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Talk about English - Webcast

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Listening to native speakers Thursday, April 19, 2007

Your comments:
What problems have you had when listening to native speakers of English? What techniques have you used to improve your listening skills?

Thank you for all your comments. This topic is now closed.

Sarun, Thailand
I went to New Zealand last year. My first time there also, I try to listen to the teachers who welcome and talk to me when i was at the ...secondary school. It is rather difficult to understand clearly but i didn't quit. I told them direct i am not good at english then pls. talk slowly and pls. don't bother me if i ask them again and again!! It's work, New Zealanders are very nice they understand me and help me improve my speaking ans listening skill.Now i improve my skills by practicing from your excellent website.Thank you.

Jane, China
Listenging is one of the important skills in learning the foreign langauges. My major is English when i studied in the university and I had the opportunity to practise spoken english with my foerign teachers. At first, i can hear only the key words. As the time goes by, I catch the way that they talk to me.The more you listen, the more you are familiar with the accent of the native speakers.

Ekrem, Turkey
I am trying to speak english fastly. I am studying english approximately for twenty years.But my speaking skills is not still very good.I am always listening bbc radio live broadcast and It ensures my english to perfect.Thanks a lot to bbc ...

Nicola, Italy
I didn't understand what the native speakers said. I tried to understand the key world that the people was telling me.

Pia, Germany
Last month I've been to a conference in Seattle with native and non-native speakers (and over 1,500 listeners from all over the world). I often had difficulties to understand the native speakers - both Briton and American speak too fast, do not pronounce clearly, swallow syllables, connect words or use a lot of idioms. Often they use plays on words which none of the non-native listener could understand. For example I don't know American songs for little children or English poems. I have no chance to follow when a speaker refers to something like that. I even do not know the original title of common-known books or films. When I talked to other non-native listeners, they told me all the same: non-native speakers normally are better to understand for non-native listener. They are slower, more clearly in pronunciation, makre shorter sentences, use less sophisticated words and less idioms. Non-native speakers also are more careful when refering to national specialities. I do not expect, that every listener knows who or what "Rotkäppchen" is(a figure from a German fairytale)...

Tommy Tin, Myanmar (Burma)
I have more difficult to understand when English people and American people speak with their accent.But, I always watching the English Movies.Now I try to listening the BBC learning English(Talk about English program).Thank you.

Helen, Iran
hi every one . i have been studing english for 7 years and but i admit it when i listen to native speakers of english i still feel a little problem in my listening which it relates to the accent and some words in slang language ,that is a little unintelligibale to me but the best techniques which is so efficient ,is not to give up and keep practicing every day .thx and good luck

Hilary Lavigne, Hong Kong, China
Listening is as important as speaking.BBC English is quite standard and is quite easy to follow.Its speed is slow and suitable for the learners.However, i guess I still have to dig hard to get used to the faster speed.

Salma, Pakistan
when i want to listen english tape i can repeate all the words but i can not talk abaut the focuse of the dicussion .

Gerard, France
It's more difficult for me to understand native speakers than others speakers.It's because they speak quickly and also I don't recognize all the words even them I know because the pronounciation is very dissimilar than in France.The native speakers make also links between two words and sometime it's difficult to understand words .I don't have techniques except to listen more and more and try to understand the main mind.

Maggie, China
In China, we suppose American&British English as Standard English, so we learn and imitate their speaking, as result,we get used to their accents.So as long as I am listening to native speakers from America or Britain, then it's understandable for me. However, when I listen to people from other countries,I will have a problem to understand them. Because they might have different accents and speak very fast also. Therefore, what I would recommend is that listen to the radio or I recently found a best one ever,that's the BBC learning English program and you will be able to hear people from different countries speaking English. That's the way I improve my listening skills .Thank you.

