3 Big Mistakes in Your English Listening

Hi, guys, I’m Gabby Wallace and this is a Marcus Lesson. A lot of you have written to me and told me that your biggest challenge in English is listening. I know it can be difficult to understand native English speakers when we speak quickly. So I made this post to help you out. I want to share with you the three biggest mistakes that you may be making when you are listening to English.

Listening is not the same as reading

Alright. So let’s get started with number one right here. Listening is not the same as reading. This may seem obvious but the way that we often learn English in school the way you may have learned English is with a focus on reading and writing for academic purposes. Maybe in high school, you had to read in English but maybe you didn’t have as much listening practice in English or you didn’t know how to approach listening.

The way our mind words is with reading we are visual learners. We are looking at the text on a page in a book and we are associating the letters and the words and these shapes that we see on the page, which is letters, we associate those with meaning. When you listen to English it’s a completely different process. We hear sounds, words, phrases and we need to associate those sounds with meaning.

This is especially difficult in English because the way that we write words, the way that we spell is crazy. It is just crazy. We have silent letters, we have diphthongs, we have words that come from other languages and pronunciation varies widely. So remember not to listen to the same way that you read.  


Number two, translating. It takes a lot of effort to translate. When you hear words in English do you automatically try to translate them into your native language? You might do this because of course you are familiar with and comfortable with your native language and you want to make sense of English you want to understand so you naturally try to translate it into your first language so that you can understand what’s going on.

But translating is actually a waste of time. I’ll tell you why. You’re putting a lot of effort into converting the meaning of a word into your native language and then converting your thoughts back to English. In that time you are not hearing the words that are being spoken while you’re translating and you’re not able to focus on the person you are speaking with. So your mind is wasting a lot of energy trying to translate the words that you hear in English into your native language and then back to English so that you can add to the conversation.

Now another reason why you shouldn’t translate is that when you get past basic words when you get into phrases, idioms, metaphors and some cultural ideas or words that really only exist in English they are difficult if not impossible to translate correctly in other languages. So I encourage you to listen and match what you hear with meaning, directly. Cut out the middleman cut out the translator.

Expecting 100%

And number three the biggest mistake that you may be making is expecting to understand 100%. Don’t be a perfectionist. It is impossible. Even native speakers with good hearing do not catch 100% of what we hear. It’s normal. Aim for 60-80% understanding of what you are listening to. Stay calm, stay relaxed and it will become easier to listen to English and understand what you’re hearing. I’ve made a full course with 17 secrets to improving your listening skills in English so I’m going to talk more about these points and also share 17 strategies for improving your listening today. Also, the course includes 5 practice session videos so that you can not only understand the strategies but use them.

This course is available on my website http://marcusgriffin.com and it’s called the 17 Secrets to Improving Your English Listening SKills. So I hope that you’ll come take a look because I want to help you develop your listening skills for more confidence when you’re engaging in English conversation, more confidence when you talk to people at work, at school, in your personal activities.

So I know that this is a big need so that’s why I’m addressing it. So come on over and take a look at the course. I hope to see you there, in the course with me. I am there to help you not only through the post but through question and answer. You can ask me a question during the course about any listening questions that you may have. So, guys, I’m a real person. I’m not just on the post. I exist behind the screen and I’m here to help you. Thank you so much for watching and I hope to see you in the 17 Secrets to Improving Your English Listening Skills. Bye for now!