How to Improve Your Listening
Listening in another language can often be a challenge, though it doesn’t have to be as there are various techniques that we can use to help ourselves to be better at this communication skill.
First of all, don’t panic! If you do then you’ll almost certainly miss what is going to be said next, and this may be the most important thing. Remember that you don’t need to understand everything that is being said. Most of the time we only need to understand the overall meaning, rather than understanding everything that is being said.
Nevertheless, it is often important that we understand not only the context but also key pieces of information. How should we go about doing this? The best way to approach this is to listen out for what we call the ‘content words’. These are the key verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs. By recognising and understanding these words we can build a picture in our mind as to what is happening. Other words (often called ‘grammatical words’) such as prepositions, articles, pronouns etc. are possibly important, but normally far less so than the ‘content words’.
So, how do we recognise these ‘content words’? Normally these words are stressed far more than other words in the sentence, making it easier for us to hear. Also, take note as to where these key words appear in the sentence. Listen out for the words that appear before and after them.
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