Tonight my learnèd colleague Bruce Warburton is repeating a session he gave a few weeks ago. It's of vital importance to any student of English, or any other language. It's about How to Listen Effectively.
Here are a few notes below:
THINGS TO REMEMBER
When listening to English spoken by a native speaker, remember PALS.
Why are you listening? Remember the context. Use your knowledge of the subject and its vocabulary to guess the meaning of anything you don’t understand.
Accents and stress
Focus on the stressed syllables (the stressed syllables are the ones the speaker wants you to understand the most). Remember that all English accents stress the key words.
Don’t worry about words you don’t understand. Keep listening. It will usually become clearer later. Don’t focus on what you have missed, but on what is coming next.
You need learning strategies in order to improve your listening skills. Here are a few suggestions:
- Buy a ‘reader’ (a graded novel) with a CD. Listening and following the text simultaneously will help you make the connection between spoken and written English. It will also improve your pronunciation.
- Watch DVDs or download films. Choose a film that you would like to see in Italian. If you are not interested in the content, it will be much harder to understand. You can also watch the Italian version first so that when you watch the English version you can focus more on the language.
- Record the news, or watch it on internet. Watch it the first time without any sound and predict the vocabulary you will hear. Play it again with the sound to see if you were right.
- The British Council website, www.britishcouncil.org, has lots of interesting material. For example http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/listen-and-watch. There is also the apps page on http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/apps
- Download podcasts from the internet. Listen to them on your MP3 player when you are going to work. For example, http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts or http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/elementary-podcasts
- Register on an on-line course on a subject you want or need to study. Look at MOOC sites like http://www.mooc-list.com/ or http://oyc.yale.edu/
- Don’t forget that www.youtube.com has something on almost every subject from all over the world.
- Learn vocabulary in ‘blocks’. Practise saying them to learn the rhythm. This way you will understand them more easily.
- Make listening to English part of your daily routine. Remember, learning a language is like doing a sport. The more you train, the better you get.
Relax. If you are anxious or pessimistic when listening to English, you will understand less.
Try to get to Bruce's workshop. If you can't, there is plenty of help available on this Blog.
Have a nice day!