Chao, Japan
Hi, I've taken some programs on this BBC learning English for my listening study, because most of programs always include non-broadcaster's interviews spoken at their normal speed.As my next step, I'd like to challenge BBC's Video Nation program, which I think is very good resource to English learners getting used to British English.Anyway, listening to the latest program, I felt sure how difficult it is to listen to the Scottish speaking. Actually, I've been struggling to listen to a Scottish band's interview. It's not English at all for me. Where have they learned English...?

Io, Poland
Hi, my problem is that I know some words but often I don't understand them during listening native speakers. I have 'matura' exam this year and I afraid that I don't understand what native speaker talk about. To improve my skills I listen news in bbc, watch film in English and listen music in this language. Best wishes for everybody who is studying English!

Gautam, Delhi, India
When native speakers speak enlish definitely it makes little bit difficult but by practice one can overcome on this proble. In my case I used to listen a lot native speaker like CNN, BBC and other sources to understand native speaker well and now I have almost overcome on this difficulty.

Alfredo, Perú
I have problems with listening and more when I listen to the native speakers. It's very dificult understand what the people are talking because people speak very fast but I will try understanding.

Afsaneh, Iran
Hi,thanks for this program I tried to listen more to the radio and watched news I can understand better but when I speak to native speakers I can see from their faces that they think what on earth this woman talking about and I have to repet myself twice so they can understand me!!!

Nyamkaa, Mongolia
most of mongolian peoples goal is learn english and speak english very well like a native english man. me too. it is my one of my goals.

Juan, Spain
I have beeen in the UK for some years, and I still find these auditions quite helpful. My very best congratulations to BBC.

Saber Sarbazi-Azad
when i want to listen englishj tape i can repeate all the words but i can not talk abaut the focuse of the dicussion .

Jay, N.Korea
Firstly, thank you giving me this kind of good class recording. For me Englsh listening is about being familiar or not and trying to understand the meaning of sentence not each word is also important But I'm still suffering from listening. Except the things which I expressed, to listen English well, All we need is practicing and investing to listen English and the most important thing is exporsuring your self in english. For me this is so important because Korea is not the country which use english.

Liz, Venezuela
In my opinion listening is the most challenging part of learning English, specially when you have to understand different accents. Native speakers usually speak fast and they use slang that maybe you will not understand. I have found that a good way to practice in order to improve my listening skills, has been listening to english songs and pay attention to the words, another is to watch English T.V, I mean interviews, breaknews and all kinds of stories.Of course series help too. At last, reading, writing and speaking all are part of an effective communication, not only listening.

Valeriy, Russia
In fact all true advices were already given during this program and there is nothing to add to that. I want to say only a couple of words about my own personal experience. Generally speaking, of course if there is such an opportunity, it would not be bad to begin to learn English with lestening to the records which would give examples of not so fast speeches or dialogues. Month by month, by increasing speed listener come up to real fluency. This way works indeed. I myself have been using it for last 10 months not without success.

Well everything in its beginning is so hard ..that's the way in listening english from its native know ..1stly i was thinkin that once any native speaker of english will talk's over for me ...from my good luck it was just in the past now the things are completely different ..yes there's some difficulties to get the right words ...but as it was no hope before to get any word then a lill difficulty so the success to get all the wordes you are listening will be yours nothing is impossible,,,and for me to improve my english skills i used to read topics online in english also the lyrics of the songs while the song is playing you know it is very working method ... once you find any hard word check it throught the dictionary especially if there is a reader with it..just keep on your mind that you want to improve your english skills and you'll ...the best luck for you.

Hanan, Saudi Arabia
of course, as many students who are not native speakers and they are studying English I have a lot of problems in listening, reading and writing without dectionary.But listening is the most difficult one especially to native speakers in the radio or in testes of listening classes because we just listen once, they speak fast and we,my classmates and I do not know the topic that the speakers will talk about.our teacher of listening class gave us an audio story, its name is 'little women' and she said I will test you on it. The problem is when I listened to it, I could not understand any thing except few worlds so I bought the book of the novel, of course it is translated to Arabic, and I have begun to listen to the type and follow the speaker when she read the novel. Before that I read the chapter that I want to listen first in Arabic then in English study the new words and practice their pronunciation. But I do not know if this way is wrong or right. But I feel I am better now. Finally, as Kendra said ' How can I really speak and listen as easily as a native speaker? A big puzzle!!!Speaking English as native speaker is one of my dreams.

