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Listening is receiving language through the ears. Listening involves identifying the sounds of speech and processing them into words and sentences. When we listen, we use our ears to receive individual sounds (letters, stress, rhythm and pauses) and we use our brain to convert these into messages that mean something to us.
Listening in any language requires focus and attention. It is a skill that some people need to work at harder than others. People who have difficulty concentrating are typically poor listeners. Listening in a second language requires even greater focus.
Like babies, we learn this skill by listening to people who already know how to speak the language. This may or may not include native speakers. For practice, you can listen to live or recorded voices. The most important thing is to listen to a variety of voices as often as you can.
To become a fluent speaker in English, you need to develop strong listening skills. Listening not only helps you understand what people are saying to you. It also helps you to speak clearly to other people. It helps you learn how to pronounce words properly, how to use intonation, and where to place stress in words and sentences. This makes your speech easier for other people listening to you to understand!
Our Listening Skills Guide offers strategies and tips for better English listening.