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(Su tm t tp ch Hot English Magazine)


Here are nine tips for improving your listening skills in English.
1. Accept the facts
First of all, you need to accept the fact that you arent going to understand everything. Experts have
shown that we only actually hear or fully understand about 40% of the words during a
conversation even in our own language.
2. Keep calm!
While youre listening, the most important thing is to stay calm. You wont understand everything so
dont let that upset you. The aim is to get a general idea of what the other person is saying. Never
try to listen out for every word. Listen for the gist of the conversation go for the main ideas.
3. Ask for help!
If youre having problems during the conversation, ask the other to speak more slowly. Also, ask
people the repeat things if you didnt understand. Again, the speaker is trying to have a
conversation and will do what they can to help you.
4. Dont translate!
While youre listening, dont try to translate. If you do, youll start concentrating on translating and
not on processing the information. And then youll lose track of the conversation.
5. Keywords!
The most important thing is to listen out for the key words the important, stressed words.
Basically, English is a stress-timed language. This means that when we speak, we focus on specific
stressed words while quickly gliding over the rest. Those stressed words are usually nouns
(dog/table), verbs (sit/run), adjectives (beautiful/wonderful) and adverbs (quickly/slowly).
Most of the other words (determiners, auxilary verbs, pronouns, etc.) are weak sounds. The great
thing is that you only really need to understand the key words in order to follow the conversation.
For example, if you heard the following key words, saw/film/cinema/last night, youd understand
and that the other person is probably saying, I saw a film at the cinema last night.
6. Think context!
The other really important thing is to think about the context. If you know what the main topic is,
youll be able to guess what the other are talking about. For example, if you know the topic is the
weather, you can be sure that theyre going to mention things about the rain, the snow, the wind,
the temperature and so on.
7. Guess!
If you know what the context of the conversation is, you should be able to guess a lot of what the
other person is saying even if you dont hear or understand all the words. The trick is to use your
imagination, to guess and to follow your intuition. It isnt an exact science, but it works!
8. Improve your pronunciation!
Finally, you need to learn about English pronunciation, and above all, connected speech. This occurs
when sounds merge together to form new sounds often when a consonant sound at the end of a
word is followed by a vowel sound in the following word. For example, She lived in New York
would be She liv din New York with connected speech. And we dont usually say, Look/out (with
separate sounds), we say, Loo kout (with the final consonant k combining with the vowel sound
ow of the second word).
9. Practise!

So, what can you do to improve your listening skills? There are three main things:
- Listening to recordings that are specifically targeted at your level.
- Listen to native speaker conversations and recordings (from films, the news, TV series, songs, etc.)
in order to develop your ear for the language.
- Listen to recorded material and read the tapescript at the same time so you can see how the
words and sounds fit together.
Now go and get listening!