Everyone’s talking about it, but what the heck are they saying?

Being social creatures, perhaps one of the most frustrating moments we encounter in language learning happens when we don’t have a clue what all the talk is about.  We’re all ears, we’re desperately trying to make sense of it, but no matter how hard we try, it’s still Greek!

Credit Wikimedia Commons: New York 1956

It’s tough when we hit that impenetrable wall.  Even if we have all the right stuff when it comes to grammar understanding and good reading comprehension, not being able to catch the drift of what others are saying can make us feel incapable  – we just don’t have an ear for language.

The thought of throwing in the towel has crossed most of our minds at one time or another, and indeed weak comprehension skills have brought about the downfall of more than a few.


There are ways that work like magic in breaking down the incomprehensible wall.


Credit Wikimedia Commons by Louise Campbell

Boost your understanding of oral communication by WIT

Watch, Interact, Take Notes (WIT)

  1. WATCH YouTube university lectures, conference presentations or speeches about subjects that interest you.  Lectures and presentations are presented at a slower pace than conversation and often include visual aids such as power point slides that enhance your listening comprehension.  You can find free online videos in almost every language, including TED Talks.  Check out this site to learn more about TEDx events around the world and browse speeches by languages:
  2. INTERACT with a conversation partner.  Interactive dialogue is key to improving comprehension. Engaging in conversation improves your comprehension much faster than passive-listening to a CD or an audio book.  It’s also a great way to make friends and learn about cultures.  You don’t have to be in a language immersion environment to find a conversation partner. There a number of free online sites for language exchanges, such as:
  3. TAKE NOTES while you’re listening.  This prevents your mind from wandering and helps you retain information.  Jotting down numbers and key words will increase comprehension.

    Credit: Wikimedia Commons JoeNomi 1961

    And, if you’re a doodler, doodle away because some interesting studies suggest that doodling helps you pay attention!

Above all, Never ever give up! 

Keep working at it because one day listening comprehension appears as if by magic…one day you’re struggling, and then suddenly the next day, abracadabra you understand!!

Everything in writing begins with language.  Language begins with listening.   Jeanette Winterson


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