If you ever forget why listening matters.

LISTENING SKILL – how to improve it quickly and speak more fluently

The advantages of working on this frequently neglected and underestimated skill:

1. You feed your brain with the language

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?

2. You recall vocabulary easier because you give “food” to your brain first

First you hear (or read) a phrase and then you can recall it. You cannot recall a phrase that is completely new to you.

3. You activate the rule: “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.

4. You need to listen because we write and talk differently

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.

5. You listen to authentic and natural English

Depending on the source you use, there are greater chances that you will be exposed to natural speech patterns. Avoid artificial dialogues from textbooks.

6. You listen to the collocations in use

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.

7. Free downloadable materials are available online 24/7

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.

8. Exposure to the language is unlimited

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.

9. You listen to different accents and registers (formal/ informal/ neutral)

One of the biggest advantages of listening over reading is your exposure to different accents, both regional and personal.

10. Your pronunciation improves

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.

11. Your intonation and stress improve

Two more features of the spoken language that you learn only through listening.

12. YOU choose the topics of YOUR interest

Listen to materials that genuinely interest you. Otherwise, it is a waste of time.

13. You take your learning process in your own hands

You are in charge of your learning and constantly creating your personal vocabulary load. No teacher can do it for you.

14. You don’t have to go abroad to listen to native speakers

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.

15. You can listen to the material twice or more

Then such a material has the additional educational value. The brain focuses on different aspects of the spoken language each time.

16. You can do other things while listening, not so when you read

Take advantage of a so-called down time, when doing less engaging activities, travelling, commuting or waiting for a few minutes.

Your overall improvement is GUARANTEED.

Explore these websites:

BBC Business Daily – The daily drama of money and work from the BBC.

BBC World Business Report – The latest business and finance news from around the world from the BBC

BBC Four Thought – Series of thought-provoking talks in which the speakers air their thinking on the trends, ideas, interests and passions that affect culture and society

BBC Law in Action – Joshua Rozenberg presents Radio 4’s long-running legal magazine programme, featuring reports and discussion on matters relating to law

Legal Talk Network – Legal Talk Network is the premier online legal media network. The podcasts are hosted by leading professionals and feature high profile guests.