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PracUp Team

Learn English by Listening skills

India is home to 121 different languages. And not just in India, there are over 7000 languages spoken. Even after having so many languages in the world, one language is very commonly spoken all around the world, and it is English. India is not an English-dominant speaking country. Although, according to statistics, we are the second-largest English-speaking country with over 125 million people speaking English. However, this only constitutes 10% of our population. In India along with the native language, English is also taught from a very young age. We can learn a new language, develop listening skills and listen to others while talking.

English being a formal language, it is used by professionals, business persons, government, schools, etc. We all have been through a situation where we think we are not good at speaking English and don't feel confident. We make many mistakes, but we also learn from them and work on them. While we cannot learn to speak a language to complete fluency and literacy, the majority of learning is done passively through listening. Well, we all know how children learn to speak a language. A child listens to  his /her parents speaking and gradually acquires the skill and learns to talk. Similarly, because of our listening skills, we listen to new words and language usage, and we grasp that to improve our communication skills.

Why should we improve our English listening skills?

Everyone knows that learning a language requires four skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Teachers and mentors also say the best way to learn a language is to speak from day one. It is a common belief that speaking English more frequently will help us improve the language.

Indeed speaking is a crucial part to learn any language. However, listening skills stand out to be the most important skill required to learn to speak a language. Listening skill is because listening stands out to be a prerequisite for speaking. One cannot have a conversation with someone without understanding what the person is saying. Having good listening skills is necessary, and listening skill becomes the first step to having a successful conversation.

It can be frustrating to try to speak right away. People might feel demotivated, as well, because they sometimes fail to explain themselves and express their opinions. They feel pressured to talk in English and that English is too hard for them. On the other hand, listening helps you develop a basic language foundation so that when you start speaking, you won't feel as if it's impossible. While speaking exercises can be intimidating, English listening skills are easier and more convenient, to learn.

According to studies, students' most often used language skill is listening. English listening skill is crucial not just for communication but also for learning. Listening skill is a great way to train our minds to grasp things and pay more attention to details. It assists us in improving our English skills, including vocabulary, grammatical structures, intonation, accent, and personal interpretation.

The importance of listening has been beautifully portrayed in the movie English Vinglish. Sashi (Sridevi played the role) practices English through a good mix of many listening skills and speaking activities. 

Ways to learn English Speaking through Audio Sources

Listening to English is an easy way to learn the language because people can access many audio sources over the internet and can listens to them at their convenience. It is an amazing way to have fun and learn something new. So, let's see and explore some audio sources which are easily available:

1) English TV Shows: 

It is one of the most effective ways to improve English communication skills. This is how you can utilise the time for Netflix and chill to improve your English speaking skills. 

First, it is necessary to choose a genre of show that you like. Second, one should finish the whole series and shouldn't leave the show in between. It is necessary to follow the plot and understand the characters. When you like the show, you may easily spend hours watching it and hearing English all the time. This way you can practice for a longer period. 

Watching the same show multiple times help in gaining a deeper knowledge of the vocabulary used, the phrases used, and the plot of the story. As you improve your English speaking skills, you can move to more challenging shows.

2) English YouTube Channels:

Youtube is the best platform to learn English because you find free content and content for all levels of learners, from beginners to advanced English speakers. Almost every video can be viewed with subtitles, slowed down, paused, and repeated until every word is understood.

If you are someone who has decent English speaking skills, you can choose any YouTuber you like and listen to their videos. For beginners, YouTube has dedicated English learning channels, which are the best way to start learning English. Beginners should watch a video once with the subtitles and then watch the same video again without the subtitles. A few channels which are great to learn from are:

  • BBC Learn English
  • Learn English with Mr. Duncan
  • LinguaMarina
  • EnglishClass101
  • To Fluency 
  • TEDx talks
  • PracUp

 

3) English News Channels:

It's always good to start the day by learning something new. News Channels not only keep you updated on what's going around in the world but expand your English-speaking knowledge. It's a great way to stay updated and see how people communicate in English, new words, the correct pronunciation of a word, and structure formation.

4) English Podcasts:

While many people might complain that they don't have time to watch shows, videos, or listen to the news, there is still a solution. PODCASTS!

One can listen to podcasts anytime and from anywhere, while traveling, having lunch, waiting at the reception, or cooking food. Podcasts are the best way to use the limited time of the day to do something productive and add to our knowledge. Apple Podcasts and Google podcasts are the two most used platforms to listen to podcasts.

A few podcasts that you must listen to are:

  • Learn English Podcast from the British Council
  • 6-Minute English from the BBC
  • The English We Speak
  • All Ears English

 

5) English Audiobooks:

Yes, reading is also a great way to learn English. But it is not everyone's cup of tea. So, E-books or Audiobooks can be your best friends. You can listen to the books that you have always wanted to read. One can access these audiobooks anytime they want to at their ease. Some platforms where you can find audiobooks are Open Culture, Overdrive, Scribl, Librivox, and Project Gutenberg.

6) English Songs:

We all remember our favorite songs and childhood rhymes by heart till the day. They have helped us immensely in learning English. Listening to music is another excellent technique to expand your English vocabulary and enhance your listening skill abilities. We should listen to a variety of songs again and again to learn a pool of new words. It is also a faster way to learn and retain things.

Listening Tips to learn English

Learning any language is a continuous process. No person can ever master a language. But below are some tips that will help you effectively learn English:

1) Stay optimistic:

It is immensely necessary to stay optimistic throughout the process of learning and improving your English speaking skills. It might take time to see results, but you don't have to get demotivated. Stay confident and follow the goals. Concentrate on paying attention and actively listen. Don't think about what you're going to say next, don't try to translate what they're saying, and just listen.

2) Choose a diverse range of English audio sources:

Every audio source has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, learning from a variety of resources will expand your knowledge pool. Also, do not stick to one specific topic. Listen to videos and watch movies and shows on different topics.

3) Transcribe what you learn:

If you come across words and phrases which you might not be familiar with, stop and think about what is its meaning and their usage in the context. You should also maintain a diary of vocabulary which are interesting. This way one can be able to retain them for a long time. One can also set individual tasks like learning five new words every day.

4) Repeatedly practice listening skills:

The most effective technique to learn English is to listen to it as much as possible. Returning to the same video, movie, or podcast to obtain a better comprehension is also beneficial. When learning a new skill, it is important to practice it multiple times. By that time, everything you've learned should be etched in your mind.

Improve your listening skills in English, and the rest will fall into place

Listening skills are frequently undervalued. Yes, being a good listener is an art itself. Mastering it can make the whole process of learning a lot easier. Learning to understand spoken English has a variety of advantages including the ability to improve your English speaking skills, improve your English pronunciation, and get to explore new ideas, cultures, and countries. If you can understand what one is saying, you are moving in the right direction, and you can enter into a successful conversation.

Learning skills is an ongoing process, and hard work is always rewarded. One should trust the process and not worry about the results.

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