Discover Why You Should Listen For Learn English
So this week we take time out to talk about why listen for learn English works. First, did you spot the incorrect grammar “listen for learn English?“. Let me explain why I’ve used the incorrect grammar. If you are learning a new language, like English, then you might read that English sentence on a page of paper and to be honest many students would not see it as a terrible mistake.
If you are familiar with hearing people speak English, this grammar mistake will sound awful! You know the sound when people drag their nails across an old-fashioned blackboard at school? It will jump out at you as a terrible miss use of the English language.
The point I am making here is that your brain is an amazing listening machine and if you train it to hear English, just like you have trained it to hear and understand your own language. You will learn to speak English far more fluently and quickly than traditional reading based approaches to language learning.
This is why Adept English uses a system of learning to speak English called “Listen & Learn” which is all based on listening.
Hi there, I’m Hilary and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. This is our Monday podcast and therefore it’s a bit longer and the words are a bit more difficult and the subject is a bit more involved than for our Thursday podcast. Each podcast aims to teach you something new – either a new phrase, or some extra meaning or a phrase you already know. English tends to have a lot of meanings associated with just one word. So you can develop your knowledge of the English language gradually, by listening over time. If you’re looking for practice at English conversation then what you need is our Adept English Course One, Activate Your Listening. Here you get conversation between different English speakers. Not just my voice, other voices too! So if you want to get to grips with conversation, Course One is suitable for you.
If you find the podcasts really difficult and it is a lot of hard work to get through the podcast, then you might benefit from our 500 Words Course. It’s a course aimed at people who’re starting to have good understanding of the English language, but they need practice. And one of the short cuts is to focus on the most used words. So in this course, I’ve taken the 500 Most Commonly Used Words in English and made a ‘Listen & Learn’ course out of them. So if you’re struggling with the podcasts, you might find that that’s the thing that will help you most.
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Your English listening lessons need to be much more interesting than traditional English listening exercises or you cannot listen to the audio many times
OK. So ‘Listen & Learn’ is fundamental to the method that we use for Adept English. ‘Fundamental’ means it’s really important, it’s the base upon which the rest of it sits. So I’ll occasionally give you a grammar lesson, if it’s something that I think we need to cover and there’s no other way to explain it. So for example past podcasts have focused on things like ‘Tricky Plurals’ - or ‘Onomatopeias’ - remember those?! Splish Splash Splosh is the podcast for onomatopeias, to give you a clue.
Or sometimes I’ve covered subjects like contractions, the shortened forms for the verbs ‘to be’ and ‘to have’. The kinds of things that you’ll find difficult if English isn’t your first language. So that’s a whole podcast explaining shortened forms like I’ll and I’ve and I’m and you’re and you’ll. I’ve even tackled subjects like Gerunds.
Many English speakers probably wouldn’t know what a gerund was. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t use them – everybody uses them all the time – they may just not know the name! So if you fancy some more grammar, then these are all previous podcasts which you can find and have a listen to them. Even our grammar lessons are different though from what you get on a normal language learning course.
We do it all by listening, so that the focus is on using the part of your brain which listens and understands to take in the information – rather than just your eyes, which is what happens in most classrooms. The podcasts aim to give you the new grammar in context, in sentences, so that it starts to feel natural, when you’ve listened to it a number of times.
Not only are out English listening mp3 recordings available for you to download for free we also provide a free PDF transcript of every audio lesson
In effect, every Adept English podcast is a grammar lesson. What I mean by that is that you are listening to and automatically understanding all kinds of words – and how they fit together in a sentence. So every sentence contains a verb, a noun and probably some adjectives or adverbs. I use these words to describe grammar, so that if I’m telling you about the meaning of a verb, I’ll always say ‘the verb to collect’ or ‘the verb to chew’ or whatever it is, so that you can understand that I’m talking about a verb. So we’re always aware of grammar in the background, but it’s not the main event – because it’s pretty boring.
Most people don’t enjoy grammar. But if you don’t like grammar, if you don’t learn by talking about grammar, you can ignore those parts of the podcast! You can pretend you didn’t hear them, ‘cause there’s always something else as well. So Adept English podcasts are much more than a grammar lesson. Lots of times, they’ll focus on something topical, a story in the news perhaps, linked to a phrase or an idiom that might be used for that story – like Donald Trump being ‘the Marmite president’ for example, from a couple of weeks ago. The point of this is that the phrase is more likely to stick in your mind and you remember it, if it’s linked to something like this.
