Improving your listening skills

A notebook, phone and headphones

Improving your listening skills

Tip 7 is how to improve your listening skills in your target language. Listening to native speakers talking can be difficult but there are ways to help you. In lots of languages you will either find TV stations producing slow news or you will find slow news in podcasts. This does exactly what it says on the tin. A newsreader will read the news slowly and clearly. This is intended for learners of the language to grasp the content of the piece, and to stop the words sounding like they all run together, which can happen when native speakers are talking. The bonus is that if you already follow the news in your own language, you will know what the content is already. It can be useful to jot down words you hear often but don’t know what they are, so you can look them up and understand more next time.

Audio books are a good idea to practise listening skills and there are some beginner and intermediate ones out there. Audio books for native speakers will work when your skills are at a higher level.. There also seem to be on Youtube (and other sites) stories that people have recorded, often with a script running along side the spoken word.

Radio is also an option as lots are available to stream free online unlike a lot of TV broadcasts. Choose a station and try and listen to it at the same time each day. There are repeated sections, and also the news and weather, which you will start to hear multiple times. At first, radio can be daunting but stick with it and note down your progress and new words learned in your learning journal. I remember listening to the radio in Germany on the way to work each day in my car and there was a section called “Today on the carriageway” where they would tell drivers if there was anything unexpected on the motorway and to watch out for it. They would also interrupt radio broadcasts to warn motorists of “ghost drivers” which were cars driving along the wrong side of the motorway.

How do you listen to your target language?

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