Listen carefully

Listen carefulllyWhen learning a new language it’s important you listen to it as every opportunity.  At first you probably won’t understand much, if anything, but it is still worth doing as you will be tuning your ear and your brain to the sounds and rhythms of the language.

Some of the sounds in the new language will probably be completely new to you and you may find it difficult to hear them and pronounce them. If you listen to the language regularly though, your ears will become better at distinguishing sounds and words, and you will find it easier to pronounce them. You will probably find it easier to remember words, phrases and even grammatical constructions as well, especially if they crop up frequently in the things you listen to.

There’s a good choice of listening material for many different languages, including language lessons, podcasts, radio, TV, songs, videos, and so on. These are all available online, and also via satellite and digital radio and TV in some areas. So you should be able to find something that interests you. If you download recordings of the language you’re learning to your mp3 player you can listen to them wherever you happen to be, and this might make it easier to find time to listen to them.

You don’t have to listen closely to everything – even having material playing in the background is useful – so you could be absorbing a new language while you’re doing other things, such as commuting, working, studying, cooking, shopping, etc. It is also useful to listen to some things in more detail and to try to understand as much of them as possible. If you’re just starting with the language, you could try to get a basic gist of the material. Names of people and places are can help with this, especially in news reports. As you get to know the language better, you could try summarising, translating or transcribing what you’re hearing.

Unfortunately you cannot learn a language simply by listening to it a lot – some other kinds of studying and practice are also needed – but listening does play are very important role in the process.