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Learning tip: Listen! Posted by on Sep 16, 2011 in Pronunciation

Hi, there! How have you been?

A lot of people ask me what’s the best way to learn a language. I tell them: Listen! A lot! Oftentimes they look at me with a funny face maybe thinking, “Really? But what if I want to speak too?”

Well, here’s the catch. In language learning we have two things called input and output. Input is what you listen and read and output is what you write and speak, basically. To be able to have great output, you need to have great input, and that’s where listening comes in. Alongside with reading, listening is of great help to build up your grammar structure, vocabulary, etc.

Here are some tips for making the best use of your listening material:

– Use materials that are in your level. Make good use of the audio program in your coursebook or your online course (Transparent Connect has awesome audio and video).
– Listen to a piece of audio many times, master it, be excellent at it!
– If you’re an intermediate student, Youtube has tons of videos with interviews and also graded Spanish for foreign learners.
– Transcribe the audio! Yes, that’s a lot of work but it’s so rewarding because you end up internalizing structures, sounds, spelling, etc. Remember also to use small pieces of audio, 5 minutes tops, otherwise you will get tired and lose motivation.

Now, as we’re talking about listening I found this TED talk by Julian Treasure called 5 Ways to Listen Better with some great listening techniques.

If you’re reading this post in your e-mail, click here to watch the video.

So remember the old proverb: You have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion!
See you next time!

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About the Author:Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.


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