How to improve your understanding of the English language How to improve your understanding of the English language

How to better understand the language? How to incorporate a good pronunciation in English? How to apply all the knowledge acquired to the oral comprehension of the language? Those are some of the most common questions we are faced with in the process of studying English and incorporating the vocabulary and grammar of your language.
It is a known fact that words in English are written and pronounced differently and this is one of the main obstacles when learning English. Therefore, for the study of this language it is extremely important to jointly strengthen the command of written and oral English.
The activity known as listening is one of the most classic and essential techniques for studying English. Fortunately, nowadays it is no longer necessary to use only old academic recordings to improve listening. Currently, there are different techniques and strategies to incorporate at home and deepen the oral understanding of the language. Here are some of them:

  • Watch TV in its original language

Our first recommendation to improve listening is to be patient, persistent and take advantage of any opportunity to listen to native speakers speak in English. Therefore, watching television in the original language (movies, series and even foreign news channels) is one of the best ways to incorporate the correct pronunciation of words and decode the sounds of the different combinations of letters in English.
As we have already seen from this blog, with will and creativity it is even possible to improve your English by watching Netflix. Therefore, there are no excuses to practice at home and use idle time to enrich your skills.

  • Content for children

A very good alternative to start watching – and listening to – television in the original language is to start with content for children. Cartoons -like SpongeBob or Peppa Pig- have short episodes in which simple, slow and easy-to-understand language is used for both native children and adults who seek to become familiar with the English language and improve listening.
In addition, many cartoons and programs today have winks aimed at the adults in the family that make them more enjoyable to practice using the language.

  • Audios and transcripts

Audio transcriptions (for example, movie subtitles or song lyrics) are very useful to anchor the spoken language to its written version, however, the ideal way to improve listening is to start by listening to the audio several times without relying on the text or its transcription.
Only once we are familiar with the audio and can master its meaning will we begin to work with its transcription to help us finish understanding and fixing concepts. Why? Because we must always consider that in “real life” we will not have the texts when participating in a conversation in English and what we aim at is to always be able to communicate more and better.

  • The importance of accents

As with the Spanish spoken in different countries of the world, in the English language different accents coexist depending on the nation or region of origin of the speaking person. Thus, it is not the same accent that is used in different areas of the United States as in the countries of the United Kingdom (Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland).
In general, the best way to improve listening is to work with recordings made by people with a “standard accent” (either British or American), avoiding as much as possible too closed accents that can add more complexity to the learning process.

  • Keys to improve listening
  • Take advantage of any opportunity to listen to native speakers; if it is possible to interact with them, even better.
  • Maintain a positive attitude and avoid frustration, it is best to start gradually, maintain consistency and go from low to high complexity to begin to see results in the short term.
  • It is normal to feel nervous when talking to a native speaker, however, it is important to keep in mind that everyone will appreciate your effort to communicate. Therefore, do not be afraid to ask them to repeat what you did not understand or to speak more slowly to be able to follow the thread of the conversation.
  • In an exchange with a native speaker, do not try to literally translate each word because it is mentally exhausting, the important thing –as always- is to understand the communicative intention of the interlocutor so that the conversation flows and reaches a successful conclusion.

We hope that you have found this series of tips and advice to improve listening to be interesting and easy to apply in the study and understanding of the English language. Until next time!