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Understanding Natural English: Listening Like a Native with Cara from Leo Listening

Today, I’m excited to share the in-depth conversation I recently had with my colleague, Cara Leopold from Leo Listening.

Cara is an online listening teacher – that’s right, Cara is an expert at showing you exactly what you need to do to improve your listening skills so that you can participate comfortably and confidently in conversations with native English speakers.

In this conversation, we talk about how improving your listening skills can help you connect with native English speakers in conversations.

It is important to learn to listen like a native speaker in order to understand natural spoken English. For example, we both explain why we choose to speak at a natural, normal speed in our videos and podcasts.

In addition, we explain why listening is an active skill that requires both work and practice. We give several suggestions on how English learners can start to pick up on fillers, hesitations, thinking phrases, and even mistakes that native speakers make in conversation.

By learning what these filler expressions, sounds, and hesitation markers are, you can start to decode the main message while listening in conversation.

As I mentioned after my conversation with James from Lingua Materna, I suggest you pay attention to how Cara and I interact and how how we show we are actively listening during the conversation.

To start identifying features of native speech that you need to learn to filter out, be sure to read Cara’s article on expressions of hesitation, filler phrases, repetitions, and false starts.

As you probably noticed, we say “Do you know what I mean?” many times (and very quickly!) during our conversation!

As we discussed, listening to podcasts is an excellent a way to train your ear to understand natural speech, particularly when you listen to conversations about real life by real people.

I also I recommend you check out Cara’s podcast on fast, natural English!


Your Turn

Now it’s your turn! After listening to this video, which tip do you think helped you the most?

Are there any strategies you’re going to start using right now to help you understand native speakers and practice listening? Leave a message in the comments.

Make sure you connect with Cara by getting her free guide to help you understand what you watch in English!

Ready to communicate more effectively in conversations? Learn communication skills that enable you to connect with other people and engage in natural conversations and professional discussions. Get started here.

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