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how to practice listening? any advise?


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hi everybody , is there any listening tips? what should i do while listening to audiobook/podcast? ,  should  i , and how many times should i listen? i must listen to same audiobook/podcasts for 3 times? or listening to  different one is better? ? , and how listening improves my pronounciation? i live in egypt , i dont have anyone to practise with :) . soory for my bad english , thanks in advance :)

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Personally, I would recommend watching English TV shows or listening to English music. When you listen to lessons, those people are just reading from their script so you are not really listening to "real" English conversations. The best way to practice your listening skill is to listen to natives (who are not obviously reading from a script) speak English.

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Personally, I would recommend watching English TV shows or listening to English music. When you listen to lessons, those people are just reading from their script so you are not really listening to "real" English conversations. The best way to practice your listening skill is to listen to natives (who are not obviously reading from a script) speak English.

thank you :)  how many times should i listen per day? and could you suggest any tv show? , and podcasts are useless right?
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Why would podcasts be useless? I believe it's a valid way to learn listening. And how many times you should listen is up to you, isn't?

yea agree with you it's up to me, but i am really hopless and depressed , i dont know how to talk like native english speakers , and i dont know how to start and what i must do in the beginning , that's the problem
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yea agree with you it's up to me, but i am really hopless and depressed , i dont know how to talk like native english speakers , and i dont know how to start and what i must do in the beginning , that's the problem

Learning a language is an ongoing process, and with daily practice you will improve.  Listening to something that you find enjoyable could be a starting point.  It might be news or sports broadcasts -- which you can find online, as live stream audio.  Or you might have an interest in movies or in television programs. 

I think the key is to find something enjoyable as that will help you stay motivated. Also set aside a set amount of time; an hour, two hours, half an hour.  Be consistent.  Schedule in the time to listen.  As you improve you will feel more encouraged to continue. 

I hope this is helpful. 

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Learning a language is an ongoing process, and with daily practice you will improve.  Listening to something that you find enjoyable could be a starting point.  It might be news or sports broadcasts -- which you can find online, as live stream audio.  Or you might have an interest in movies or in television programs. 

I think the key is to find something enjoyable as that will help you stay motivated. Also set aside a set amount of time; an hour, two hours, half an hour.  Be consistent.  Schedule in the time to listen.  As you improve you will feel more encouraged to continue. 

I hope this is helpful.

thank you ,  My problem is i could"nt understand the dialogues properly without the sub-title turned on.I have been trying really hard to understand them without the sub-titles what should i do? soory for bothering you :)
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If you are looking for a podcast, I would recommend you ESL Podcast (English as Second Language Podcast), the episodes are short (around 18 minutes if I'm not mistaken), and there's a script for the entire conversation, also, it contains Slow Dialog, Explanations and Fast Dialog. It's free, but you can subscribe for $10 per month to get the "Learning Guide Membership", which gives a more in-depth explanation, but I don't think it's necessary.

But, If you are talking about TV shows, watching with subtitles in English isn't bad. You are seeing and hearing. You need to remember that you can't skip stages, learning is slow and you need patience, try doing things gradually, in smaller steps.

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If you are looking for a podcast, I would recommend you ESL Podcast (English as Second Language Podcast), the episodes are short (around 18 minutes if I'm not mistaken), and there's a script for the entire conversation, also, it contains Slow Dialog, Explanations and Fast Dialog. It's free, but you can subscribe for $10 per month to get the "Learning Guide Membership", which gives a more in-depth explanation, but I don't think it's necessary.

But, If you are talking about TV shows, watching with subtitles in English isn't bad. You are seeing and hearing. You need to remember that you can't skip stages, learning is slow and you need patience, try doing things gradually, in smaller steps.

okay :) , thank you very much (Y)
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  • 4 weeks later...

I think it depends on your level and discipline to learn English. It would be shame for someone to study in boring, rote ways for the sake of short term goals (i.e. TOEIC Exam). Too many English learners do this, and what happens eventually is they lose interest, or worst, associate a strong disliking towards English.

I would begin with watching movies, TV shows, youtube videos, or listening to songs, podcasts, etc.; anything that would interest you spoken in the English language, and to follow this habit gradually. Perhaps, 1-3 times a week to begin. This way you will learn to actually like the language and learn for the long run. Learning English, and any language, is marathon, not a race.

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What I did to improve my listening was to watch movies with subtitles on. While reading the subtitles I'll listen as it goes. I find that this way, other than learning to listen I can also improve on my pronunciation. When I'm comfortable, I stopped reading subtitles and straight up just listen to test how much I could catch.

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I think the biggest thing with listening to any second language is just being very present and listening as carefully as you can. When you listen very carefully, you should only need two plays if you have decent experience with the language, and three or four if you are intermediate to beginner.

Everyone is obviously different, but this is what I do.

