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How to Hear English Everywhere

Two simple definitions

  • to hear: to receive sound with the ears
  • to listen: to try to hear

You are very good at languages. That's obvious, because you already speak one language very well - your own! And if you can learn and speak one language well, then you can certainly learn and speak one or more other languages.

But did you ever ask yourself: "How did I learn my own language?" In fact, you never really "learned" it at all - you just started speaking it. One day, when you were about two or three years old, you started speaking your language. A few words at first, not full sentences. But you spoke. And very soon you made progress without even thinking about it. It was like magic!

But it wasn't magic. It was the result of hearing. For two to three years before you spoke, you heard people speaking your language all day, and maybe all night. You heard people speaking your language. Maybe you listened to people, but more importantly you heard. them. Then, as if by magic, you started to speak. All that hearing was necessary for you to start speaking. For two to three years words went IN to your head. Then words came OUT of your head! That is why hearing (and listening to) English as much as possible is so important to you now. The more English you put in, the more you'll get out!

So how can you hear a lot of English when you're not in an English-speaking country or family? Fortunately, there are many ways of hearing English in almost all countries of the world.

Radio

You can receive English language radio in most countries. Two of the best international networks are the BBC World Service and Voice of America. Both of them have special programmes for learners of English. You can find information about times and frequencies for your country on their web sites. 

Television

TV is an excellent resource for hearing and listening to English. The pictures help you understand what is being said. If you don't have access to English-language TV, you may be able to watch TV on Internet.

Internet

It is now a lot easier to hear English by Internet. If you're reading this at your computer, you can probably listen to some English-language radio news right now, without even moving! To be able to listen to radio on the Internet, you'll need to have special software called a "player" installed in your computer. Most sites work with two players - the RealPlayer from RealNetworks and the Windows Media Player from Microsoft. Don't worry. Both these players are free and you may already have them installed on your computer.

Music/songs

Songs in English are everywhere, even on foreign-language radio and TV stations. Listen to them often. Buy some cassettes or CDs, or make recordings, and try to write the words for an entire song. But choose one that is not too difficult. That means it should be reasonably slow, and with real words sung clearly. Some pop songs are very unclear and are difficult even for native English-speakers to understand fully!

Cinema

Outside the English-speaking world, many large cities have cinemas that show films in English, usually with sub-titles. Make it a habit to go to these films. If you need to read the sub-titles, at least you'll be hearing English even if you don't understand it.

Video

Video has one really great advantage. You can play it again . . . and again. You can use video to watch film cassettes that you buy or borrow. If there are sub-titles, you can cover them with paper (which you can remove if you really don't understand after listening several times). And you can use video to record programmes from television and then watch them several times to improve your understanding.

Friends

Try to make friends with English-speaking people so that you can practise your English through conversation. Of course, this will practise your speaking as well as your listening. And if you don't have a lot of time to go out and meet people, at least you can chat a little by telephone.

Finally, don't worry if you don't understand everything you hear. Hearing comes first! Understanding comes next!

From Englishclub.com

 

 

What you Can Do to Upgrade Your Listening Ability in English

I. Language Independent Factors

Are you often troubled by unsatisfactory understanding of spoken English? Before blaming yourself too soon, ask yourself whether incomplete understanding is the result of one or more of the following language independent factors.

 

 
Are you:
-tired? (after a heavy lunch)
-nervous? (facing a stranger who is a native speaker of English)
-not in the mood to receive any information, not attentive (after a hard day's work)
-a long way from where speaker is (on the other side of the road, on the telephone)
-disturbed by background noises (too much traffic; a plane passing over your head)
-unfamiliar with the topic (two strangers talking behind you in a bus; walking into a public lecture on Greek mythology or renowned South American writers)

II. Language Specific Factors

 

If none of the above factors seems to play a major role, then misunderstanding may well be the result of a combination of the following language specific factors:

 
-accent of speaker(s) e.g. British, American, Australian,

Singaporean...

-intonation patterns e.g. "He's coming." vs. "He's coming ?"
-stress e.g. "John will come, not George." Vs "John WILL come, there's no doubt about it."
-unfamiliar words e.g. 'rendezvous' in place of 'appointment'; 'to procrastinate' instead of 'to delay'.
-idioms e.g. "out of sight, out of mind"; "a bolt from the blue".
-colloquialism .eg. "He's gonna graduate this year."He ain't heavy, he's my brother."
-words used in informal style e.g. 'bobby' for 'policeman' or 'pal' for 'friend'
-speed e.g.[ican'ttaldtoyounowcauseI'mlateforclassandwehaveatesttoday...]

 

 
If -you feel that your command of English is inadequate to meet your academic needs, such as taking notes in lectures, expressing yourself in tutorials:
-you are anxious that it might be a potential obstacle to your future professional pursuits
then -do something about it NOW before it is too late!

 

III. WHAT YOU CAN DO ON YOUR OWN BEYOND THE CLASSROOM

Since English is easily accessible in the media (compared with French, German and Japanese), they make good, natural sources of input:

 
1. TV -choose your favourite programs and make regular appointments with them.
2. Radio - even more handy than TV, particularly on campus.
- you are free to do other things while listening - having breakfast, preparing to go to class, having a picnic, even jogging! In short, anything except intellectually demanding tasks such as intensive reading.
3. News -like songs, the news is full of frequently repeated broadcast items. (Famine in Ethiopia, apartheid in South Africa, the launching of the space shuttle...)
- since familiarity with what is being talked about (i.e. context) facilitates understanding, a good practice would be to watch news broadcasts on the English channel after viewing the Chinese version. In so doing, you can pay maximum attention to how the news items are presented in English.
4. Newspaper -since a clear visual image of a new word (in terms of spelling) may and help you acquire its pronunciation when you hear it pronounced in a magazines specific context later on (e.g. news on TV), a good practice would be to go over it at least.


From Chinese University

我的文章 My Essays
趣 味 故 事 A letter to a friend
發 音 要 門new006.gif (2701 bytes) HK opens to the world
  International School Trend
  Try on this thing
  Lack of Food
  Listen to us(Article 23)

友情連結Links to my friends

Rumination of 911

Ms Lee's homepage

Merger of U
在 線 笑 話 Increase Mainland Intake No.
語言中心(UST) 2nd term Chief Executive
 

A story to share

聆聽網站 webs for listening

 
AAE銳英  
賽博之聲  
Talking Bible口述聖經    
Voice of E英語之聲  
English 4us  
VOA美國之音  
IEC高階英文  
Speech of World  
John F. Kennedy  
英語聆聽學堂  
政府消息發播  
   
 在線英語播 放Online News  

BBC OnlineClick to hear

 
VOA News Click to hear  
SmallPoxClick to hear