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Learning to listen to English-FITA Lesson 2

Watch this lesson.

Listening to English, even before reading or writing, is key to achieving an advanced level of English. That’s why this course is based on listening to English.

So let’s get more specific about what listening means and how to listen.

There are two ways of listening to a foreign language:

  • Paying a lot of attention to details. As your capacity to pay attention is limited – especially if your English level is not too high – you can only do this for a limited amount of time: 1, 2, or 5 minutes maximum. This is called Active Listening.
  • Letting the language flow into your ears without paying attention to details. This is what you do naturally almost all the time. This is called Passive Listening.

Listening will help you pronounce and speak correctly. But how should you do it correctly and effectively?

 

These are the steps you should follow to increase your level of English through listening:

1) When you start listening, begin by listening carefully for ONLY 1 to 3 minutes

The rest of the time you don’t need to pay so much attention. Just let the language flow into your ears.

Listening carefully means trying to memorise and learn the structures that you are listening to.

For example: If you listen to this paragraph:

“The studio was filled with the intense smell of roses, and when the gentle summer wind moved through the trees in the garden, the strong essence of lilac entered the room.”

You should listen to the same paragraph over and over again until all the sounds and structures become familiar.

Let’s see how you should memorise the sounds and the structures:

-The studio was filled- Sounds something like this “dé sstúdio wuáss fild”.  Listen to it and think about the sounds you’ve heard.

It is NOT “de estudio wuas filEd”. This is what you say when you are not really paying attention to what you’re listening to.

As I said in Lesson 1, the mind is like a runaway horse; when you listen to this paragraph you will automatically hear the sounds that your “Spanish mind” tells you to hear unless you do it slowly, PAY MORE ATTENTION and repeat the sentence several times.

2) You have to learn to make the new sentences yours

This means that you’ll repeat them so often they won’t sound unfamiliar anymore.

Becoming familiar with a sentence means that the sentence sounds natural to you and you can visualise the situation in the same way you do it in Spanish when someone says something to you.

So when you hear, The studio was filled with the intense smell of roses”, you actually see the studio and you smell the roses.

To get to this degree of familiarity with the sentences, you should listen and repeat aloud what you have just heard one, two, three or a hundred times.

3) First, listen two or three times to the recording, then read the transcript

Reading without listening can be very dangerous for your pronunciation. That’s why it’s important to ALWAYS listen first.

The more you can listen without reading, the better.

Think about the following fact:

Children spend almost 5 or 6 years of their life listening and speaking their own language before they start learning to read. That’s why they never make pronunciation mistakes.

If you had done the same in English when you were a child, you wouldn’t make any pronunciation mistakes now.

So remember that it is very important to listen to English without reading at the beginning.

4) Pay close attention to the differences between the spelling and the sound when you read the transcript

Most of the problems related to listening and speaking have to do with not concentrating on the difference between the spelling and the sound of the word.

So if you read:

  • In the middle of the room, on an easel-

You should listen carefully to the sound of each word:

  • middle /ˈmɪdl/
  • room /rʊm/

(closing your lips to say the letter “m” at the end)

  • easel /ˈiːzl/ the “s” is pronounced with certain vibration. That’s why in phonetics is represented by a “z”. It’s not: /esel/

And to the sound of the entire sentence as a whole.

  • In the middle of the room, on an easel- sounds something like this: /in the mídl óf dé rúm, ón ánissel

What to listen to

This course is based on listening to a graded bilingual audiobook called “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. We’ll go into detail on how to listen to it in the following lessons.

However, this is NOT the only material I want you to listen to during this course.

You can listen to all the English you want any time and any place.

Please, use your mobile phone, tablet, computer, television, radio,  or any other similar devices to listen to as much English as you can all throughout the day.

Take a look at the table below which contains  recordings of different levels and degrees of difficulty.

You should move between these levels.

First Month

Day

Beginner/Low Int.

Inter-Upper Int.

Advanced

Mondays

The Three bears  

Family Relationships

Personal Information

Yesterday

Heavenly pies restaurant

Answering machine

A Fun day

Getting around Tokyo

A free cell phone

Assisted living

Car accidents

A University degree

Tuesdays

Anna’s story

Min’s story 

Hue Le’s story 

Ying Jie’s story

The Lost Art of Witch Hunting

Annie and Jasmine

News Australia

Kangaroo Analysis

The Monk who sold his Ferrari (listen to one chapter every Tuesday)

Wednesdays

ESL Short listenings 1

Where do you come from?

