Without doubt, listening is one of the more difficult skills to improve when you are learning English. When you listen, you rely on the quality and clarity of the speaker.
When I moved from Canada to Australia, I had trouble understanding approximately 5-10% of most conversations due to slang and the accent…and I’m a native English speaker!
Here are a few tips to help you develop your English listening skills:
1. Ask the speaker to speak more slowly. The person speaking wants you to understand, so they are happy to slow down – but you need to ask them.
2. Ask people to repeat what they have said if you didn’t understand. Again, the speaker is trying to have a conversation and will do what they can to help you.
3. Watch English television programs and movies aimed for children and teenagers. The actors use a level of English that is good for learners – making it easy to pick up new vocabulary, and hear grammar being used correctly.
4. Turn on English subtitles when you watch a DVD in English.
5. Watch the news in English – the pictures and videos help you understand the content.
6. Join an English conversation group in your city. Meetup is a good place to look for groups learning English. If one does not exist already – you can start it!
7. Visit VOA News to read and listen to current news that is written for English learners.
8. Practice, practice, practice.
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