Learn English Article 120
How To Get The Best Out Of Your Speaking English Podcast
The Podcast Series ARTICLES
This weeks speaking English podcast is different to last weeks English podcast. We have had quite a number of questions asking "how to?" or "how do I?" use the English podcasts and we thought it would be best to produce a dedicated explanation of how to get the best out of our podcasts.
Do not forget to sign up for the free 7 Rules To Adept English course it covers our way of teaching and explains why we do what we do in much more detail.
This longer (Monday) free English podcast is all about how to get the best out of our English podcasts and the PDF transcripts we provide. There is a big difference between having a free English podcast to download and knowing what we at Adept English recommend you do to learn English speaking using our "listen & learn" system of learning.
Hi there, I’m Hilary and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. We are here to help you with your English language learning and every week we give you new podcasts to listen to.
Sometimes people ask me ‘How should I be using the podcast?’. I think the answer to that question depends probably on the level of your English. Your level of English means how far you have come with English – what you are able to do. Now, sometimes when people talk about their level of English, they talk themselves down. They say ‘Oh, I’m terrible at English’. And I would say that there is nothing terrible about anyone’s level of language learning. All of us learning a language have been through every stage – we all go through the same levels. So there is no need to put yourself down. Just be honest about where you are up to – and then work out what you need to do to get to the next level.
RIGHT Click on the icons and choose SAVE LINK AS to download the files
So you have found our cool English speaking podcast and free downloads, now what?
So, if you’re someone who’s been learning English for a while, or you’ve spent time in an English speaking country, then your English might be pretty good. You might be listening to the podcasts every week, just to keep your English language fresh, so that you don’t forget it and it’s all nice and polished when you need to speak English. You may listen to the podcast and understand every single word, first time, all the way through – like an English speaker would. If this is you, then probably you’re going to listen to the Adept English weekly podcasts only once or twice. And then, because your English is so good, you have lots of other sources – you can watch films and understand the dialogue, you can listen to most English podcasts, YouTube videos, whatever you like.
Now if your English isn’t quite at that level, you might listen to the weekly podcast, and you will understand most of the meaning first time through. But you may find that there are a few words and phrases that you don’t catch the first time. It may be an expression that you haven’t heard before, or it maybe that you do actually know the words, it’s just that I’ve spoken them quite quickly – or I’ve pronounced them in a way that you didn’t expect. Or it could be that you understand the words, but I’m using a phrase or an idiom that you’ve not heard before. So you might then have another listen – and work out from the context – ‘Ah, right, I know what she’s saying now’. And if this is you, then the good advice is the same as for every level – once you’ve understood more or less every sentence in the podcast, then listen a couple more times, just to help the new vocabulary, the new words stick in your memory. If you like, listening again seems to put the new words into your ‘listening memory’.
We are offering you much more than someone talking English and a free pdf download, we are giving you a complete learning system
Now again, if you have less experience at listening to spoken English language, you may listen to the podcast first time through and find that you understand some parts of it, but not other parts. You may have an idea of a percentage and say to yourself ‘I’ve understood about 70%’ or ‘I’ve understood about 50% of it’. Now if it’s like this when you listen to the podcast, don’t be put off. It means that if you work with the podcast, you’re going to learn quite a few new words and expressions, so that’s good. It will help you improve. So if you listen a few more times, you’ll probably be able to work out some more of the meaning from the context.
This is important because you become used to not understanding. [And] Not understanding immediately it doesn’t send you into a panic. You learn to keep listening, even when you don’t understand everything. This is really important because it’s what will happen sometimes in real English conversation. And you have to learn not to lose focus, even when there are words you don’t understand. So after a few listens, if you still don’t understand certain phrases, go to our website at adeptenglish.com and have a look at the transcript, the written version. For every podcast, there is always a written version. So if you listen and look at the written words at the same time, you may make more sense of it. And if you achieve understanding at this point, it’s really important to listen to the podcast a couple more times, without the written words, just to check that you still remember the meaning of the words you didn’t know at first.
Hearing the words, in context, will mean you’re more likely to remember them in future. It’s also a good idea to listen again a couple of days later, to see if you still remember the new words. This way, you ensure that they’ve gone into your long-term memory, rather than just your short-term memory.
Speaking English fluently has nothing to do with grammar or advanced English or translation
If you do all of this, you look at the transcript and there are still words in the podcast you don’t understand, then this is the point at which you can use an online dictionary like Google Translate or an actual book dictionary, if you have one, to find out what the words mean. But this is part of why Adept English is different – we try to make it that looking in the dictionary is the very last thing that you do. It’s the ‘last resort’. That’s because if you’re looking something up in a dictionary, effectively you are translating.
Of course, it’s necessary sometimes to use a dictionary and to translate – certainly if you’re at the beginning of your journey in learning a language. You’d be lost without your dictionary. But the further on you go, try to use the context rather than the dictionary to work out the meanings. It’s really important to get away from translating in your head as soon as possible if you want to be fluent.
You will never learn spoken English from PDFs or books
If even that’s difficult and you find that you understand 50% or less of a podcast, then perhaps the best approach is the same as above. It will be more work – you’ll have to work quite hard, going gradually through every part of the podcast that you don’t understand, until you arrive at understanding. It’s still well worth it – especially when you are able to have that experience right at the end of your hard work, where you can listen to the podcast all the way through, and understand every word. It can be a real boost to your confidence when you do that.
For that moment, for that podcast, you might feel almost like an English native speaker! But don’t be disheartened when you move on to another podcast and once again, first time through, you understand less than 50%. It’s hard work learning like this, but if you carry on, you will be learning an enormous amount. If you persist with this, your English can only improve. And I know that some of you are very determined to learn English. So your hard work will pay off.
If you want to speak English fluently in conversation then you will need to listen to English people speak first
If you understand less than 50% of the podcast, and you find this approach too difficult, it could be that you would benefit from doing some more work on your English first, so that you have a higher level of English in order to understand the podcast. We always say that Adept English is not for beginners. You must have a certain level of English to begin with. If this is the stage of learning English that you’re at, you may find that using our course The 500 Most Common Words in English is really helpful. This course is available on our website. We’ve purposefully priced it so that it’s not expensive. Or certainly not compared to other courses. As far as we are aware, The 500 Most Common Words Course is the only course of this type. I haven’t found any other courses like this one! What I did to create this course, was take the 500 most used, most common words in the English language. And I’ve constructed a course over an hour long, using just these words. So as usual, it’s a learn-by-listening course, with articles and with English conversations to help you start to think in English and stop translating. Translation is the enemy of fluency remember! If you can do the 500 Words Course, it will help you learn the words that make up at least 50% of most sentences in English. If you work on this first, then you can come back to the podcasts later on, and you’ll find it much easier, far less of it that you don’t understand.
And the last thing I will say today. Hopefully you’ll find these tips, this advice useful. I’m sure you will notice an improvement if you try it. And if you would like more advice about learning English – sign up for our free course, The Seven Rules of Adept English. This course gives you even more guidance, even more tips on how to improve your English – the secrets of language learning which you might wish that you’d know years ago.
I hope you now understand a little more about the Adept English method of learning to speak English. If you want to speak English fluently using our podcasts you now know the reason we ask you to learn using the repeated listening technique. If you still do not understand, then maybe you should listen to this podcast just one more time.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
We have lots of other tips on learning to speak English here.
PS: If you like this English podcast and want to know when the next podcast is published you can subscribe for an English podcast e-mail reminder.