The advantages of focusing on this frequently neglected and underestimated skill:
Words and phrases do not appear mysteriously on your doorstep. You need to see them in writing or hear them once. You need to make a huge effort to have contact with the language. It is your decision and action: switch on the mp3 device or your computer or laptop.
Feed your brain like you feed your body. Why should you treat it differently?
First you hear (or read) a phrase and then you can recall it. You cannot recall a phrase that is completely new to you.
“First reception, then production”
– first listen, then speak
To speak better you need to do more listening. You cannot reverse the order.
You can practice speaking if you already have more words to choose from and use.
Otherwise you will always be restricted to your 100 basic words.
It may seem banal but we often forget this simple observation. If you want to sound natural in a foreign language, listen to how native speakers use it. Great literature and novels serve other functions and are educationally valuable but they take time.
Depending on the source you use, there are greater chances that you will be exposed to natural speech patterns. Avoid artificial dialogues from textbooks.
Collocations are an inseparable feature of the spoken language. What a better place to find them than in speech. If you listen to authentic materials, you will have an endless source of correct phrases.
No excuses that you do not have financial resources. In this day and age everything you need to learn the language is at the click of the mouse.
Every waking hour of the day you can have contact with the language. Nobody and nothing limits you. This is your decision how often, what and when to do the listening.
(formal/ informal/ neutral) One of the biggest advantages of listening over reading is your exposure to different accents, both regional and personal.
When you listen, your lips imitate the movements of the speaker. Research shows that we do that at the subconscious level. The positive outcome is our clearer pronunciation.
Two more features of the spoken language that you learn only through listening.
Listen to materials that genuinely interest you. Otherwise, it is a waste of time.
You are in charge of your learning and constantly creating your personal vocabulary load. No teacher can do it for you.
This is another myth about language learning. There are certainly pluses of visiting a foreign country but so much time can be put to effective use without expensive trips abroad. And still there is no guarantee that you will have the opportunities to listen to hours and hours of high quality exchanges.
Then such a material has the additional educational value. The brain focuses on different aspects of the spoken language each time.
Take advantage of a so-called down time, when doing less engaging activities, travelling, commuting or waiting for a few minutes.