12 Awesome Reasons to Learn a Second Language
How many languages do you speak? One? Four perhaps?
When it comes to learning a foreign language, one of the things every learner should pay attention to is his listening skills.
Not that we can learn a language only by listening, but without practicing our listening, we can’t even think about improving our other language skills.
It is worthless if we know words and phrases or we’ve mastered grammar rules if we can’t understand what our speaker is talking about.
No matter your proficiency level, you always have to think about practicing and improving your listening comprehension.
Luckily for you, we’ve gathered some of the 7 most efficient and practical tips that can help you improve your listening skills.
Before you find something you will listen to, make sure you find what you mostly understand.
This is called a comprehensive input.
We all are on different proficiency levels but if you can understand up to 80% of listening material, it is considered as something you can listen to because you can mostly understand the audio.
Some words that you don’t understand won’t make it difficult to understand the whole concept. Even better, thanks to the context, you will understand the meaning of unfamiliar words.
If you, on the other hand, choose to listen to something you mainly don’t understand, you’ll spend most of your time confused and angry because you don’t understand the whole concept.
How can you improve any skill?
The answer is simple: by practicing as much as possible.
In other words, you should try extensive listening. It means that you practice your listening skills by listening to different recordings, videos, interviews, or podcasts.
But, in order to be efficient, you should find something you will enjoy. If you don’t find it amusing, you won’t listen to it for long.
After you find to listen to something enjoyable, use every free situation to practice, such as walking the dog in the park, cleaning the house, while waiting in line, or going back home from work.
The more occasions you use to practice your listening skills, the less you will be worried if you’ll understand your speaker for the time to come.
Do you know what active listening is?
It is listening to any audio material fully focused. This way, you are concentrated on the materials you are listening to and not doing anything else.
You’ve chosen to listen to the podcast about the current situation in the world, for example. So you sit down, turn on the podcast, and focus on what speakers are discussing. You don’t clean the house, make lunch, or do something else. After you finish listening to it, you can think about it for several minutes and write down a summary.
If there are some unknown words or phrases you’ve heard. Write them down too and try to understand what they mean from the context.
Thanks to this type of listening not only will you stay focused on listening, but you will also improve your other language skills, such as improving your vocabulary.
There’s no better way to improve your listening skills but with real people, preferably with native speakers of your target language.
In case you have difficulties finding a proper native speaker who can teach you in a fun and amusing way, Justlearn tutors are always there, willing to help.
Besides being native speakers, they are professional tutors, with years of teaching experience.
No matter if you’ve just started learning a language or you are far more advanced level, practicing the language with them is always helpful.
In 1-on-1 lessons, you can ask anything you don’t get right, ask for more information, or simply listen to your speaker while explaining something about a particular topic.
When you speak with people, you practice all your language skills, from already learned words and expressions, through practicing speaking, to improving listening skills.
In other words, all in one.
One of the ways to relax after a long day of studying is with movies.
Well, you will relax but your brain will continue to study.
Watching movies and shows in your target language is an entertaining way of improving your listening skills, where you aren’t aware that you are learning.
If you haven’t already tried, we suggest you find a movie or a tv show you are already familiar with. This way, you won’t struggle with unfamiliar expressions while you’re watching.
Over time, you can slowly go to more demanding topics.
If it helps, you can also turn on subtitles in English or your native language, but just for a start.
After getting used to watching movies in another language, you can watch even without subtitles and you can also watch whatever you want to.
And that will mean that your listening skills are highly improved.
Many consider that reading and listening skills aren’t connected that much.
That isn’t true.
They are connected more than you think.
In some cases, believe it or not, reading can be more helpful with improving listening skills than any other way.
In case you’ve just started learning a language, first, you have to learn all the sounds the language uses so that you can even use reading for something other. But once you master all the sounds from your target language, you can start reading and reading as much as you want.
You must be wondering now how on Earth reading can help you improve your listening skills?
It is simple, though. Let’s take, for example, watching movies and tv shows, which we’ve already mentioned in the previous lines.
If you turn on the subtitles on your target language, by reading it you are following the story of the movie both with reading and listening.
And if you don’t quite understand a word or a phrase the actor is saying, subtitles, that is, the reading part can help you understand the word since it is likely that if you see the word in its written form, you’ll recognize it easier.
As much unbelievable it may seem, songs are a great way that can help you improve your listening skills. Besides, it is so fun and relaxing, songs are a useful learning tool because not only do you improve your listening skills, but also boost your vocabulary, meet with another culture and tradition, and practice pronunciation.
The reason why many people don’t consider this a serious way of learning a language is that it is so amusing. You can dance while you are singing a song along with singers. And you are having the time of your life. But in your head, your brain does its job. It memorizes all the unfamiliar things, pays attention to sounds, rhymes, and rhythm. Don’t worry, your brain is also having fun this way. You can thank the rhythm because it facilitates your brain to remember so much.
So, find songs in your target language you find catchy and amusing, put them on your daily playlist, and simply enjoy.
The four main parts of any language are speaking, writing, reading, and listening.
All of them are closely connected, so by improving one of them, you surely are improving some other, too. And that’s all fine because even they are different elements, all of them are part of the language and one can’t function without the other.
Not that one is more important than the other, but thanks to listening skills, you can easily improve other language skills. So, by improving and practicing listening comprehension, you are actually practicing all language parts.
Therefore, keep practicing your skills with our tips and suggestions, as well as tutors, and you’ll gain the desired proficiency level in your target language in no time.
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