Lesson Transcript

If you’ve studied your target language but you can barely understand native speakers, you might be doing something wrong. You know the vocabulary and grammar they’re using, but for some reason when they speak at a faster speed, you can’t keep track of what’s going on.
Why is this happening? Have you spent all this time learning in vain?
This is a common issue that all language learners face at some point or another. The truth is, it’s actually a good problem to have, because only students with a higher level of skill will experience it. When you know a lot of the language, but have trouble understanding native speakers, the problem is almost always with your listening skills.
Learning what words mean and practicing how to use them in a sentence are both invaluable skills to develop, but people often forget that in addition to speaking, writing, and reading we have to develop our listening skills in a foreign language as well.
In this video we’ll look at 3 practical ways to improve your listening skills
Number 1 Practice active Listening
One of the best ways to practice listening is to, well, listen to your target language. But this doesn’t mean putting on some music and listening to it in the background as you do other things. You need to practice active listening.
Get your hands on a recording of spoken language. You can use a movie, news broadcast, or podcast. You can even try subscribing to a Youtube channel. Listen to a segment of the audio and do your best to write down what you hear. After a couple tries at this go back and double check what you wrote against the script of what was actually said. If you’re watching a movie you can double check yourself by turning on the subtitles.
Our language learning program is one of the best tools for developing your listening skills. You can listen to the conversation in a lesson and then check it back against the lesson transcripts. This is simple, easy, and you can be sure that the transcripts are correct.
Number 2 Practice pronunciation
Any problems you have pronouncing new words correctly will be reflected back in your listening skills. It’s hard for your brain to decipher and remember a sound, be it a letter or a word, that you don’t know how to make yourself. A good accent will give you the ability to hear and pick out the otherwise unnatural new sounds. To develop your accent, focus on any sounds or letters that feel difficult or unnatural for you. Once you get more comfortable with the basic sounds, start to combine them using words and whole sentences.
Listen to native speakers as much as possible, and take note of how words and sounds can blend, morph, or get dropped in rapid speech.
Do your best to listen to this phenomenon and imitate what you hear. Focus more on how the syllables are said together rather than simply saying the words “next to each other”. There is often a significant difference between how words are said individually and how they are said when spoken together in a rapid fire sentence. This is a big part of the reason language learners can know a lot of vocabulary and grammar but still not understand native speakers.
Our playback feature is great for pronunciation practice. You can play back the podcast itself or listen to words individually. You can even listen back at a slower speed if you are having trouble catching the correct pronunciation at native speaker speed.
Number 3 Make listening part of your routine
Now that you’ve started practicing active listening and pronunciation, make it a part of your regular learning.
Allot a specific amount of time for each of your listening activities. For example: you might practice 10 minutes of active listening, followed by 10 minutes of practicing vowels, and then 10 minutes of imitation practice with a podcast. Now, you don’t have to use this schedule exactly. Tailor it to your own needs and availability.
The point is that you should make a conscious and decisive effort to practice your listening skills on a regular basis. It could be 30 minutes a day or it might be 10. What matters most is that you practice consistently.
These 3 tips will help you close any gap that might exist between your knowledge of your target language and your listening abilities.
Understanding native speakers may seem daunting at first, but with a little time and perseverance you will see your skills improve!
And for even more ways to practice listening, check out our complete language learning program. Sign up for your free lifetime account by clicking on the link in the description. Get tons of resources to have you speaking in your target language. And if you enjoyed these tips, hit the "like" button, share the video with anyone who's trying to learn a new language, and subscribe to our channel. We release new videos every week! I'll see you next time. Bye!