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helping you learn and develop your skills
16 Oct 2013

How to improve your English listening skills

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improve EnglishWhy do you might experience problems while listening to English speakers?

There are number of reasons that might affect your listening comprehension, one of the significant causes is the variety of English accents and dialects which you might not be exposed to in the classroom environment. If you learn only from books or listen to one teacher, then it might be awkward when listening to the natural way of speaking of an Englishman or American.

Secondly, English is the language in which the phonetics do not always coincide with the spelling and vice versa. It’s a gigantic problem especially for those who are not used to listening to the ‘live’ language. Very often you may not recognize the words you hear and already know simply because the pronunciation is different (e.g. vehicle, choir or even comfortable).

The third issue that affects your understanding of spoken English language is when the speaker’s pace is relatively quick. While listening to an English conversation or even a monologue it seems as if statements merge into one another. As a consequence you are unable to distinguish the beginning and the end of the sentence so you lose meaning, and finally give up and ‘switch off’.  Improve your listening by doing the activity.

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Step 1 – Listen to different accents!

Most learners know the difference between the British and American pronunciation. In fact, diversity is infinitely greater. And it’s not just about adding English of other nationalities (such as the Irish and Australian). The point is that the language of hooligan from Liverpool is a completely different than the language of the news on BBC. The language of an immigrant from Mexico, Arizona, has very little in common with the language of a trader in New York. You should not assume that there is one level of English, which enables us to understand everything. Accept the diversity and listen to the English language in various versions.  Listen to the variety of English accents here

Step 2– Listen to different types of spoken texts

Not only there are varieties of accents and styles of speaking, but also the situations in which you speak. Make no mistake, that listening to rhythm of the voice on BBC news is similar to the one when ordering a pint in a pub. That is why it is extremely important to listen to the formal and informal English. It’s all the same language in all its diversity. Your goal is to be prepared for that. Question is where and how?

One of the most brilliant places to learn English listening comprehension is a service Elllo. It publishes various audio and video combined with exercises on vocabulary and listening comprehension.

An excellent source of spoken English are called podcasts, video style short essay or interview.You may come across some real gems prepared for learners of English.It is not only language training but also cultural – this record is a true show of English humor.


Step 3– English Break into pieces!

This advice applies to problems understanding English vocabulary rather its pronunciation. Well, a lot of it will be easier to see what constitutes a sentence or a question if we are aware of its smallest components and some of the processes that take place between them.

Many people are not aware that certain words often merge into one in English due to the linking of different sounds, informal speech or even fast pace. Another problem lies in the fact that we simply do not know a large number of words and can not grasp the meaning of the whole. There is always a way. website is based on a simple principle – it automatically removes chosen words from a lyric, and then your task is to fill in the missing words while watching a video on YouTube. The biggest advantage is the easy navigation between levels of difficulty, contractors and foreign languages.

Dictations can help in many ways. The English Club Dictations come in three different levels. Try the short dictations first and then work your way up. You can listen to the dictations as many times as you need to. It is a great way to improve not only your listening skills but also your spelling and vocabulary.

These methods and materials are guideline, the real challenge is to work out your own workshop to help you improve. If you already have a well-sharpened tools for learning the progress and the results are very rewarding.

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