Listening is absolutely crucial for language learners. Being able to understand the person you’re talking to means you can nod in agreement, respond, ask questions… ie. have a conversation and connect with people.
If you want to improve your conversation skills, this is where you should start.
But what’s the best way to practice listening? Is simply watching a YouTube video enough?
The e-book Language Master Key by Ron Gullekson presents a listening-based approach to learning.
Ron draws on over 10 years of experience when he explains why sound is an essential part of language learning. Not only that, but the book is full of actual techniques you can use to practice the two forms of listening he identifies: free and active listening.
I had a lot of ‘a-ha’ moments when reading the book, but my favourite section is on active listening. While free listening can be great for beginners and high intermediate learners, I think people at the middle levels in particular can really benefit from a more hands-on approach. The chapter sets out, step-by-step, methods that you can start using today.
In truth the guide not only covers why and how you should listen to improve your language skills but also includes tips on vocabulary, speaking and general learning activities. The last chapter encourages you to follow a plan for 21 days.
Normally I don’t have a lot of patience reading on my computer but I zoomed through the first 30 pages without even realising it. The book is that easy to read!
While it used to be free, it’s now available on Amazon at a reasonable price.
Practice listening to authentic Vietnamese
For active listening you need to be able to understand a lot of what you hear. Here are our top suggestions for graded or easy to understand material.
- VietnamesePod materials for beginner/elementary or high intermediate
- YouTube videos suitable for Elementary Learners
- YouTube videos suitable for Intermediate Learners
- YouTube videos with subtitles
- Articles with audio (both Northern and Southern accents)
- Understand music by using lyrics with English translations
For radio stations and/or materials for free listening practice, head to the Resource List.
Over to you: What role does listening play in language learning? Are you going to download Ron’s e-book?