For some years now, I've been trying to get better in English and especially in terms of grammar, but my listening comprehension is still very low. I try to watch movies or series but listening remains painful. According to you, which method is more effective and more enjoyable to overcome this handicap ?

  • 3
    Maybe a better question would be "Which are some efficient methods of improving listening comprehension?" The "more enjoyable" part is perhaps too opinion-based.
    – user28332
    Commented Aug 8, 2016 at 20:34
  • You are voting down my question, it is your right but do not rephrase. You do not have to change my train of thought. Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 5:17
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    @JohnMcFerrin StackExchange is a collaborative type of site, and it relies on questions that are not opinion-based. Questions that are closed benefit no one. I encourage you to rephrase your question so it can be reopened. user28332's suggestion is not bad at all.
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 10:22

3 Answers 3


Learning a language is not an easy task, and can often take years to master. The best advice I can give you is to force yourself to do tasks that you'd normally do in your native language instead in English. For example, watching the news, listening to the radio, or watching TV. If you can't move to an English speaking country and surround yourself in the culture, this should be your best option.


A method I find very useful is listening to a talk radio channel in the target language while I do other stuff such as cleaning, cooking or typing answers on Stack Exchange. The point is to focus on something else and just have the radio in the background. Then when I go and do some active listening with my study resources I find it much easier, because I am already used to the speech pattern, sound and melody of the language.

This is a good site for listening to online radio: Radio-browser.info


I had similar problems with listening comprehension of American English. Being very fluent in writing English, I could barely understand radio or TV. To overcome this problem I did three steps:

  • Watching movies with turned on subtitles.

I purchased a Netflix subscription and started watching movies with enabled subtitles. Those usually appear a fraction of second before the voice, and you can prepare you ear to "grab" this phrase. I was specially paying attention to things that evaded my ear, like dropped sounds, chewed articles etc.

  • Writing transcripts.

How ridiculous this might sound, writing your own transcripts (for scenes from movies you like, radio or podcast) and comparing it to the "official" ones helps you to understand what sounds you might not be hearing properly.

  • Saying goodbye to subtitles.

After some time I realized that subtitles actually do not help me anymore. Instead, I pay to much attention to reading them. Hence, I switched them off and try to "plunge" and really get exposed to real-world speeds.

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    +1. To add to your answer (let's hope it will bubble up to the top), a trick which worked for me years ago before netflix: Watching CNN news two hours in a row. Next hour, they basically repeat the same news, so you can catch what you missed first time around. Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 17:18

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