If you have difficulties in listening and understanding English, you’re not alone – this is one of the most common problems for English learners while learning English. It’s frustrating and embarrassing when you can’t understand spoken English – but in this English lesson, I’m going to explain why it’s so difficult and teach you how to improve your English skills.
There are three reasons why listening to English and understanding it is difficult
Many English words are pronounced different from the way they are written
For example silent letters in words
Eg: Laugh, thought, honest (These words have silent letters in them which aren’t pronounced while talking, making it difficult to pronounce them if you are not used to hearing enough English if you are a non-native speaker.)
Also, the same letter can be pronounced different in different words
Eg: E in egg is a short “eh” sound.., E in eat is a long “eee” sound
When native speakers talk they connect the words together..so individual words aren’t pronounced clearly. This sometimes makes it difficult for English learners to understand what they are saying.
For example: what are you doing today sounds more like “Whatcha doing today .” when a native English speaker says it. So, therefore, it’s difficult to understand
People read too much and don’t listen enough
When you were a baby or a little child, you first heard words, learned to speak, then read or write..yes.? But English learners often try to read and write more than they listen to enough English. That is another main reason why learning and understanding English becomes more difficult.
But even though English listening is difficult, you can learn to listen well in two different ways:
Practising listening daily.Create the habit of listening to English for at least 15 minutes a day. Even if you’re busy and don’t have much time you can listen while driving to work/school..While taking public transportation..in a bus or a metro or a train, while exercising or doing household chores.
What should you listen to:
CD’s, English websites where you can download dialogue
Practising the right way
Have you been practising the wrong way?
Relax and understand that it is normal for you to have less or limited understanding the first time you listen. So don’t expect to learn everything all at one..or don’t expect to learn to understand English very fast. Set realistic expectations
Listen at least three times.
First time: Listen to the general topic. Don’t try to understand every word. Just try to get the summary or the main idea of the paragraph that you are listening to.
Second time: Listen again and now try to understand some more specific details. It’s ok not to catch every word.
Third time: Listen the third time while actually reading the text. Now pay attention to the individual words. Mark individual words that you may want to learn and try to see how they are applied in sentences. Try to form sentences of your own if possible.
So going from general to more specific helps you listen and understand English better.
So practising, but practising in the right way