What associations do you have when hearing the word "listening"? Is this something boring from school, a set of complex exercises for training your hearing? Endless rewinding of a sticking cassette? It has changed a long time, and we will prove it. From this article, you will find out: what are lessons of listening, how to learn English by audio materials, what types of podcasts are, whether there is a premium for audio series and where to look for a talk radio show.
Is There a Need for This?
Many English learners complain that it is difficult for them to understand native speakers. If the speech of your interlocutor is too fast and full of conversational and dialectic words, how to grasp the essence of it all? Perhaps you were offered a cup of tea, and you took these words for threats. To avoid embarrassment, you need to practice, even if you do not live abroad or do not go there regularly.
How to practice? On the Internet, you can find many available video materials. But what if there is no video and no subtitles? We are used to always rely on these assistants. They can also become a crutch, without which you will not understand the speech by ear. Therefore, it is so important to train your perception of speech without pictures and text. Such exercises are called listening.
Where can these skills come in handy in real life? For example, you will have to talk to a person on Skype without a web camera or by phone. Another case: you will be offered an audio guide in English in a museum, but you will not understand the announcer for want of habit. The simplest situation: on the way to work, you want to listen to the music of your favorite artist or audiobook in the original language.
If you want to overcome the auditory barrier, do modern listening. Podcasts, audio series and radio programs in English will help you.
Why Such Materials Are Good
- You get used to how the coherent English speech sounds
To better understand English-speaking people, you need to listen to their conversations more often. To start, select short training audio recordings at a slow pace. Then go to the audio materials from real conversations of native speakers. In this way, you will learn peculiarities of intonation, pronunciation of sounds, stating stress in words, arrangement of logical pauses.
- You listen to modern speech
Many of materials on which we were engaged in listening at school are morally outdated. In them, out-of-date situations are considered. The vocabulary of characters is too bookish. At the output, we get unnatural dialogues. Modern listening provides an opportunity to learn the constantly changing living language.
- You get used to different accents in English
Pronunciation depends on national characteristics. English of Hindu, Chinese and French are quite different by ear. You can learn to understand any accent well. Listen and get used to different features of pronunciation.
- You will learn how to correctly use the new vocabulary
To lexicon on a new topic firmly embedded in your mind, it is not enough just to memorize words. It is necessary to know in what context to use them in life. For example, you have mastered a basic set of vocabulary for an IT specialist. After that, listen to a few podcasts for programmers, so the theory will be supplemented with practice.
- You learn grammar in practice
Modern listening will teach you to hear shortened grammatical constructions by ear and help you understand the application of rules in context. Also, you can be sure whether native speakers use such a difficult time as Past Perfect Continuous, or teachers tormented you with it in vain.
- You train concentration<
In the age of smartphones and tablets, we are accustomed to perceive information visually. But if you want to improve concentration of attention, then the best challenge for you will be audio materials in English. This is a double work of the brain: to change the usual info channel to sound one and to process the speech of the foreigner. The more interesting it is!
- You expand your horizons
You can choose podcasts, audio series and radio programs to your advantage. You will learn a new trend in the profession or a popular slang word, you will make a brilliant display in front of friends and colleagues.
- You are studying where you are comfortable
If you are driving, on a treadmill, aboard or on the beach, you can still continue to study English. There must be desire, and ears and technology will be attached.
How to Correctly Learn English with Audio Materials?
- Choose an exciting material of the appropriate level
It happened with you that someone turned on the record of some American comedian, and you, knowing at best a couple of words, still politely giggled? It happens with many. Such shows are distinguished by a large amount of slang and a complex play on words. It is better to put them aside for a while and choose audio materials of your level.
- Find the best way to work with a podcast
You can just listen to audio recordings in your free time or use different tactics:
- Listen to the audio material and try to understand the maximum information from it. If this is difficult to do, try to catch the basic idea of the recording;
- Find the text of the recording, read it and translate all phrases you do not know;
- Again, turn on the audio recording and try to catch the text you already know by ear;
- Tell all you have heard to your friends, relatives, or yourself in the mirror, trying to imitate the speech of the announcer.
This tactic takes less time than it seems. You will spend 15-20 minutes analyzing the five-minute audio material.
- Analyze unfamiliar words and grammatical constructions
Work with new material. If you meet unfamiliar vocabulary, look for it in compatibility dictionaries, search for new constructions in grammar manuals. After that, try to make a few sentences with them.
- Complicate tasks
Let us say you started to understand the speech of leading educational podcasts for the Beginner level without difficulty. It is wonderful, but you cannot rest on your laurels. Choose more complex materials, make yourself new challenges. So you can progress.
Modern Materials for Listening
We move from theory to practice. So, now we will discuss the most popular audio materials that you can use to improve your English.
A podcast is one or a whole series of audio files. Teaching podcasts cover a variety of topics. Author's not adapted podcasts are devoted to one topic and come out on a regular basis.
For the initial and intermediate level, podcasts with a duration of about 10 minutes will work. Please note that they contain a simple vocabulary that suits you at this level. However, despite the simplicity, it often happens that the pace of speech remains fairly rapid. So, choose the material in accordance with your strengths and wishes.
You can choose podcasts of a particular person, perhaps it will be easier for you to work with audio at the primary level. However, remember that you do not need to get used to one voice and its features. It is best to listen to similar podcasts in combination with others.
There are podcasts that target American or British English. Some consider the latest political, cultural and scientific news, short stories, the history of the origin of idioms. In this case, you need to select a moderate pace of announcers so that you can parse all words.
If you need to learn business English, choose the appropriate podcast. You can hear how to properly speak on the phone, hold presentations, work with sales.
There are not adapted podcasts. They can last up to an hour. In order to navigate in them, you must have at least an intermediate level of English.
This is a very popular direction. Short and long audio-dramas, as well as their video-colleagues, come out for whole seasons and collect a lot of admirers. Most of them are freely available. The only thing is that rare audio series are equipped with transcripts. Therefore, such materials, as a rule, are suitable for students with a level of Intermediate and higher. Keep in mind that some series have age and other limitations. Warnings are heard at the beginning of each episode.
Broadcasts are not only a source of new music. On foreign radio channels, there are many worthy author's talk shows. Professional journalists with good diction create high-quality content, which is convenient to learn spoken English. As with audio tracks, radio shows rarely contain transcripts, so this kind of modern listening is suitable for the level of Intermediate and higher.
Choose materials you like, add them to the bookmarks, download applications and study. When a few minutes of modern listening a day will become a habit, you will become better at understanding English speech.