How can I improve my English listening skills?

May 7, 2019English and Study Tips, Smart Brains Spotlight


How can I improve my English listening skills?


Matija Rupčić


Smart Brains Spotlight 


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The topic for today is “How can I improve my English listening skills?“.

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Today we learned How can you improve your English listening skills? Let Matija Rupčić shares with you seven top tips which can help you to improve your English listening skills.


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How can I improve my English listening skills

How can I improve my English listening skills | Matija Rupčić


How can I improve my English listening skills?

Matija Rupčić


How can I become fluent in English?



Ways to Improve English Listening Skills and Understand Native Speakers


Thank you, “Youtube – Deep English“.


Answer by Matija Rupčić ( Psychologist, Writer, Language Freak ). All credit goes to Matija Rupčić,  Thank you!


How can I improve my English listening skills?


Learn to listen!


There is a big chance that all this time you didn’t really listen to English… What it means is that you have to be able to hear clearly not only words and connect it to a meaning in your head, but also to hear pronunciation, word stress, and feel the tone of words and sentences being used, based on the context. Also, context itself is something you should pay attention to. You’ll see how some words or expressions are being used in various contexts and this will give you an opportunity to really understand a meaning.


Your brain is probably used to movies, television and music. While watching TV shows or movies, try to listen carefully. It will be better for listening skills to turn off your subtitles! Subtitles actually divide your attention and you are learning meaning and recognition by using them, but it distract you from really hearing the words and all the details in speech. And those details are very important in order to improve your language skills. Every language has something that makes it unique, and by noticing some patterns in speech it will also help you improve your communication in English, ’cause you’ll be able to apply it when speaking. Subtitles mess up your concentration – you are paying attention to subtitles and it puts you in a state of mind where you think in your language more than the one you are listening to. If you avoid subtitles and pay your attention to what you are really hearing, you will be able to start thinking in English. When it’s about starting to practice your listening skills, one of most important things is to start thinking in English!


So, let’s start with LISTENING practice ideas:


1. Podcasts are a very good practice!While listening, you should pay more attention to vocabulary and pronunciation. When it comes to Podcasts you have an opprotunity to find podcasts with native speakers and to choose a topic you have a strong interest in!


2. Conversations and interviews are another thing to listen to. In a sea of content, when it comes to practicing your listening skills, listening to conversations (among natives!) and interviews is much closer to natural speaking situations and the language is more loose. You can find conversations and interviews in podcast formats too. And you can always pick a topic you are personally interested in. That way, not only it is going to be more interesting for you, but there is also possibility you will be able to widen your English knowledge much easier because there is a possibility you are going to remember the terms and language from your field of interest faster. Also, this kind of listening puts you right into English speaking zone and gives you opportunity to start thinking in English easier 🙂


3. Also, speeches and lectures are a good choice. Especially if you are in the world of academia or you are a student. It helps you widen your field’s vocabulary and adopt particular language of your field.


4. Movies and music are an old news by now. However, there are not to be ignored. However, be careful with your choice ’cause most of that content use very simple language structures and vocabulary.

Rap music and it’s subgenres could be a good choice! From all the rap music to grime! The reason is that you can find a bit different sentence structuring here, and you have an opportunity to really hear pronunciation of some words, especially because it comes in different accents. Also, this type of pronunciation is based on rhythmic structuring so it might help you to remember pronunciation or simply learn.


5. Listening + Reading fusion! We all know by now how important reading is! Let’s not spam this answer, so let’s just mention this… One thing you have an opportunity to do in 21st century is using more media at once! So, in order to practice your listening skills you can listen to audio book by reading that same book in the same time! It will help you to hear right pronunciation and it will get you in a flow. What’s great about it is that readers are natives and most of a time people who are schooled to read fluently and clearly.


6. Surround yourself with English language!   Talking to native speakers is very important when improving speaking skills! When you speak to someone who speaks “perfect” English, it encourages you and you subconsciously improve it. It’s like when you are trying to sing right next to someone with clear voice and then you try to sing next to someone who is a bad singer… you know the difference, right? This type of environment should help you become more aware of a language in the conversation itself.


7. Find a good English YT channel ! On Teacher Adriana’s YT channel you can find a lot of listening lessons and practice! Also, on YT channels you can follow Podcast episodes and content with subtitles so it’s easier for you to understand what is said.


*Most important thing is that you USE English frequently! Once you adjust to English conversations and English speaking environments, you are going to become very fluent in your English listening.


Here is a link to a blog where you can find more information about this and similar topics.


Reference: Matija Rupčić. “What mistake do non-native English speakers make even if they speak English well?”  originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

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