 First, start with something short
Try listening to a sound clip or a podcast that is not longer than 2 minutes.
On our E-learning platform (Globish Plus), there are tons of listening activities you can practice. These sound clips are not too long or too difficult for you.
1.2 Choose something appropriate
From recorded news, an excerpt from a lecture, and a talk show, there are tons of options for you. Start from easier ones and change to more challenging ones when you’re ready.
Our students often find it hard to understand the other person they’re talking to. If this happened to you too, you may be listening to the conversation WRONG. It can be very confusing if you try to listen and translate every word they are saying. Why not try focusing on important words instead?
So, what should we be listening to? First, read this sentence and count how many ‘F’s there are.
Finished files are the product of
years of scientific research and
the experience of practical knowledge.
(Taylor & Taylor, 1983)
How many ‘f’s are there? Is it more than three?
In linguistics, there are two main types of words: function and content words.
Function words tell you the grammatical aspects of the sentences. Some common examples are articles (a, an, the), verbs to be (is, am, are, was, were, etc.), prepositions (in, on, at, etc.) and so on. These are words that you’ve probably already heard of.
Content words contain the core MEANING(s). These are important words that you should be listening to. There are countless content words in English, and new words enter the language all the time.
Our brain treats content words more importantly. So, to answer the question, there are actually six ‘F’s. What? Go back and read again. Your brain may have ignored the ‘f’ in a function word such as ‘of’.
So, from now on, instead of listening to every single word, try to listen to the keywords.
It is very useful to know how well your listening skill is. Underestimating yourself can decrease your confidence.
Now, read the following statements. Which one best describes your listening skills in English?
- I know the differences between English sounds and Thai sounds.
- I understand some words in English and some common sentences.
- I understand short and simple sentences about things around me.
- I understand short and simple sentences about things in other settings.
- I understand more difficult sentences.
- I understand most of the casual conversations.
- I feel comfortable with various accents of English.
- I understand easy podcasts or short videos.
- I understand English movies quite well.
- I can engage in any conversations in English.
Once you know how well your listening skills are, observe yourself and try to find the problems you may still be having. Then, you can start working on the problem you have. Also, you can set goals for yourself and keep track of your improvement.
The most effective way to learn any language skills is to maximize your language exposure. This means you should put yourself in a situation where you can use the language.
Try to put any English language input in your life as much as possible. You can change the language on your phone’s display to English. Start listening to English songs, news, or any other media. Lastly, practice using English in real life. This is why Globish can help you improve your English skills.
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