But what is it that really works with the podcasts and even more so with our courses? Well, your brain – which is the machine that sits inside your head – your brain is learning to think in English. If you’re listening to a podcast, and quietly sitting and understanding it as you go, (or you might be running – no idea what you’re doing when you’re listening to these podcasts!) then you really haven’t got time to translate.
You may not understand every word of the podcast first time through, but if you get the general meaning, it’s worth listening a couple more times, to see what else you can understand. Sometimes your understanding builds gradually. But once you’re there, listening and understanding takes you away from that bad, bad, bad habit of translating.
People are fantastic at remembering information in stories, so English listening stories are a great way to learn spoken English
Now don’t misunderstand me – if you’re new to a language, translating every word is the only way to understand anything. But once you’ve been learning a language for a little while, you need to come away from translating. You need to leave translating behind. Otherwise, this will really hold you back when you come to join in English conversation. Your brain just won’t be able to find the right words quickly enough. Only when you start to be able to understand and then think in English are you on your way to becoming fluent in the language.
So even when the podcast is something topical and you’re listening to something which I’ve chosen in the hope that you might find it interesting or educational or informative, then you are still learning because you’re practising English vocabulary that you already know. You’re practising verb forms that you already know – and it’s strengthening your understanding of all the words. And with each one, I’m sure you’ll perhaps learn a few new words as well.
There’s a big, big difference between the level that you need to understand a word or phrase in English and the level that you need, the familiarity that you have to have in order to be able to use that word in conversation yourself. ‘Familiarity’ is a noun and it means that you know something really, really well. If you have familiarity with something, you know it as well as you would know a member of your family. That’s what familiarity means.
An English language student will need quality English audio customized for listening English practice
So the beauty of listening to spoken English like this, is that your brain is busy – busy, busy, busy - accumulating the knowledge, without you even knowing it. You might be hearing about hedgehogs or Brexit, non-eco-friendly crisp packets or even wet cats, but all the time, your brain is accumulating English words and phrases. Your brain is strengthening its understanding of each word, so that gradually more and more words move across into the part of your brain which you can use when you speak English. Your brain is really clever and it’s designed to learn language in just this way. The verb ‘to accumulate’ is a good one. That means that you collect, you gather up the words, you store them up. So your store of words in your head is accumulating all the time.
One of the difficulties in learning English is just the number of words that there are in the language. The Oxford English dictionary has over 171,000 entries – 171,000 different words. And many words in English, as you know, have more than one use, more than one meaning. So doing this accumulating is really important. And don’t worry, you don’t need to know all the 171,000 words – but growing your vocabulary is important! I’m still learning new English words, so it is an ongoing exercise, even when you’re fluent in English!
I typed the following question into Google. ‘How many exposures does it take to learn a new word?’ Let me explain the question first of all. It means how many times do you have to hear a new word, before you remember its meaning. And the answer? You can look it up yourself if you want to perhaps. The answer is that if you are learning a new language, you may need to hear a new word as many as 40 times before you actually remember it! So that means that you have to hear a lot of words. In this podcast so far (that’s not the finished version), there are already 932 words that you’ve heard. More than that now! So that each time you listen to a podcast, you’re increasing the number of listens, the number of times you’ve heard each word. And the good news is that if you do it often enough, and if you’re interested in what you’re listening to, so that you are happy to repeat it and you do actually listen, then bit by bit you are acquiring a lot of vocabulary. Your brain is learning bit by bit every time. And even if you’re hearing words that you already know, you’re strengthening your connection with them, so that you can use them more easily, just like you do in your own language.
Anyway – those are just some thoughts on what’s going on inside your brain, when you’re listening to a podcast. Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
So for me, the obvious question an English student should ask having listened to the podcast is how long will it take me to train my brain to spot mistakes like “listen for learn English?“ in the language I am listening to?
Well, it takes some people longer than others but the typical person needs to hear a word or phrase 40 times to recognise it automatically and understand what is being heard. For students learning a second language like English, it is important to listen to the language being spoken many times before the brain remembers the meaning automatically.
So now you know the secret you can just listen to any old TV program and everything will work right? Well, no, actually you need to right kind of English language audio to listen to. The reason Adept English produced English podcasts is that we could find practically no good quality British English audio podcasts that were interesting, the right length in duration, were free and importantly provided a free written PDF transcript.
You need to become familiar with one voice initially (before you can move on too many English voices) you need to have the English spoken at a learners pace (TV or Films will not speak clearly and slowly just so you can learn to listen to English!). You need it to be interesting enough to listen to it many times, unlike most boring learn English audio.
We think here at Adept English we do all of these important things well and hope you think so to. If you have any suggestions, then please send them to us via Facebook or send us and email.