Improve your listening ability
When listening to someone speak (in any language) we rarely, if ever, pay attention to every single word they
say. This is simply because we don’t have to. All we need to do is catch the key words, i.e. those
words carrying the meaning or message, and our brains fill in the rest.
In spoken English, key words are stressed (sound louder) to varying degrees to indicate their relative importance; and, in a nutshell, the more a word is stressed, the more important it is.
What’s more, you can use this feature to help improve your listening comprehension in a simple and fun way.
The first thing you need to do is find a recording of some English you have not previously listened to. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you have no idea what it’s about; and, you can replay it over and over again. When you listen to the recording for the first time, have the volume turned down to the point where you can hardly hear anything. As you strain to listen, write down what you hear, and then try to guess what the speaker is talking about.
Next, play the recording again, but this time turn the volume up very slightly so that you can hear a little more. Add the new words you hear to what you have previously written down, and guess again. Repeat this process until you have guessed correctly.
The first time you do this exercise you may find your guesses are way off the mark, and so you might have to
repeat the process all the way up to listening at normal volume. Don’t worry.
With each new recording you use, your guesses will get better, thus showing your listening ability is steadily improving.