R'e, Cambodia
I used to have prolems, whenever I speak or listening to native speakers. Yes I agreed with all the English learners but I get over it after all, it was not easy at first I always tried to listened to BBC, flim, and always try to speak English as much as I could. I believe if you welling to put your heart and soul to do something, you can do it.

Dao, Vietnam
I also have difficulties in listening to native speakers. It seems to me that they speak so fast and use a lot of idioms, slangs. Whenever I encounter a new word, I try to "translate" into my mother tounge. Thus, I miss the flow of talk. I do understand that it's my weak point and try to overcome it. I talk to myself not to focus on the new "single" word. The most important thing is to try to catch the main idea. It's much better now. However, I still need more practice. Everyday, I listen to BBC and see many useful tips and updated information.

Kevin, China
hello,i have studied english for many years since i was in middle,but it is difficult foe me to understand the native speaker of english.because they speak so fast with strong accent,so that i only catch some words.

Adriana, Brazil
I have already had problems when listening abbreviations like GP, OSA, BP, WHO and so on. Therefore, I think reading is a pre-requirement for a good listening. So, when I'm going to listen something, I use to search about the issue to read the words that can be found in the context. It's my humble suggestion that may be useful for anyone.

Big problems for English learners are listening and speaking. The teachers of English theirself could not be able to be good at listening and speaking skills in classes to show their students. So,the one best way the learners of English can do is to learn more with native speakers over the internet. Practise listening to native speakers using English in several situations.

Nhung, Ha Noi, Viet nam
For me,listening is one of the most difficult skills in English(the most is speaking).I've tried much to listen as much as possible but really, sometimes when I watch an American film or a cartoon,I feel that I'm deaf :) because they speak too fast.Well,I don't have special technique to improve my listening.I just try to listen as much as I can and listen to many varieties of English such as American English,British English,Autraslia English....

Hello everyone, I really listened to the programme and iam qiute agree what the teachers talked about and i appreciate their advice.But now luckily i don't have any listening difficulties.And iam sure that the more you are listening is the more you understand and of course you have to study the stress very well. And that's all.

Alessandra, Italy
I have many problems to understand native speakears English, often because I try to translate all the words that they say and to understand the sense of the phrase...But, There so many idioms in English, such as in Italian, wich cannot translate "word by word".Instead, when I try to understand a native speaker of English who speaks so fast, it's helpful for me "watching" his/her mouth.

Abhishek, Poona, India
native speakers of English speak naturally and inevitably fast which makes it difficut for non-native speakers of the language to understand them. the only way to overcome this to listen to the native speak as much as one could. listening to BBC learning English is a great idea as one gets initiated very comfertably as programmes as presented wonderfully, giving due consideration to listerners.

Native speakers of English are very faster when they speak English, sometimes it's very difficult understand what they are talking

Miguel Andrés, Perú.
Hi to everyone.When I listen a non native speaker of english, whatever the country or the language they've got is more easy to me to understand them than an native speaker, Why? Maybe it is because the fluency of the native speakers've got. I think the only technique for me to improve my listening skills is to listen and listen and listen and put a lot of attention on it. Is by that I like to hear your programme, isn't boring and you can concentrate well. My recommendation for all english learners is to study the english language in all the ways you can until you find the best one. For me for example is first read the programme second write it on a sheet of paper and then hear it very carefully and the next week or the next programme I can change the order, maybe I hear the programme first. I suggest you don't read the text and hear it at the same time at least to me I put more attention hearing it only.

