Suggestions on
how to do the listening assignments

Karen Chung
National Taiwan University

     Depending on the level of your English listening ability, you may choose different ways to approach the listening assignments. The difficulty level of the assignments will vary, so you may want to alter your method according to the assignment. Also, your method may evolve over time as your English listening skills steadily improve.

     You might want to try listening to the audio file with no preparation. This can give you an idea of your current listening ability. This first assignment is only two two-minute files, and it is completely scripted, that is, read from written copy, for radio broadcast. This kind of listening passage is usually clearer and easier to understand, though in this assignment, there are a few technical scientific terms that may be unfamiliar to you. Future assignments may include spontaneous, unscripted speech, which is usually faster, more slurred, more colloquial (that is, less like the English you learned in your textbooks), and more difficult to follow. These assignments will tend to require more concentration, time and work on your part.

     Or, you may choose to read the listening comprehension questions first. Questions not only ask for information; they give a lot of information as well. The questions will give you a good idea of what is contained in the listening passage. Knowing what to expect will make it easier to understand; your brain will automatically prepare related words and information and thoughts you already have on the subject.

    Or, you can read carefully through the whole vocabulary list before you listen, checking all the words you don't know in a dictionary (we recommend the online Merriam-Webster); or you can skim the list quickly and just check a few really important new words. Or you can use the list after listening, to get help with words you couldn't catch by listening alone.

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