Supermarket

Listening comprehension 

Bad weather

Legal Highs News Report
The Nature of Myths 

 Nature clean and fresh
Comparing information delivery
Food supply vs. deforestation
Space Exploration 

Thursdays

Verb to enjoy

The Alphabet

Visit in the country

Phone call from Radio D

Choose one exercise every Thursday

Self-Employment
Lawsuit Financing
Car Repairs
Scientists solve mystery

Fridays

Nationalities
Going to the zoo 
Not all carrots are orange 
Looking for work

Choose one episode from the list every Friday

Dating Woes
Housing Complaints
Personal Health Problems
Telemarketing

Saturdays

Listen to 5 minutes every Saturday

You have changed
Sports Roundup
Haybridge Hall
Parent Teacher meeting

Could we actually live in Mars?
What is dust made of?
Who was the real Christopher Columbus?
Can you solve the Ragnarok riddle?

Sundays


A day at the office
My favourite restaurant
A letter to a friend

 

Choose one lesson every Sunday

Street Market
Taxi Ride
Professional babysitting
The Ideal Woman

 

Note: Remember to listen very carefully for only a few minutes at the beginning. Try to remember the sounds, structures and meaning.

 

Second Month

 

Day

Beginner/Low Int.

Inter-Upper Int.

Advanced

Mondays

Hanna’s story 

Sara’s story 

Victor’s story

Newaz’s sotry

Interview with Peter- British accent

Apartment for rent

Daily Schedule

Hotel reservations

Big brother is watching you (Listen one chapter every Monday)

Tuesdays

20 questions

Hawaii

Favourite Fruit

Opposites

One exercise of this list each Tuesday

One listening of this list each Tuesday

Wednesdays

Dawn’s family

Nancy’s schedule 

Stephanie’s likes and dislikes

Flag Football

A Trip To Italy

European Attitudes Towards Smoking

Playing tennis tournaments 

Problems with British universities 

Choose one recording from the list

Listening 1 CPE

Listening 2 CPE

Listening 1 CAE

Thursdays

Listen episode 1

Listen episode 2

Listen episode 3

Listen episode 4

Problems with my English

Avatar Congo 
Black Saturday 
Breasfeeding

BBC
BBC
BBC 
BBC

Fridays

 Shwan’s story

 Fresh water dolphins

Rafa Nadal

Save the planet and yourself

Flower Power
True or false 1
True or false 2
Bansky

Listening quiz 1
Ejercicio 2
Economy in Europe
The Dole

Saturdays

World of Movies

The Rock Star

The New Class

Business Communications

70-year old proves it’s never too late
Electric shocks
Company makes gas from garbage
City dwellers try raising chickens

Banned by Customs
Touchy Topics
Irish history
Shakespeare

Sundays

Choose one episode every Sunday

 

 

Choose one episode for each Sunday

Choose one activity for each Sunday.

Note: Remember to listen very carefully for only a few minutes at the beginning. Try to remember the sounds, structures and meaning.

 

Quiz Lesson 2

1) What is the difference between active and passive listening?

a) In active listening you don’t pay attention to details, in passive listening you do.

b) In active listening you pay attention to details, in passive listening you don’t

c) In active listening you do other activities apart from listening, in passive listening you just listen

d) In active listening you underline some words, in passive listening you don’t

2) When you start listening you should:

a) Listen to everything

b) Listen about 30 minutes

c) Listen to only 1 to 3 minutes

d) Listen whatever you feel like listening to

3) “Make the new sentences yours” means:

a) You write them on a piece of paper

b) You read them aloud a couple of times

c) You repeat them so often that they won’t sound unfamiliar any longer

d) You make a sentence yours

4) Why is it important to listen and then read?

a) Because if you read first you will never learn to pronounce correctly

b) It’s not important

c) To test your capacity to understand English

d) It’s more interesting

5) What should you do after you listen to a recording?

a) Try to write it down

b) Nothing. 

c) Pay attention to the new words

d) Pay attention to the difference between the spelling and the sound of the words

Answers here

Go to lesson 3

 

6 comentarios

  1. Saludos,
    Quiero aprender ingles y buscando un podcast, me encontré con el de ustedes, me encanta. Estoy comenzando hoy, pero todo lo que visto, me gusta mucho. Así que ya les ire contando de los avances

    Gracias.

      • Fernanda: Tengo que saber el contexto, pero debería ser:
        “because people don’t find the wrong word in this sentence”. No es “THE” people, porque estás hablando de la gente en general, no de un tipo de gente. Espero haberte ayudado. Saludos, Mónica

  2. Hola Mónica,
    Gracias por hacer que el curso FITA esté al alcance de todos lo que tenemos el inglés como “pendiente”. Decidí mejorar mi nivel de inglés – hablarlo fluidamente sin temor – y tú curso tiene información de gran utilidad para mí. Empecé hace una mes y sigo tus consejos al pie de la letra. Te comentaré a medida que vaya avanzando!
    Muchas gracias:)

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