Listening and Speaking Skills
Listening to English
Listening skills are passive skills, that is, they are used to understand another other person’s production of language (their speech). Native English speakers can seem to talk very quickly to a non-native English person. The spaces between words are not visible like they are in written text, so the sounds jumble up together to form one long incoherent sentence. It takes a while of patient listening practice before a non-native English speaker can discern between different sounds which make up individual words and realise where one word ends and another begins.
Listening is a vital skill to develop for university students as listening in lectures and note- taking. In order to develop listening skills it is important to help tune your ear into the sounds of the English language, so that you can more easily pick out individual words and sentences. Listening regularly to English radio and watching English TV can really help to get used to the sounds of English so that you are more able to focus and understand English speakers in your own life, whether in a lecture or in a shop.
Speaking a new language can be especially difficult if the sounds in the English language are not the same as in your native language. Some languages never use certain sounds that are regularly found in English, such as the ‘r’ sound, the ‘v’ sound or the ‘th’ sound. Our Language Guide contains a pronunciation (phonology) section which explains methods of overcoming pronunciation difficulties with English.
Please see our pronunciation guide for more tips.
Read more about using English listening and speaking skills in our Language Guide.