Categories
Academic IELTS apps B1 Test CAE Exam Preparation English Courses English Exams English Language School English Testing Eurospeak Reading Eurospeak Southampton FCE Exam Preparation free apps General IELTS Grammar IELTS Preparation Language Learning Learn English Listening online english Solent University Southampton University Summer School

Listening

When we listen to something, it often goes in one ear and out the other – as the popular English idiomatic expression goes, or it falls on deaf ears, but that shouldn’t happen if you want to improve your listening skills; you should be all ears.

Ears – ears are important; they are our auditory apparatus attuned to sound waves created by the vocal cords of others; our ears pick up sound waves; the ear transforms these waves into intelligible signals that our brains can understand. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Captu785re-1.png

Listening for communication is to understand the spoken word; as students need to understand what speech is; sentence intonation and stress that maybe focusing on specific information and interpreting the context and topic – stress, intonation, rhythm and the paralinguistic features such as intonation or volume loudness.  A familiar cry from us all when doing a listening exercise in a language class is ‘I don’t understand’.

Normally, in a teaching class where you are leaning the language, as opposed to exam orientation and familiarization, your teacher will play the recording at least twice maybe more using one or more activities; you may even have the transcript to help you.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Captu664re.png

But why is listening a problem? Is it you? Is it the quality of the recording? Is it noise pollution from elsewhere in the school or from the traffic outside? Are the accents of the speakers strange or unintelligible? Is the recording not being played enough times? Are the speakers talking too fast?

A lot of the listening comprehension problems stem from unfamiliarity with a speaker’s accent; their speed of delivery, idiomatic language and perhaps most importantly from technical elements of pronunciation that the listeners, us the students, haven’t been acquainted with such as pronunciation, recognising contractions, understanding the reduction and blending of sentences at word or cluster level; the adding of extra sounds in rapid conversation between words and the many English words where we don’t pronounce all the syllables or sounds, for example chocolate where it is pronounced choc-late.

There are also may words that sound the same in rapid speech; words that sound almost the same ‘cab’ and ‘cap’, ‘sheep’ and ‘ship’. There is also the familiarity learners have with one particular type of accent; as learners, we have to be open to the fact that speakers of a particular language, be it English, Spanish or Chinese have various accents and speeds of delivery. If we become accustomed to just one accent, we will have difficulties understanding the range of accents spoken by ‘native’ English speakers from across the English-speaking world and more importantly those speakers of English whose first language isn’t English who outnumber native speakers.

Types of Listening

 So, what types of listening do we do? There are perhaps two types of listening we do not only as language learners but also in our mother tongue; firstly, there is the listening we do in class or a lecture theatre or on TED Talks;  the language here is high in information; we listen for the most part passively; we also watch TV in this way – passively, unless we are shouting at our football team or a politician, but on TV the spoken language is more dynamic with a range of styles formal informal, spontaneous, chatty and prepared.  The second type of listening we do isactive, possibly in a conversation, where we have to understand the subtle cues of politeness and turn taking in a conversation.  In this type of listening where we are participating, non-linguistic features like body language and facial expressions are used to get our meaning across. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Cap5t5ure-1.png

When I learned Spanish, I spent two years just watching Spanish-language soap operas, mini series and movies; the actors had a variety of accents and came from many different countries.  As such my listening skills are now very good; it required dedication.

So, how do you improve your listening skills? Listen to as much radio, music and TV as possible; listen to as many accents as possible and learn how the language is pronounced.

By Chris Scott, March 2020

Categories
apps B1 Test English Exams English Language School English Testing Eurospeak Southampton free apps freeapps IELTS Exam Preparation international student card Language Learning Language School online english Reading skills Solent University Southampton Southampton University Summer School websites

Mejora tu Listening

Si estás intentando mejorar tu audición en inglés, es importante que escuches tanto como sea posible sobre temas en los que estás realmente interesado – si no estuvieras escuchando ese tema en tu lengua materna, probablemente tampoco querrías escucharlo en inglés.

