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IMPROVING YOUR LISTENING SKILLS: PART 4 (B1 AND ABOVE)

Updated: Jan 14

In this exercise, you are listening for sounds. Listen. What you will hear are almost certainly the stressed sounds. Stress is so important in English. We stress those sounds that are most important. They give you the important information in the message.


It is also vital to write down exactly what you hear. Maybe all you heard were a few strange sounds. However, when you listen again, and again, these sounds (and probably the stressed sounds) will become clearer. Your ear will become tuned to the speaker’s voice. That takes a little time, so don’t worry. So, here is another ‘rule’.


After listening to the short ‘chunk’ 4 or 5 times, look at what you have written down.


After 4 or 5 listenings to the first 10 seconds of material, you will have heard several sounds. Look at the words, or sounds, you have written down. Do they make any sense? Can you work out what the basic, or ‘core’, message of the speaker’s sentence is?


From our YouTube clip, you may have heard the following:


“be leader one one only followers”


All of these words were ‘stressed’. It’s why you heard them. They contain the core message of the sentence. And, if you look at the words, you can probably understand the message: ‘to be a leader, you need one thing – followers’. What is not stressed in English is usually not important. What Simon actually said was this:


“To be a leader requires one thing, and one thing only: followers.”


Now, you do not need to understand every word, or sound, to understand the ‘core message’.


Look, if you didn’t understand every sound, it does not matter. The main thing here is to practice. We will look at this more in the next part.


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