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Listening is one of the four core skills of language acquisition. The other three are speaking, reading and writing. Listening and reading are passive or receptive skills; speaking and writing areproductive or active skills.
Listening is how a baby first starts to become aware of language, so it is clearly important for learners of any language. What's more, in a study in 1950
[1] which isstill cited today, it was found that 45% of communication was listening, 30% speaking, 16% reading and 9% writing.
Clearly, if these figures are correct, and people can judge from their own experience,then listening is a skill which has to be at the forefront of English language learning skills. Combining this with another study[2] which showed that 70% of waking time is spent communicating, onlyserves to underline how essential the skill of listening is.
For learners of English listening is vital because it is through this sense that they receive information on vocabulary, grammar,pronunciation, spoken word order, as well as the stress patterns of words, phrases and sentences. Added to these is the effect that different accents, voice tone and pitch can have on their comprehension ofthe message.
Through listening the learner picks up vital clues, some consciously, others subconsciously, about what constitutes idiomatic spoken English. The learner may also register and retain wordsand phrases which, having heard them from a native speaker or their teacher, they know to be acceptable for their own use later on.
Listening is not only crucial for the learner to understand how tolearn the language, for example via instructions in the classroom or via audio devices, but also because it is a core life skill. Sometimes called Active Listening, it involves not only the sense ofhearing, but also being aware of body language and being able to empathise with the speaker to ensure that the message being transmitted is received correctly.
Listening with care and attention,...
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