There are four main skills you’ll need to work on when learning a new language: speaking, reading, writing and listening. All four parts interconnect with one another and practising all of them on a daily basis is ideal. However, listening is usually the easiest skill to incorporate in most people’s daily routine. That’s why it’s such a great aspect of language learning, but it must be used in a way that’s effective. In this post, we will talk about the importance of listening and give you some tips on how to get the most out of it.
Naturally, one of the biggest advantages of listening is the fact that you can do it virtually anytime and anywhere. The average person spends an incredible amount of time commuting. If you were to listen to your new language every day while driving to work or taking the bus to school, you could add a few hours of practice to your language-learning routine every week. You could also listen to the language while taking a long walk with your dog, or while cleaning your house. This convenience makes listening an amazing tool to improve your language skills.
When you hear a foreign language that’s completely unknown to you, it may seem like you’ll never be able to understand because it sounds like one giant lump of nonsense. You may have a hard time distinguishing the different words, let alone know what they mean. At first, this can be a bit discouraging, but if you make the exercise of listening on a regular basis, it will eventually make sense. If the language you are trying to learn has sounds that are not in your register, you might have trouble hearing and reproducing them. Your ear is tuned to hear certain sounds, and any sound outside of what you’re used to hearing are pretty much getting filtered out by your brain. When done in the right way, listening to your new language in abundance will eventually rewire your brain to hear the different sounds, stress, emphasis and other foreign subtleties.
The listening content doesn’t need to be a language course. In fact, it can be anything at all. We are lucky enough to live in a world with access to all sorts of material. We have countless TV shows, audiobooks, podcasts and lots of other entertainment at our disposal. However, it’s important to choose material that matches your current skill level in the language. It’s best to at least be able to make out the words and understand the basics. If you are a beginner, you could choose material aimed at young children and slowly make your way up when you understand more of the language. You certainly don’t need to understand everything, that’s not the goal of the exercise. But if the material is complete nonsense to you, you should probably spend a bit more time learning the basics.
Another important thing to keep in mind is to choose material that will keep your attention. If you start drifting off in your own thoughts and start daydreaming about what you’ll eat for dinner, the listening will not be nearly as effective. One way to achieve this is to find material you truly find interesting. Obviously, the more progress you make in the language, the easier it will become to find interesting material, but it is possible to find beginner audio nonetheless. One thing that can be really helpful as a beginner is to listen to the audio of a dubbed version of movies you used to watch as a kid. We all have a few movies we pretty much know by heart. This can be an excellent exercise, because you’ll be able to visualize the scene in your mind. If you are at home or in your car, you can also try and repeat after the recording to stay active and train your pronunciation at the same time.
Listening is awesome. It can help you learn a lot and it’s easy to include in your daily life. But remember that all language skills intertwine and that you should still read, write and speak whenever you have the chance. You can certainly dedicate a lot of your time to listening and it will be very beneficial to you. But it can also be a good idea to follow some kind of lesson plan to truly understand how a language works. It can be helpful to gain a foundation in the language by using various resources available to you, like books, YouTube videos or a program like Ouino. In the end, one of the most important part of language learning is to immerse yourself in the language as much as possible, and listening to a lot of audio is an amazing way to do so.
We have combined everything we know from years of language acquisition and research to create an awesome language-learning method. Visit OUINO.com to learn more.
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