Many friends of mine can read English, but they are not able to understand when they listen to some speakers talking. I think one of the main reasons why this happens is that we learn the wrong way in the classroom, why do I say that? Well, because we learn to pronounce words in a very formal way which is the opposite of how native speakers talk.
Perhaps you have learned in the classroom this phrase: What do you want to do?, but when you listen to a native speaker it sounds like this: whattayawannado? Or wachuwannado?
Do you see the difference? That’s the reason why we need to train our listening skills and forget about the formal way, because nobody speaks like that, maybe just people who are learning English.
Allow me to provide you with some very helpful tips that work and I’ve been practicing for a long time.
Every language has its own melody, for example: Mandarin Chinese and Spanish sound pretty different, so you have to learn how to modulate your voice. The more you pay attention to the melody the more you improve your listening skills.
Focus less on the vowels and consonants and focus more on the notes or the way that people speak.
It’s very helpful to record yourself on your Smartphone, computer or other device in order to see how good are your speaking skills and what you need to change when you compare yourself to a native speaker.
When you are learning English at school, they teach you if it is a question you’re supposed to raise the tone of your voice at the end, but one of the tricky things is that today, there is a kind of worldwide trend, people raise the tone of the voice at the end, even if it is a statement and it could be kind of confusing for some beginners because it sounds like a question, that’s why it’s very important to listen carefully. You need to pick up resources for the accent that you would like to cultivate.
When you live in an English speaking country is easier to find someone to practice with, what about people who live in a country where they don’t speak this language? Well, we are living in a time that you don’t have to travel to practice your skills, we have the internet.
I’m always downloading podcasts and watching YouTube videos or streaming TV shows and movies, I usually do it on a daily basis, because I need to create a bubble where I listen to English a lot.
I remember that when I started to teach myself, I watched movies over and over until I learn them by heart, first I watched them without subtitles and later with subtitles.
So, please watch TV shows or movies without subtitles, if you still don’t understand, then you are allowed to watch them with English subtitles.
When my English was very poor, I used to download podcasts with its scripts, first I looked for every word that I didn’t understand and once I understood what the podcast was talking about, I listened to it over and over until it was very clear to me.
If you have a Smartphone you can look for some very useful apps to listen to podcasts.
To listen to music is very convenient, pick up some songs that are slow and clear, and you can learn new words in an easy and fun way, look for the lyrics to understand them.
There is another good tool that I’d like to mention: Skype. There are some websites where you can find people for doing a language exchange.
Do you like to listen to the radio? Then, download some apps to listen some radio stations.
OK guys, these were just some tips that I wanted to share with you, remember to practice every day and you’ll see how your listening skills improve.
If you have any question, please feel free contact me.