7 Tips to improve listening

7 Tips to improve listening

7 Tips to improve listening

Why are listening skills important, both for everyday life and for language learning?

Well, if you don’t listen, then you will never learn, as simple as that.

Listeners, and especially good listeners are the best learners, as the Dalai Lama said, “When you speak you are repeating what you already know, but when you listen it gives us an opportunity to learn.”

So here are the 7 Tips to improve listening that we discuss in the podcast :

  1. Listen to silence, focus on yourself and what is around you. Interestingly the word, ‘Silent’ includes all of the letter in the word ‘Listen.’
  2. Listen to backgground sounds, those sounds that we usually try to ignore or block out.
  3. Focus and get relaxed, open your ears (although this is not really something we can do) as you need to be able to hear before you can listen effectively and finally understand what you are listening to.
  4. Listen form differing perspectives and change the perspective by taking different standpoints – agree, disagree, criticise, empathise etc.
  5. Listen to emotion in the listening – happiness, excitedness, sadness, seriousness, anger etc.
  6. For language learners, try to skip over and ignore what you don’t understand and listen globally and not in detail.
  7. Enjoy listening, don’t see it as a chore, do it often and vary the way you listen.

 

5 ways to listen better

5 ways to listen better

5 ways to listen better In our louder and louder world, says sound expert Julian Treasure, “We are losing our listening.”

In this short, fascinating talk, Julian Treasure shares five ways to re-tune your ears for conscious listening — to other people and the world around you 5 ways to listen better.

There are some great tips here for language learners.

Listening is probably the most difficult task for almost all learners of English as a foreign language. The most important thing is to listen, and that means as often as possible – regularity really is the key.

Once you have begun to listen on a regular basis, you might still be frustrated by your limited understanding.

Here are a few action steps you can take:

  • Accept the fact that you are not going to understand everything.
  • Stay relaxed when you do not understand — even if you continue to have trouble understanding for a while.
  • Do not translate into your native language.
  • Listen for the gist (or general idea) of the conversation.
  • Don’t concentrate on detail until you have understood the global ideas.

First, translating creates a barrier between the listener and the speaker. Second, most people repeat themselves constantly.

By remaining calm, you can usually understand what the speaker had said.

However, understanding is the final goal and there is a long road to get there, fist you need to be able to hear the sounds that make up a language.

Go on, try these 5 ways to listen better

The New York Skyline Quiz

The New York Skyline Quiz

The New York Skyline Quiz

We have all seen the New York skyline in movies or even in real life. But do you know anything about the buildings, bridges and iconic constructions in that skyline?

New York City is famous for many things, but primarily it is known as the city of skyscrapers.  It all started with the religious cathedrals – its oldest “skyscraper” was the Trinity Church, which was 280ft tall at the time of its completion, in 1846.  Nowadays there are at least 132 buildings which are taller than 600 feet (183 m).

What is a skyscraper ? A skyscraper is a tall, continuously habitable building having multiple floors (UK) or storeys (USA). When the term was originally used in the 1880s it described a building of 10 to 20 floors but now it is used to describe a building of at least 40 to 50 floors. Mostly designed for office, commercial and residential uses, a skyscraper can also be called a high-rise, but the term “skyscraper” is often used for buildings higher than 100 m (328 ft). For buildings above a height of 300 m (984 ft), the term “supertall” can be used, while skyscrapers reaching beyond 600 m (1,969 ft) are classified as “megatall”.

How many iconic constructions (skyscraper, bridges and statues) can you name ? This silhouette of the skyline can give you a clue….

Test you knowledge with this quiz, learn some new vocabulary and pick up some fun facts at the same time.

The New York Skyline Quiz

The New York skyline is world famous, but how well do you really know it ?

 

Spelling place names in English

Spelling place names in English

Spelling place names in English

Spelling place names in English can be difficult, especially if the sounds of the letters are similar to the letters of the alphabet in your own language as this can lead to confusion.