Prakash, India
Yes, I had problem in listening and understating with the native speakers of English, which is because of the accent. As they are the native speakers they use the correct and different accents. When we learn English in the non native country the accents and the pronunciation some letters are not cared. Only when we meet the Native speakers, we feel the difference and difficulty. Once I felt ashamed of English when I was talking to the native speaker. I used to listen English songs and news.

Kendra, Taiwan
When kistening to a native speaker, I cannot understand him or her often because of his or her accent. Sometimes, it is because I do not understand the vocabualary. Therefore, to understand the speaker, I tend to guess the meaning acoording to the context and the speaker's body language. In fact, what has bothered me more is that when it's my turn to talk, I pause in my talk only because I cannot decide my wording. I am afraid to use the wrong words, which thus leads to an unnecessary misunderstanding. Besides, though I think my inventory of English vocabulary is already enough for my speaking and listening, it doesn't seem to work well in real use. How can I really speak and listen as easily as a native speaker? A big puzzle!!!

Massa, Japan
Hi! Thanks for bringing this topic, which I'd like to hear other learners talk about. But first let me tell you my own ways here. Earlier, I used audio materials that had their scripts like many of BBC's materials. I listened to these while reading and checking words. When this stage was over, I started to have dictation using various recorded materials. This took a lot of time and energy, but I bet it was worth the effort. After this, something like mumbo jumbos started to sound like English words. Now, my problem about listening native speakers of English is they often enjoy using various expressions I've never heard or read before. This naturally makes me look into dictionaries. Well I feel I've been involved into the never-ending learning circle of English or somehting. ;)

Hailiang Zhu, Shanghai, China
There are lots of native speakers who has different accents from different countries. It makes English become more diverse and vivid. I like to listen these different sound from different places. If you listen more ,you can distinguish what they come from and you try to use your knowledge about that place to help you understand more. Sometimes I think people who speaks with a strong accent normally show their pride of their accent and where they come from. My methods is that listen to different accent and try to distinguish their slight differences, however about speaking, I only imitate one accent, such as RP accent or American accent. It will make your English become more idiomatic.

John, Maastricht, Holland.
It has been testing for me twelve years ago, as I was not accustomed to the English pronunciation. Sometimes I could catch the main idea, thanks to one word or a couple of words in the topic. Sometimes I didn't even catch the purpose of the topic. It was then frustrating, because I had then to ask my interlocutor to repeat..! I gradually started listening to bbc and cnn news, on a regularl basis. I also started following regular evening classes, focussed mainly on listening, pronunciation and conversation. I think I've made some significant progress. Thanks very much, bbc. You helped me improve my English knowledge, in very different areas (science & technology; usual communication & social contexts; politics; ..). I'm so grateful to you! John.

Hiep, Vietnam
The problem that I have had when listening to native speakers of English is that they speak too fast, they use a lot of linking words. The techniques I have used is listening English everyday from mp3 files of BBC learningenglish programs and other CD regarding listening skills, when listening everyday, I am familiar with accent of native speakers, so that easy for me to listen to native speakers currently

Nanny, Iran
I have also some trouble with listening. I have matura in this year and I try to improve my English so listen very often. Every day some execises and maybe it will hepl;D

Monica, Brazil
Well the main problems I face are to do with speed and accent. I remember once I went to a bus station in London cause I wanted to buy tickets to go to Scotland.We were three Brazilins altogheter which was quite useful at the end.Well, the thing is I was the first person to talk to the ticket officer, whose accent was so alien to me that I panicked and could not work out the relevant information I had to extract such as time, platform and price.Double-Dutch really. So I asked him to repeat. Of course, used to listening to tapes twice, I naivily thought the scrip would be the same. Well, it got even worst. So lucky, the was another Brazilian girl who asked him for the same information ( I did not want to sound stupid and to irritate him) then subtly, I got closer justto eveasdrop, and then when she gave in like me our other friend took us over. Well, the "tape" was played almost 7 times and eventually we managed to extract the specific information we wre looking for. Man listening in real life is not that easy, even with all the techniques we learn at school. Trust me!!!