An introduction to language learning is often heard.
Some of you may have noticed that teachers often let their class listen to music, watch a movie, or hear an audio recording of native speakers and their conversations.
Let’s dig deeper into how to learn languages by listening.
How different is learning by listening from other language skills?
There are many language learning strategies that give a huge advantage for people who take foreign language classes.
Without knowing what works for you, it may be hard to take that oral exam to pass proficiency for let’s say… the English language.
One of the principles of language learning says that listening to a native speaker talk enhances immersion and language acquisition faster.
To learn languages by listening takes not just active listening but also giving extra time to practice these audio resources.
That’s why authentic materials are important for anyone who want to really attain native language fluency in their target language.
Types of listening methods
One of the key elements to acquiring language is the beginner material tools and resources.
As we grow up from hearing our parents teach us words and phrases, it’s important to develop natural speech.
Have you found your type of listening strategy yet? If not, here are some of the methods that you can try switching to and see which one works best for your level and pacing.
Listening with visual cues
Visual cues can also be used to reinforce active listening exercises.
According to linguist Ute Limacher Riebold, visual signals and feedback are critical components of acquiring a language fluently.
Visual reinforcement aids in the formation of associations between unique and familiar words.
It also serves as a background and aids with long-term memory for different kinds of words.
When you listen with a visual guide, you will most likely remember the word better since you can remember an image you have associated the word with.
Top-down and bottom-up listening
In the field of auditory perception, top-down processing refers to processes that are based on higher-level knowledge about the world.
Bottom-up processes refer to those that operate at lower levels of analysis in the sensory input.
On the other hand, top-down listening occurs when we utilize prior information to make meaning of what we are hearing.
We already know a lot about the subject, and the tale or information we’re obtaining fits into a pre-existing schema.
Top-down listening, on the other hand, concentrates on linguistic principles rather than words.
It also aids in providing context for what the speaker is talking about.
By doing this listening technique, it improves your active listening abilities since you can make sense of themes and ideas faster, making the topic more intriguing and engaging.
It also serves as a link between vocabulary and big-picture ideas, elevating your language acquisition to a higher degree of complexity.
Listening for the context
Active learning involves understanding what you’ve just listened to. And for a beginner who doesn’t know French that much, it’s important to find keywords that make the whole story.
It might be important to also check grammatical relationships between what was said and what that person is asking about.
So, if you’re listening to a native speaker that asks questions for directions or even your favorite color without knowing a single word,
Sample situations to take advantage of listening is to listen to the news or any Youtube podcasts that have translations to your native language.
For example, I’m learning Italian and want to know the differences between the feminine, masculine, and plural grammar rules.
I will listen to different audio lessons that incorporate this grammar rule which is readily available by going to Youtube or just doing a quick Google search.
There are tons of options to try listening to for free and most of them already have answers and English translations that I can study.
Long-format listening is common for any type of language certification exam, especially a listening exam.
So, it’s crucial to invest your study time in listening practice.
Common issues that a language learner may encounter for listening skills
If your method of learning a language isn’t listening, you might have to start incorporating them with other activities other than the usual study methods.
Truth be told, it’s not easy to really pick up on a skill that you’re not familiar with. So it’s definitely one of the concerns you need to come up with an effective solution.
To have a clear grasp on what you can do, let’s take a look at the common issues that students of a foreign language complain about.
Native speakers speak too fast
A study in a Turkish primary school learning English states that the children equally had a hard time listening to same sounding words.
It is important for the resource makers of different language materials to make their listening exams clear by speaking out the words properly.
On the other hand, it is also important for the listener to be familiar with this style of talking. It is the only natural way to acquire a language and might even affect the way they think and speak in that language.
To practice fast speaking audio lessons, find those that you can adjust the speaking tempo option to a slower
Lack of grammar and vocabulary knowledge
Lack of grammar and vocabulary knowledge can be a real problem for students. They may not understand what they are reading or writing, or they might struggle to express themselves in the right way.
It will be a big problem if you keep on hearing informal conversations during an advanced level listening test.
So, if your daily routine is to incorporate audio books with
Not understanding the intended message
We’ve mentioned previously that listening skills are easily learned if you plan on listening to an audio lesson suitable for your language level.
On the other extremity, many language learners have a hard time deducing what the content was really about if they don’t have the right vocabulary or idea of what goes on in the context.
There are many explanations for this concern. One of which is the lack of empathy for which the topic is about.
Another good reason for not understanding the message is not having an open mind about some of the contents discussed during the audio lesson.
Since these issues can’t be avoided, it would be great if you can come up with your own thoughts and perceptions of that topic to engage with the speaker.
For professors and language teachers, this teaching method can be a good way to add other linguistic elements such as reading and speaking.
Why listening alone isn’t enough
Passive listening is not the intended output for anyone who wants to really learn and speak a language like it’s their native tongue.
It is important to turn your passive listening into active listening with other complementary language skills.
Listening should be paired with communicating actively which enhances your speaking skills.
It is inevitable for vocabulary practice or any other tests to include speaking after listening to a 15-minute conversation.