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Are you having trouble understanding spoken English? You're not alone. Lots of English learners find listening the most difficult language skill to develop. But don't worry, we're here to help you!

How to improve your listening comprehension

Learn the alphabet and basic pronunciation

Get started by learning the English alphabet. Learn how to pronounce each letter and what sounds appear in the English language. You'll start tuning your ears and be able to recognize English when you hear it. Practice spelling with our unit.

Grow your vocabulary

It's hard to understand a language if you have a small vocabulary. Luckily, there's an easy way to fix this problem. You just need to learn more words! Grow your vocabulary as you use English more and more. Collect words from things you read or listen to, or search for vocabulary or  phrase lists online. The larger your vocabulary, the more English you'll be able to understand.

Use dictionaries with audio functions

Use dictionaries with audio functions like Forvo or Cambridge Dictionary. Not only can you look up the definitions of words, but you can also hear how to pronounce them. That way you'll be able to better recognize the words the next time you hear them.

Practice daily

Practice makes perfect! Improving your listening skills is like improving any other skill - you need to work at it every day. Create a listening routine that you can stick to throughout the week. For example, you could set aside 10 minutes before work to listen to the news in English. Or find a podcast that you can play while preparing dinner. Find something simple and enjoyable that you can stick to daily.

Listen to the same audio material for a week

Practice listening to the same audio material throughout the week. The more you listen to the same piece, the more you'll start to understand. At first, focus on recognizing new words. Then try to pay attention to sentence stress and intonation. Finally, end the week off by listening for comprehension.

Read along as you listen to a text

Boost your listening comprehension by reading along as you listen to a text. Reading along while you listen is a great way to keep you focused. It will also help you make connections between words and their pronunciations. Always be on the lookout for transcripts of any audio material you listen to!

Listen to different accents

English is spoken across the globe. If you want to become an English-speaking master, then you'll have to get used to lots of different accents. Try to look for audio material with English speakers from different parts of the world. Pay attention to differences between accents, and notice which one's are the hardest for you to understand.

Listen to audio with different speeds

Beginners might find it useful to play around with audio speed settings. For example, you can usually change how fast or slow a video or podcast is played. Try slowing down what you're listening to if you find the normal pace too quick. Once you understand the audio material spoken at a slow place, switch back to normal speed and try again. Most likely you'll be able to understand the material much better now.

Listen actively, not passively

Focus your listening practice on active listening. Active listening involves listening to audio for comprehension. It can be challenging because you have to concentrate and pay attention to what you are listening to. But it has many benefits. You'll improve your listening skills in your target language, and will learn a lot of new words. You might even find that you become a better listener altogether.

How to actively train your listening skills

Listen to podcasts and audiobooks

Listening to podcasts and audiobooks is an excellent challenge for your listening skills. Since you don't have a text to follow while listening to them, you have to rely entirely on your listening skills. This will help you improve your skills quickly. Be sure to listen to podcasts and audiobooks that interest you and compliment your language level.

Play video games with lots of dialogue

Video games are language learning resources that most people don't even consider. But they're full of dialogue and texts that are translated into many languages. If you enjoy gaming, why not try switching the games you play into the language you're learning? You'll have fun playing and get lots of reading and listening practice at the same time.

Enjoy music in English

Listening to music in English is a great way to improve your listening skills. Explore your favorite genres and get some language practice at the same time! Sing along to songs to improve your pronunciation, or memorize song lyrics to learn new words. It's easy to find music online via platforms like YouTube and Spotify. Check them out and maybe you'll find your next favorite musician.

Watch TV and movies

Turn your streaming habits into language learning opportunities! Watch TV shows, movies, and YouTube videos in English. There's lots to choose from! Look for things that fit your interests and language level. Don't forget to use subtitles if you need them.

Find a conversational partner

The best way to learn any language is to use it. Look for English speakers and ask one of them to be your conversational partner. This should be someone that you can talk to regularly in English. Having a conversational partner will help improve both your speaking and listening skills. Your partner can help improve your pronunciation and point out any mistakes you make. They can also answer questions and teach you about English-speaking culture.

Resources to help you improve your listening skills

Want to get started training your listening skills today? There are lots of resources available online that can help you. Just check out the list below! There we've gathered our top resources just for you. Check out the links to websites we recommend. And take a look at the free learning resources on lingoneo to boost your English skills. Try them out and start improving your listening skills right away.

Listen to audio books from Librivox

Looking to challenge your listening skills? Then try listening to audio books! It's a fun and rewarding way to test your comprehension. On Librivox you'll find lots of free English audio books to listen to. Check it out and make listening to stories in English a part of your language routine.

Watch YouTube Videos

YouTube is an excellent resource that can help you train your listening comprehension. Search for videos by native speakers, or watch ones designed for language learners. On  lingoneo's channel you'll find a variety of videos that will prepare you for everyday conversations. Check out one of our videos below - and don't forget to subscribe!

Learn step by step with a course

Searching for a well structured way to learn English and improve your listening? Then check out  lingoneo's free English courses. They'll help train your ears and prepare you for English conversations. Try a unit and see how lingoneo can help you improve your English step by step.

Listen to essential phrases

Learn and listen to English phrases on our website. In our articles, each phrase is paired with audio so that you can immediately listen to its pronunciation. This will help you learn the phrase better and get used to hearing it. Check out the preview below and then head over to  one of our articles to learn even more!
  • What's your name?
  • Nice to meet you.
  • I'd like to introduce Sarah.
  • What do you do?
  • Where are you from?
  • How old are you?
  • It was nice meeting you.
  • Let's get together again some time.

Learn English with relaxing music

Want to practice listening to English while relaxing? Then we've got just what you need! On lingoneo we've paired our phrases with relaxing music. That way you can unwind and learn English at the same time. Kick back and check out this example!

Build up your audio library

On lingoneo you'll find lots of audio files that you can use to train your listening skills. Download them for free and build your own audio library. Get a taste of the variety of audio files available for the topic "Introducing Yourself".

What's the best way for me to learn English?

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I improve my English listening comprehension?
  1. Learn the alphabet and basic pronunciation
  2. Grow your vocabulary
  3. Use dictionaries with audio functions
  4. Practice daily
  5. Listen to the same audio material for a week
  6. Read along as you listen to a text
  7. Listen to different accents
  8. Listen to audio with different speeds
  9. Listen actively, not passively

How do I practice my English listening comprehension
  1. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks
  2. Play video games with lots of dialogue
  3. Enjoy music in English
  4. Watch TV and movies
  5. Find a conversational partner

Why listen to audio material with different accents?
English is spoken across the globe. If you want to become an English-speaking master, then you'll have to get used to lots of different accents. Try to look for audio material with English speakers from different parts of the world. Pay attention to differences between accents, and notice which one's are the hardest for you to understand.
How can I quickly improve my listening skills?
The best way to learn any language is to use it. Look for English speakers and ask one of them to be your conversational partner. This should be someone that you can talk to regularly in English. Having a conversational partner will help improve both your speaking and listening skills. Your partner can help improve your pronunciation and point out any mistakes you make. They can also answer questions and teach you about English-speaking culture.

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