How to Improve Your Listening Skills – 7 Tips You Can Use Today

Do you understand what you’re reading in your target language?

But is it still difficult to distinguish and recognize words while listening?

If you can answer both questions with yes, you’re reading the post you need to improve your listening skills.

Unfortunately, there is no “magic pill” that will help you to improve your listening skills… but there are a couple of tips to practice them. I’ll show you 7 of these tips.

1. Improve your listening skills with podcasts

Podcasts are incredibly helpful to improve your listening skills since most of them include a transcript. You can listen and read at the same time. Especially when you are a beginner, they can help you to enlarge your vocabulary.

Great podcast applications are:

  • New in slow German, Spanish, French, etc.
  • LangPod101
  • Spotify
  • TuneIn

2. Pay attention to the pronunciation

When you know how words and sentences are pronounced, you will understand the way native speakers speak. And when you understand the way native speakers speak… you will understand what they say.

Pronunciation isn’t only about the way letters are pronounced. It’s also about the way words are linked to each other, the syllables that are stressed, and the way native speakers use intonation. If you want to improve your listening skills, you should pay attention to these aspects.

3. Talk with native speakers

Even when you can’t understand radio channels and movies in your native language, it can be easier to understand native speakers in a verbal conversation. You have the opportunity to interrupt them if you don’t understand it. You can also ask them for clarification and to speak slowly.

And… when you talk with native speakers, you can also improve your pronunciation!

7 Tips to Improve Your Listening Skills

Image by Cole Hutson via Unsplash

4. Listen to music

Listening to music is another way to improve your listening skills. You can use the lyrics to understand better what is being said in the song and to sing along.

5. Watch movies/videos with subtitles

If you’re learning Spanish, watch Spanish movies with Spanish subtitles. Or if you’re learning English, watch English movies with English subtitles.

When you watch videos with subtitles in your target language, you’ll understand how words are pronounced since you can connect what you hear to the words you read.

Even when people talk fast.

6. Listen to a topic you already know something about

When you watch cooking programs often, you already know something about the context of cooking, don’t you?

If you decide to watch them in your target language, you can recognize it when they are talking about “washing the vegetables” or “cutting the vegetables into pieces” and other typical cooking concepts.

This is a good start. The more you will repeat this, the more you will understand. So listen to topics you already know about to improve your listening skills.

7. Listen to something that really interests you

To improve your listening skills, you should practice often. The more you practice, the more you will understand.

It’s important to listen to things that are really interesting for you. Otherwise, it will be hard to hold your attention and to stay motivated to practice every day.

So… if you’re interested in programming, listen to programming tutorials. If you like cooking, listen to cooking programs. If you’re interested in any other topic, listen to that topic in your target language.

Why is it so hard to improve your listening skills?

In my opinion, sometimes we’re not aware of how much we already do understand in our target language.

Even if we don’t understand the conversation entirely, we recognize a couple of words. And this is a good sign. Every little kind of progress is a little step forward. Don’t expect from yourself to understand everything perfectly in one day or in one week.

What is your opinion? Why is it hard to improve your listening skills? And how do you think you can improve it?


Featured image by Corey Blaz via Unsplash

Kamila is a polyglot who taught herself over 5 languages using social media and apps. She created Polyglot’s Diary where she enjoys sharing her tips and experiences. Head over to her Instagram profile and YouTube Channel to follow her progress.

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