English listening practice guide for beginners
Good listening skill is the most essential means of learning a language, yet it is the most neglected factor among beginners to learn English. If you want to have a fluent English speaking future, you can’t just rely on new word boards or grammar books. You need a RIGHT START – learn English by listening practice.
1. Why practice listening to English?
Compared to the multitude of differences in living environment, education, and culture, you probably don’t have much in common with a native English speaker. But one thing is for sure: the way they and their friends learn their mother tongue.
In order to survive, a child’s instincts will tell him to imitate and develop language, so as soon as he is born, a child with full senses will put on the first ear. Listening skills are the first step in the journey of learning a native language, whether it is Vietnamese, English, German or Thai.
In this article, we will learn the steps to practice English listening for you – who are taking the first steps on the journey of learning English.
2. English listening practice for beginners
2.1 Stage 1: Get familiar with English phonetics
Although they have the same Latin alphabet, English and Vietnamese are very different in pronunciation, syllable arrangement, accents / intonation, etc. You should spend 1 session to learn briefly about the alphabet. English phonetics and the difference from Vietnamese phonetics. This will come in handy if you want to get it right – get it right later on.
Learn basic phonemes in English
Phoneme is the smallest unit of sound. In the English alphabet, there are only 26 letters, but there are 44 different sounds. And obviously, many letters can be pronounced differently in different words. For example, the letter “c” in “car” will be pronounced differently from the “c” in the word “city”. Learning the phonemes will help you easily identify words when you hear them.
For those of you who are able to distinguish sounds well in Vietnamese, you will not need to learn all the phonemes. You can focus on practicing with sounds that are especially difficult for Vietnamese people, for example: /∫/, /θ/, /ð/, /tʃ/, /dʒ/ or practice listening to distinguish short sounds. , long, for example /ɪ/, /iː/.
Also, remember to spend time practicing listening and pronouncing polysyllabic words.
Learn the basics of syllable mixing
English has the phenomenon of consonants being joined together when reading. This is called syllable mixing.
For example, mix initial consonants: /bl/ in black, /br/ in break, etc.
Learning how to blend the sounds of letters together will not only help you with pronunciation, but also help speed up the process of listening and recognizing words through sounds.
Learn about stress in English
A word in English can have many different meanings, and therefore will have different stress. Learning stress will help you recognize words more easily when you hear them.
2.2 Stage 2: Practice listening skills with simple video courses
Do you feel more ready? Once you are familiar with the basic sounds in English and know how to mix sounds to form words, you can start listening to English with simple topic videos.
At this stage, you just need to focus on listening and listening, not understanding everything. It is important that you listen as much as possible and listen as much as you can to let your brain get used to processing the new language.
With the huge amount of English learning videos online, it’s pretty easy to find a video that speaks English at a basic level. But they can have some limitations such as: the video does not follow a certain route, the explanation is lengthy but without subtitles, there is no auto-repeat or slow listening mode, and if all criteria are met It will even ask you to pay a fee.
2.3 Stage 3: Watch your favorite video/movie
If you could practice listening to English from a video on Mediterranean cooking or watching James Bond and get the same results as you did in class, I’m sure you wouldn’t hesitate to leave class right away. Undeniably, when we practice listening skills with our favorite content, we will be interested in learning and not feel bored.
Reading this far, you are probably thinking: “With my level, you must watch Vietnamese subtitles, then how to learn English?”. Actually, Vietnamese subtitles are very helpful, but if you just finish watching and leave it alone, it certainly won’t do much more than tell you what the movie is about.
So how to learn English through movies in a simple and effective way? Let’s read on.
Step 1: Watch the video/movie to understand the content
First, find a video/movie that you want to watch on Netflix, Youtube, Movie Learning, and so on.
After choosing your favorite video to practice, start watching to understand the main content of the video/movie. To assist in understanding the content, you can watch the video with bilingual subtitles or use a dictionary, a search engine on the spot if using English subtitles.
Step 2: Practice active listening with a short clip
Active listening practice will include two main processes: detailed listening (bottom up) and listening comprehension (top down). The two listening processes “bottom-up” and “top-down” are both meaningful in improving learners’ listening skills.
However, “bottom-up” listening exercises are often more useful for beginners to practice listening to English. Because, at this time, learners are limited by their meager language ability, so they almost cannot automatically process the information they are hearing.
To practice listening “bottom-up”, beginners need to practice listening with slow-paced listening. In the process, you need to focus on the details heard in combination with doing practice exercises to remember for a long time.
Here is the process of practicing active listening skills:
(1) Select a short clip from the video or episode you just watched in step 1 (about 30 seconds – 1 minute)
First, you need to choose a short clip from the video or episode you are watching to practice until it’s perfect. The clip should be 30 seconds to 1 minute short and be your favorite.
(2) Practice listening through the clip with the method “Delayed Repetition” (auto-pause):
The next step is “Delayed Repetition” – an English listening practice that requires learners to listen to a long sentence or phrase, wait a few seconds and then repeat the sentence/phrase they just heard.
(3) Practice listening through the clip with the “Guided Dictation” method:
“Guided Dictation” is one of two forms of the DICTATION method, also known as Listen to Spelling. This is one of the extremely effective methods to practice listening to English for intermediate learners.
Two common types of Dictation listening are Guided Dictation and Sentence Dictation. To achieve the best effect, practice listening to Guided Dictation first and then move on to listening to Sentence Dictation.
(4) Practice listening and parodying each line in the clip:
The act of listening and parodying is also known as shadowing (or shadow technique). You listen to each line in the clip and then say it again, trying to imitate the same intonation, pause, and word stress so that it is the most similar.
Step 3: Review vocabulary with games
You have now completed the active listening practice and learned many new words. As soon as you know a new vocabulary word, you need to review and reuse it as often as possible.
Why? Continuously using words in context through listening/writing/reading/speaking will imprint words in the brain and limit “forgotten lessons”.
This is the difference between active learning and “rote learning”.
Now let’s review the vocabulary that you have saved through various games.
Step 4: Practice passive listening (listening to the bath) with the clip above
Don’t forget to practice listening to the clip over and over again. Passive listening will help the brain to practice vocabulary unconsciously and train the ears to recognize them. You can:
– Listen again but don’t look at the subtitles
– Listen and imitate according to the speaker’s words
– Listen to the bath while doing daily tasks such as washing dishes, sitting on the bus, cleaning the house, …
Once you’ve finished practicing listening with that clip, you can move on to practicing with the next clips. But make sure you can hear and understand the entire clip without looking at the subtitles. At the same time, when listening to the clip, you can repeat the exact same sentences and lines at the same time as the speaker in the video.
Here are some suggestions for movies and songs with simple vocabulary, good content and easy to remember to start your English learning journey with joy.
Listening movies for beginners:
– Extra English
– 10 things I hate about you
– Mean girls
– Finding Nemo
Listening songs for beginners:
– Song Everytime We Touch
– Song That Girl
– My Love Song
Above are the detailed methods and stages of English listening practice for beginners, with eLib for reference to practice and improve your English listening ability! Good luck!