Someone has rightly said, “Good conversation starts with good listening”. Our teachers have often told us that we wouldn’t learn anything new from talking but we will definitely learn something new from listening. How true!
There’s a lot of buzz about spoken English these days, but people tend to forget that English listening is also an integral and inseparable part of English communication, which cannot be overlooked.No wonder then the English listening skills are part of various tests of proficiency in the English language such as the IELTS
So, here are a few tips on how to improve your listening and comprehension skills, most of which you might feel are clichéd but are really useful.
- Listen to good communication – When people speak good English, listen to them and try to focus and concentrate on the words they say. Try to perceive them with an open mind and comprehend the intentions of the speaker. This will certainly help you improve your English vocabulary
- Tune into English channels – Watch more of English news channels, movies and debates. English movies with subtitles in English are an effective way to improve your listening skills. Quite often it happens that the accent of the native English speaker is so different that non-native people struggle to comprehend the movie dialogues. The subtitles will be of great help here. Also, it will help you understand how a word has to be pronounced.
To give you an example, while watching a movie, there was this word ‘Soiree’; I had no idea that it is pronounced as ‘Swah-rey’. There are several words in English which might be pronounced differently than the way they are written.
- Undivided attention – If you are attending any English listening classes, pay attention to the intonations of the teacher. Intonation refers to the variations in the pitch of the speaker, which will help us understand the emotions that the speaker wants to convey. Learning about intonations will help you make judgments as to whether a particular sentence spoken was an assertive sentence or an interrogative one.
- Do not lose motivation – Sometimes people start their learning process quite excitedly but eventually the zeal dies down,the main hindrance being the struggle and its monotony. Keep the zest going and be inspired and motivated.
- Variety is the spice of life – Do not stick to one routine. Try out various options, or I would rather say, challenging options to enhance your listening skills. Listen to various types of conversations, even to topics in which you have limited knowledge. Basically, listen to English every day.
- Listen to podcasts and audio books – Podcasts are digital audio files, basically episodic series, that you can subscribe and listen to on the go, while driving, travelling or doing household chores. The best part about podcasts is that these are free. (At a time when everything comes with a price tag). Audio books, while not free, are a great way to improve your English listening skills while also acquiring knowledge or getting yourself entertained.
- YouTube videos – You can even try the numerous English contents on YouTube. There are several videos on English listening, Grammar, pronunciation, idioms etc. We encourage you to subscribe to our YouTube channel too where we upload numerous tips on English speaking.
All these will help you enhance your listening and comprehension skills. Hence, get started with your improvement journey with alacrity!
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-By Chander Madan