I think podcasts are great, there's lots of content to be found, and you're still listening to English. Try getting some conversational English into your study as well though.

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  • 1 month later...

How about looking for a language buddy where you can practice learning English? Try several English chatrooms where you can try practicing conversing English with the people over there. Nothing beats being immersed and involved when trying to learn a new language.

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As much as possible, avoid any distractions while you're watching English films and podcasts. Also, you must always have this drive to learn more and learn better. Even if it seems difficult at first, just keep going. It's all in your hands.

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I think just keep a good variety of things in your mix- TV and movies can be quite helpful, along with podcasts, radio, audiobooks and things like that. In general I don't think I'd listen to the same ones on loop too much, but switch them up. That's one thing that TV series can help with, you can get a feel for the same kind of dialect and speech patterns without having to listen to the same exact audio over and over.

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I think the best way would be to clear your mind first. I know I drift off whenever I am preoccupied before trying to listen or learn, so it probably helps if you are able to clear everything out in your mind first before your lesson. As for the types of programs to listen to, I believe that you should just find one that interests and appeals to you so you don't end up being bored, then just listen to it once over and you find that isn't enough then listen to it as many times over as you'd like, which is why it would help if you are actually interested in the content to begin with.

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To listen attentively, you may need to get rid of any distractions. Make sure that you listen at a place where you will not get drawn into what is going on around you. You can close your eyes if you are in a public bus so that all your focus is on the audio book. My best place to listen to an audio book is at home where one can control the environment.

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  • 1 month later...

You could try watching movies. I love watching movies so it never feels like studying and it actually feels good when you realize that you can understand most of what they're saying. If you want my recommendation, I feel like any movie by Woody Allen is a good listening practice.

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I have some problems with keeping attention as well, but I've found that when the subject I'm listening to is interesting enough for me then I need a lot less conscious effort to listen. If you can find some interesting talks on the same subject that might not catch your interest as quickly then it would be helpful I think. Also listening to the same session twice over helps as well since you get to focus on things you might have missed the second time around.

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In some other sections in this forum, it has been mentioned that immersion is one of the effective ways in learning a language. Following that point of view, the best advice I could give to practice listening is to engage yourself more in situations that require you to speak the target language (that is, if you have that opportunity). Interacting with native speakers will allow you to be more familiar with their tones and accents. While watching movies are great ideas, I believe you will need to have reached a specific language level to fully understand its contents. Others, especially new language learners, end up frustrated watching movies especially if they can't keep up with the speed of the language exchange.

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Hey all.

I'm going to share my three decades of ESL teaching here with you.

Listening is a passive activity. There are hardly any muscles involved in listening. No matter how hard you wiggle your ears, you will not be able to understand better.

Comprehension comes from recognition of sounds. Look at that word: recognition. That is re-cognition. The sound must be available in your bank of sounds before you will accurately hear it and combine it with the surrounding sounds to find meaning.

Thus, any good listening comprehension practice will begin with your mouth, your pronunciation. Here's an example. My real world name is very difficult for Spanish people to pronounce (I live in Spain!). Consequently, when a friend calls out to me on the street, I may hear something, but since my name has not been pronounced "correctly" (the way I am used to saying and hearing it), I often ignore that greeting. Thus, if you have many pronunciation issues, when you listen to native pronunciation you will find it nearly impossible to recognize what is being said, because it is being pronounced in a different manner than you are used to. Your ears will ignore it and you won't understand.

Being practical, then, here's an exercise you can try:

Choose a very short dialogue from a film or TV show or whatever may interest you. Very short means between two and three minutes long.... no longer! (Don't sit down to watch an entire film!)

Watch the scene with your subtitles on and read along with the dialogue. Watch again and only move your mouth, lip-syncing the dialogue. Watch again and whisper along with the actors. Watch again and don't move your lips.

Turn off the subtitles and try to repeat simultaneously with the actors. Hit pause after each sentence and try to repeat it with the same rhythm, intonation. Repeat the scene again, and again.

Turn the subtitles back on and read along.

Close your eyes and listen to the scene, moving your lips to the sounds.

Always move your lips when you are listening. Those are muscles you can strengthen, teach the proper articulations. Once you've gotten the hang of those two or three minutes, take a rest, buy yourself an ice cream, pat yourself on the back. You've just done an active listening exercise.

Like any exercise that is meant to help you improve, you should repeat it on a regular basis. If you set aside ten to fifteen minutes a day to do this exercise, you should begin to feel improvement not only in your listening but also in your speaking.

Finally, don't move away from that two to three minute scene during a week. Keep at the same scene. By the end of the week, you should be able to evaluate your progress. The next week you can choose another movie, show, podcast, whatever. It doesn't matter the source you listen to: what matters is that you repeat the exercise, you keep it short and, above all, move your lips!

Hope this helps. It helped my students much more than all those dull listening exercises on CDs that came with their lesson books.

peace,

revel. 

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