What’s that, you say? You want to improve your English listening skills? Listening is a very important skill to build for several reasons.
For one, you need to be able to understand someone correctly before you can respond. In fact, you can’t communicate with someone very effectively if you can’t comprehend what they’re saying.
Listening also helps acquire correct pronunciation, intonation, and vocabulary. It is a fundamental skill and one that requires a lot of attention.
These days, technology brings huge benefits to language learners, and it’s especially helpful for improving your listening skills.
Television, movies, music, mp3s, and the internet provide a wealth of resources and enable English learners to improve their listening and communication skills from the comfort of their own homes—and their own countries.
Smartphones are extremely useful for those who want to learn a language, largely because of apps. There are hundreds of great apps that can help you learn English, and there are several that focus on listening in particular.
5 Best Apps to Learn English by Listening
1. Learn English By Conversation
This highly-rated app by SCD Group helps users improve their English listening, grammar, and speaking. Users can listen to simple conversations from BBC Learning English including 6-Minute English, English At Work, and The English We Speak.
Each lesson comes with English audio, a transcript, exercises, and a vocabulary list. Users can also test their English, chat with other English learners, and practice their English speaking with voice recognition.
2. English Podcast for Learners
Listening to podcasts is a great way to learn English, and this Android app, by tidahouse, is especially helpful because it has a feature that lets users speed up or slow down the playback. Some podcasts also have a transcript.
In addition to slowing down the playback, users can stop, pause, and repeat the podcasts. There are news podcasts, business podcasts, TED talks, a Sesame Street Podcast, and more.
3. LearnEnglish Elementary Podcasts
British Council offers several podcasts for English learners: some help with grammar, some with pronunciation, and several with listening. Their most popular podcast is LearnEnglish Podcasts, which provides over 40 episodes and 20 free hours listening material on a variety of topics.
With each episode there is a moving audio script which is highlighted to help you follow along; there are also comprehension questions. Users can download episodes, listen offline, and delete episodes when they’re finished.
For those interested in learning about UK food and culture and listening to famous stories and poems, check out British Council’s Learn English Audio & Video.
4. Voice of America (VOA)
This award-winning app, available for both iOS and Android, gives users access to one of the world’s largest international news media networks, Voice of America.
This network has a weekly audience of over 200 million people in many different countries. Users can customize the app for over 400 languages and dialects, read stories while they’re listening, download stories and videos for offline listening.
5. English Listening and Speaking
English Listening and Speaking, by Miracle FunBox, is divided into lessons, which are then divided into easy, intermediate, and advanced levels. The audio consists of everyday conversations and short stories. It also provides a list of idioms and phrases used in daily conversation and a table of irregular verbs.
Users can practice what they’ve learned with several vocabulary and sentence-building exercises, as well as listen to and evaluate their pronunciation. What’s more, there are hundreds of listening tests to improve users’ listening and vocabulary skills.