Spelling place names in English is not difficult, but it takes a lot of practice for you to become proficient, especially if you are trying to understand spelling over the phone, for example.

Most people read words more accurately than they spell them. The younger the learners are, the truer this is.

Spelling, however, is a very different matter.

Once learners have learnt more than one way of spelling particular sounds, choosing the right letter or letters depends on their either having made a conscious effort to learn the words or having absorbed them less consciously through their reading.

The problem is generally that learners have not had enough time to learn or absorb the accurate spelling of all the words that they may want to write.

This illustrates the need to fully use the fours skills in language learning ; Listening, Speaking, Reading and writing – it is a little like making a cocktail, too much of one ingredient and not enough of another and the cocktail can taste either delicious or horrible.

In language learning, learners need to use all four skills in a balanced way – reading and writing will ultimately help spelling, but practice is needed to become fully familiar with the sounds of words and letters in order to become skillful in spelling words, which will improve with practice.

Have a go at spelling some of the longest words in the English language.

Numbers in Sport

Numbers in Sport

Numbers in Sport.

Numbers can be a difficult part of learning a new language.

New learners often confuse “hundreds” and “thousands”, “fifteen” and “fifty”, “half past six” with “six and a half hours” etc etc etc.

The only way to improve your number skills is with practice.

Start by learning important numbers for you: your age, your address, your phone number.

Then practice well known expressions such as “fifty-fifty”, “One Hundred and One Dalmatians”.

Also try this podcast in which Sue asks Chris 10 questions about numbers in sport.

You will need to listen several times; the first time you listen your main objective should be to focus on the numbers that Chris gives. Are you clear about 100s and 1000s ?  Can you recognize times ? Can you identity money quantities? What about dates ?

For the second time of listening,  focus on the questions and for the third time, just enjoy the conversation !

TRY THIS QUIZ IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE PODCAST: you will hear the same questions in the podcast as in the quiz. How many numbers can you recognize ? Practice saying all the numbers in the quiz and then listen again to the podcast. Your progress will be AMAZING !

Numbers in sport

After listening to the podcast try this quiz to consolidate your number skills. You can check your own answers with Chris' attempts.

Why you forget your words when speaking English

Why you forget your words when speaking English

Why you forget your words when speaking English

Aphasia is an inability to comprehend or formulate language because of damage to specific brain regions.

This damage is typically caused by a cerebral vascular accident (stroke), or head trauma; however, these are not the only possible causes.

To be diagnosed with aphasia, a person’s speech or language must be significantly impaired in one (or several) of the four communication modalities following acquired brain injury or have significant decline over a short time period (progressive aphasia).

The four communication modalities are :

  1. Auditory comprehension,
  2. Verbal expression,
  3. Reading and writing,  
  4. Functional communication.

The difficulties of people with aphasia can range from occasional trouble finding words to losing the ability to speak, read, or write; intelligence, however, is unaffected.[

Expressive language and receptive language can both be affected as well. Aphasia also affects visual language such as sign language.

In contrast, the use of formulaic expressions in everyday communication is often preserved.One prevalent deficit in the aphasias is anomia, which is a deficit in word finding ability.

The term aphasia implies that one or more communication modalities in the brain have been damaged and are therefore functioning incorrectly.

Aphasia does not refer to damage to the brain that results in motor or sensory deficits, which produces abnormal speech; that is, aphasia is not related to the mechanics of speech but rather the individual’s language cognition (although a person can have both problems).

An individual’s “language” is the socially shared set of rules as well as the thought processes that go behind verbalized speech.

It is not a result of a more peripheral motor or sensory difficulty, such as paralysis affecting the speech muscles or a general hearing impairment.

Aphasia affects about 2 million people in the US and 250,000 people in Great Britain.

Though nearly 180,000 people in the US acquire the disorder a year, 84.5% of people have never heard of the condition.

 

Try the lesson here 

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