How I practice listening

For 15 minutes a day I do deliberate focused listening/or semi deliberate focused listening and 1 hour of passive listening with subtitles.

Deliberate focused listening for developing phonological listening skills.

  1. I will listen to a phrase, while reading along; and I will repeat back what I heard.

Even if your listening skills are a complete beginner…you sort of intuitively know that you’ve said it wrong.

  1. After going through all the phrases, I will then listen and after every few words; I will write down what I heard to help me connect sound to word knowledge.

  2. Then I will listen again one phrase at a time, without looking at the words, and repeat back what I heard

  3. Then I will listen with the purpose of understanding.

Semi deliberate focused listening : I do this when I can’t use my laptop…and need to use the library, it’s embarrassing to speak out loud when people are sitting next to you in the library. That’s why I do this method.

  1. All I have to do is “understand” what’s being said with a comprehensional awareness.

There is a difference between comprehensional awareness when it comes to language learning and phonological awareness. A native speaker is skilled at both.

comprehensional awareness is when someone tells you “I am hungry lets go eat” And all you hear as a non English speaker is “blah blah hungry lets blah eat”…You know exactly what they’re saying. You’ve shown comprehensional listening.

However phonological awareness is not only did you understand what they were saying, but you picked up every single word. Even words that you did not need in order to understand what they were saying.

If I said “I want to go to the movies”

You could hear as non native English speaker: “blah want blah go blah blah movies.” So you hear “Want go movies”. Boom you’ve understood what they were saying perfectly. Your comprehensional awareness is on point.

But because your still missing words, you haven’t displayed phonological awareness of the sentence.

Hope that makes sense.

The next I passively listen to music, tv shows, movies with subtitles…I don’t really care about whether or not I understand it. A lot of research has shown that huge benefits in creating more brain matter to learn the language faster come from passively listening, even to stuff you don’t understand.

If you only develop your comprehensional listening, eventually your phonological listening skills will follow. However I think it’s better to put just a little bit of time into developing your phonological skills. 5 minutes a day is good.The reason why is because lots of language shows, movies, etc don’t come with subtitles. If you have phonological awareness you can pick up a word that you do NOT know the meaning of, and be able to write it down; without needing subtitles to tell you how to spell the word. That’s why phonological awareness is so important.

Of course you do NOT need phonological awareness in order to understand everything a native speaker says to you, you can understand everything, but still NOT hear every single word…if that makes sense. But in terms of opening up more learning resources phonological listening is a good skill to develop.


A very interesting method!.. But it takes perhaps a lot of time!.. - especially writing, I think.

I consider this as my Christmas gift. Thank you, @ Cehralina, for sharing. What you’ve described happen to me, as a non native English speaker, every day.

I remember that I’ve been listening to stuff I didn’t understand, for a long time. And now you’ve mentioned that reseach has shown to be a right thing to do!

I’ll definitely try your method.

Merry Christmas!

Glad I could help ! :slight_smile:

This is another interesting post of you, Cehralina. Thank you for sharing.
I just picked up a sentence from it.

“A lot of research has shown that huge benefits in creating more brain matter to learn the language faster come from passively listening, even to stuff you don’t understand.”

It’s a widespread claim, many people use to ground on their struggle to learn a language faster.
I personally have never seen such researches, may be it’s because I’ve never purposefully looked for them.
But, I think the issue for that claim is whether there are some researches that were really carried out and showed indeed that passive listening to stuff the listener doesn’t understand provides a huge benefit.

I would be greateful to you if you provide some links to some real researches, as I take a look on their research papers. If the claim turns out true, I gonna use the passive listening of not understandable stuff too.

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