1000 Word Challenge - Week 15

Do you want to improve your English skills using resources on the Internet? This week Dr. Heidi tells how to improve your listening skills in English!

Watch this week’s video on YouTube below.

Here are some web sites which will let you practice your English listening skills by offering interesting content that you can read while listening:

This week’s text!

Read the text of this week’s video to check your understanding and practice your new words!

Listen up!

Have you ever heard that verb phrase, “listen up”?

It’s what you say to a person or more usually

a group when you want to get their attention, when you want them to stop what they are doing and focus their attention on listening to what you are saying.

So, listen up! Because I want to talk to you about listening.

I want you to think about two ways of interacting with language. One is input - language coming to you from the outside world. The second is output, which is language that you are producing.

Reading and listening are input.

Speaking and writing are output.

If you have normal hearing, listening is probably

going to be the most important way to get input from around you.

The first thing I want to talk about is the rhythm of language, the flow of the sound of English. It is important to be familiar with the rhythm of language, because it will help you to mentally chunk the language, that is, it will help you break the sounds into words in your mind.

When you are reading English, there is a space between words, but when you are listening it is a stream of sounds. I want you to surround yourself with English - listen to the radio, listen to podcasts, turn on the TV, and just let yourself get familiar with the rhythm of the language.

The next step is to find activities that let you read and listen at the same time.

Did you know that all American TV shows and movies have captions?

This is so that people that are deaf or hard of hearing can understand what is happening in the show.

I want you to get in the habit of turning on closed captions when you watch TV or DVD’s. You can usually do this by pressing this CC button on the remote control. When I say I want you to watch videos with captions, I’m talking about English captions, not subtitles in your language!

If you watch with subtitles, you will find yourself ignoring the English speech and just reading for understanding. But, if you read the English captions while you are listening to the English speech, it will help you with that chunking skill - hearing the individual words in a stream of speech.

In addition to TV’s and DVD’s, YouTube also has a captions button. However, often these captions are generated automatically by computer, and they are not always accurate.

Did you know that you need a smaller vocabulary size to listen compared to reading? This is a big advantage, especially if at the beginning of your language studies. Also, if you are watching something like a TV show or movie, it’s very good for language learning because even if you don’t know all the words they are saying, you can see what is happening, so you will still understand it.

There are many resources on the Internet to help improve your listening skills. For example, the short story web site I showed you last week includes narration (reading) of the stories, so you can read and listen at the same time.

Some other sites that provide this feature are Voice of America and the BBC, which both have web sites devoted to learning English from news videos.

So, last week I stressed the idea that it’s important to read things that you’re interested in. The same is true for listening: you should choose content that you find entertaining or want to learn more about. Even if it’s a funny TV show, it’s good practice!

If you are living in an English speaking country, for example, if you are studying in an American university. You will hear English every day in your environment.

This can be a big advantage for you. The best way to take advantage of being in an English speaking environment is to be brave and go out there!

When I was in college I studied in Moscow for four months, and there were some Americans in my group who rarely left the school.

They spent the whole time talking to their American friends - in English! Make an effort to explore your neighborhood!

Making friends and talking to people will

give you lots of opportunities to listen to native speakers.

You might not understand everything they say, so here are some phrases if you need them to repeat what they are saying:

Pardon me?

Excuse me?

Could you repeat that, please?

I’m sorry, I don’t understand what ______ means.

What does _______ mean?

Bring a dictionary with you so you can look up words you don’t know; sometimes the person will help you find the word in the dictionary.

The other thing you can do is to look up vocabulary before you go somewhere. For example, if you are going to a museum, look up words related to art, then go with a tour group, or listen to the audio tour they have sometimes.

Listening is a great way to improve your English. It will also give you a chance to focus on pronunciation. Finally, if you listen to people talking in

TV shows or real life, you will learn how to speak more colloquially (that is, not formal academic language).

For example, many English speakers will say “I’m gonna” do something, rather than “I’m going to” do something (which is how you probably learned it in class).

Words for Week 15

Here are the 20 words for week 15. You may know some of these words already. However, it’s very important with vocabulary that you practice the words that you already know in addition to learning new words. This is all good practice and will help your language skills. All these definitions are from the Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary, which is highly recommended for English language learners.

Word Definition
sound something that is heard
art works created by artists; paintings, sculptures, etc., that are created to be beautiful or to express important ideas or feelings
group a number of people or things that are together or in the same place
input something (such as power or energy) that is put into a machine or system
advantage something (such as a good position or condition) that helps to make someone or something better or more likely to succeed than others
output something (such as power, energy, or information) that is produced by a machine or system
movie a recording of moving images that tells a story and that people watch on a screen or television
museum a building in which interesting and valuable things (such as paintings and sculptures or scientific or historical objects) are collected and shown to the public
flow to move in a steady and continuous way
focus a subject that is being discussed or studied; the subject on which people’s attention is focused
phrase a group of two or more words that express a single idea but do not usually form a complete sentence
caption a sentence or group of words that is written on or next to a picture to explain what is being shown
rhythm a regular, repeated pattern of sounds or movements
familiar used to say that something is easy for you to recognize because you have seen, heard, or experienced it many times in the past
activity something that is done as work or for a particular purpose
news information that is reported in a newspaper, magazine, television news program, etc.
listen to pay attention to someone or something in order to hear what is being said, sung, played, etc.
deaf not able to hear
accurate able to produce results that are correct; not making mistakes
improve to become better

Use your words!

When you learn new words, it’s important to use them in order to help remember them. On the Vocab Victor YouTube Channel, you can join a conversation using these words. Type a question in the comments section using one of the vocabulary words, such as, “What is your favorite web site for listening to English?” Then, answer a question someone else has given. Come back to this page later to see if people have answered your question!


Sorry, but our puzzle maker is still broken so we don’t have a worksheet this week. 😿

Download Vocab Victor

Finally, download our app Vocab Victor which is available for Apple and Android phones. This vocabulary learning software will help you build and strengthen your vocabulary. What does that mean? Build and strengthen. Build vocabulary means it will teach you new words. Strengthen means it will improve the knowledge of the words you already know. Play Vocab Victor for a few minutes every day to help improve your English! Read more about Vocab Victor at our page for students, Vocab Victor - Students.

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