Letra de canciones: Primero, elige una canción en inglés que te guste. Luego busca el video lírico correspondiente (video musical con letras) en YouTube, escucha la canción y cántala con la ayuda de las letras.  

Películas/ programas de televisión: Piensa en un género que te guste. Busca una película o programa de televisión en inglés de ese género y mírala!  

BBC Radio 4: Si tu inglés ya es relativamente bueno, intenta escuchar BBC Radio 4. No hay música, pero hay muchas conversaciones en forma de programas que se ven a menudo en la televisión inglesa.  

Intercambio de idiomas: Busca a alguien con quien puedas practicar inglés. ¿Por qué no te reúnes con alguien y hablas? Te verás obligado no sólo a hablar por ti mismo, sino también a escuchar lo que dice tu contraparte. 

TED Talks: TED Talks es un sitio web con muchas presentaciones en inglés. Las presentaciones son sobre muchos temas diferentes, así que puedes elegir algo que te interese. También es posible activar y desactivar los subtítulos. Es una buena idea escuchar la presentación una vez sin subtítulos y luego de nuevo con los subtítulos para buscar algo que se te haya pasado por alto o que no hayas entendido. 

English version https://eurospeak.org.uk/eurospeakblog/2019/01/04/improve-your-listening/

Categories
CAE Exam Preparation English Courses English Language School eurospeak Eurospeak Southampton FCE Exam Preparation General IELTS IELTS Exam Preparation IELTS Preparation Language Learning Language School Learn English Life in Reading Reading Reading University Solent University Southampton Southampton University Study Abroad Summer School Uncategorized Universities in UK

STRATEGIES FOR B2 FIRST AND C1 ADVANCED LISTENING PART 2

Listening Part Two in the B1 First and C2 Advanced exam is a gap-fill exercise. You are given a number of sentences with gaps and you need to complete the gaps with a word or short phrase. Here are some strategies that you can use to try to get the answers correct.

Firstly, you have time to read the text before you listen, so read it! But you need to read quickly because there isn’t a lot of time for this.

When you read, use the context to tell you the type of word or words you need to complete the gaps with – do you need a noun, an adjective, a verb, an adverb, etc.?

Also, use the context to predict the type of information that goes in the gap. This will help you to know what to listen for.

When you complete the gaps, you must use the exact word or words that you hear in the listening.

It is difficult to write one answer and continue to listen for the next one. Therefore, instead of trying to write the whole word or short phrase, just write an abbreviation (for example, the first letter of the word(s)). Then after you listen, you can write the full answer. Doing this means you can spend more time concentrating on listening and less time thinking about writing.

You listen twice. Use the first listening to listen for the answer; use the second listening to check that your answer is correct.

After you have completed the answers, read the sentences again to check that they make sense. The sentences always make sense when they are completed with the right answer. If the sentence makes sense, your answer could be correct; if the sentence does not make sense, you answer will not be correct.

ALWAYS GIVE AN ANSWER! You do not lose any marks for wrong answers, so if you are not sure, just guess – you might be correct and then you’ll get a point!

In the listening exam, you have a question paper and an answer sheet. After you have completed all parts of the listening exam (Part 1, 2, 3 & 4), there is time for you to transfer your answers from the question paper to the answer sheet. You must do this! If you don’t do it, you won’t get any marks! The answer sheet is sent to Cambridge and is marked, but the question paper is destroyed!

So, try out these strategies when you do practice tests, find out which ones work for you and then use them in the exam too. Good luck!

For more information about studying General English, Cambridge Exam Preparation or IELTS Exam Preparation courses with Europeak Reading or Eurospeak Southampton, please contact us on:

Eurospeak Southampton
10 Cumberland Place
Southampton
Hampshire
SO15 2BH
+44 (0) 2380 636 494
hello@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk

Eurospeak Reading
29a Chain Street
Reading
Berkshire
RG1 2HX
+44 (0) 1189 589 599
info@eurospeak.org.uk
www.eurospeak.org.uk