What is Listening?
Listening is the first of the four language skills, which are: 1. Listening 2. Speaking 3. Reading 4. Writing
Would you like to improve your English listening skills? Good listening doesn’t just come naturally (unless you were born listening to English). We need to make a special effort to work on our listening skills.
Listening is the first of the four language skills. It is called a "receptive" skill because when we listen we receive language coming in:
- listening (← in)
- speaking (out →)
- reading (← in)
- writing (out →)
Differences between hearing and listening
Hearing is simply the physical act of sound waves entering our ears and being transported to our brain. This is a passive process that requires no effort. No meaning is attached. If your ears work and you are in a place where sound is being transmitted, you will hear it. Listening is an active skill. It requires effort, and you can choose not to do it. Listeners take sounds and attach meanings to them. If they comprehend what a speaker has said, they can interpret and respond to the message. This is called active listening.
What to listen to
If you have Internet and a device (computer, tablet, phone) with sound, you will never run out of English listening material. Here are some suggestions for finding appropriate materials. If the listening level is too high and you don’t understand anything, find something easier.