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Hi guys, it's Keith from IELTS Speaking Success and today I'm going to show you how to understand native English speakers and how to really improve your listening skills. What's more, I'll show you the biggest mistakes students make when trying to understand native speakers and also when doing the IELTS Listening Test. Let's do it! Hello, my name is Keith and I run the website IELTS Speaking Success and also the YouTube channel and the Facebook group. If you haven't joined the Facebook group, go downstairs, down below, follow the link and come and join us.
So how are your listening skills? Do you sometimes find it hard to follow native speakers, to understand films or videos on YouTube? My name is Walter Hartwell White, I live at 308 Negra, Arroyo Lane, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87104. Or even, oh my, to understand the IELTS Speaking Examiner? What about this phrase, can you understand this? Should we go and have a good day? So I want you to write that down on a piece of paper or in the comment box. Have a go.
Should we go and have a good day? By the end of this video, you will understand that and also you will know the 5 things that you need to know to take your listening skills right up to the next level. What's more, hey, we're going to be practicing so that you will even see a change in your listening skills by the end of the video. How good is that? Let's begin. So what is the biggest mistake students make with listening? It's they focus on words, individual words and try and translate them. That's not good, right? Because this is the secret, words change in context. When you put two words together, the sound changes.
And so if you're listening for individual sounds, you're not listening for the right thing, right? Take the words or take this phrase, right? Good day, good day. It sounds like one sound, right? Good day. But it's two words, good day. But we don't say good day, good day, good today. No, we say good day, good day. We drop the D. So we drop sounds. We drop vowels and consonants when words come together, right? For example, excuse me, we don't say that. We say, excuse me, excuse me, the ECH disappears. We drop it. Excuse me. Shwee-go, shwee-go, shwee is actually shall we. The L we drop. Shwee-go, shwee-go.
We even drop words, right? It's fine. That's fine. It's fine. So we drop, we drop vowels, consonants and words. How on earth are you going to understand? Well, knowing that those sounds disappear when you put words together, then it's going to help you. Let's look at another thing that happens when you put words together. We link sounds, right? Have a, have a. Goes together, have a, right? Have a good day. Have a good day. You see? Sometimes when we link words, we actually add another sound that you don't write. Okay? Go and is go an. Go w, w. There's a w. We add a w.
How mad is that? Go and go an. Go and. And the D drops. So just to confuse you, we add a w and we drop the d. Go and, go and see. Go and see. Go and have a good day. Go and have a good day. Get it? Put that all together, right? Should we go and have a good day? Should we go and have a good day? That was the phrase at the beginning. So we've got all these things. We add sounds, we link things, we drop things. Boom. Not only that, right? We also stress certain words. We reduce some words. We add intonation.
We add rhythm. All of these things and tone, not forgetting. So it makes it more difficult. So knowing all of this can help us listen and understand better. I'm going to show you all of these in a bit more detail. We're going to practice them so you can develop your listening skills. Just a small note, I'm not encouraging you to speak like this yet. This is a higher level of speaking and if you can, fantastic. But our focus today is on listening and being able to recognize and notice these sounds.
So as you start listening more and more, you become aware of them and you understand the sounds rather than focusing on those individual words and translating. Right. So let's get going. So I'm going to look at five things. Okay. Word stress, chunks, weak forms, contractions and connected speech, which cover all of the aspects we've talked about. Let's begin with word stress. Actually, grammatically, this is sentence stress. It's the words that we stress in a sentence. Okay. So for example, can you spot and tell me which words I am stressing in this sentence? I'd like to get a ticket to London. I'd like to get a ticket to London.
Like ticket London. I'd like to get a ticket to London. What about this one? Can you pay by cash? Pay cash. Can you pay by cash? Okay. So when you're listening to stuff, focus first of all on the stressed words because those are the ones that carry the main meaning. They're the most important words. Typically the noun, the verbs, the adjectives, the adverbs, the bigger words. Right. Pay cash. You can understand. Can you pay by cash? Okay. Two more examples. Again, pick out the words I stress. You should have asked I would have been happy to do it. Asked happy do.
You should have asked I would have been happy to do it. Or, ah, it's fine. I didn't want to trouble you. Fine. Trouble you. It's fine. I didn't want to trouble you. Okay. So picking out those stressed words. Great. So here's a quick tip for you. You should be doing two kinds of listening. Right. Intensive and extensive. Intensive is very short audio clips or video clips. Maybe up to a minute where you're analyzing specific things. Extensive can be 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour watching a film, listening to a podcast where you're just exposing yourself and following the general idea. Okay.
You need to be doing both kinds. When you're doing intensive listening, one exercise is to focus on the words that are stressed. So listen to the sentences. If you have the tape script, transcript, you can underline the stressed words or make a note here or on paper as you listen and focus on the stressed words because they carry the meaning. So when you're doing IELTS listening, listening for gist for the main idea, the stressed words are the main ones. Right. Can you pay by cash? Pay cash. That's all you need to know. You don't need to be focusing on every word. Okey dokey. Moving on. Secondly, chunks.
Chunks are really important. Right. You remember at the beginning of the video, I said good day, good day, good day, have a good day. Right. Have a good day is a chunk. It's a piece of language where we take the sound of that language and we focus on the sound. Have a good day. Right. I don't know how many words that is. Have a good day. It's actually four. But what's in my head is the sound. Have a good day. And you'll notice most grammatical forms are really chunks. Right. I'd like to. I'd like to.
I'd like to get a ticket to London. I'd like to. You can actually practice with me. I'd like to. I'd like to. And really, right, close your, I was going to say your ears, close your eyes and really listen to the sound. I'd like to. I'd like to. That's what you need to get. The same with I should have. I should have. I should have called before coming. Right. I would have. The same. I would have. So listen to those sounds. Can you, can you, can you help? Can you come? Can you give me? Can you, can you? Right.
Get the sound. OK. Others, very common. I want to. I didn't want to. I didn't want to. Notice here. I didn't. The ter. I dropped it. Drop the ter. I didn't want to. Want to. Want to. I drop the t. Oh, you've got the d here, the t here. I didn't want to. I didn't want to. Try. I didn't want to. I didn't want to go. I didn't want to come. So start training your ear to pick out these sounds or these chunks. Right. The secret is chunks.
Most idiomatic expressions are chunks, right? It's a piece of cake. I don't know how many words that is. It is a piece of cake, but it's just one sound. It's a piece of cake. It's a piece of cake. It's a piece of cake. It doesn't matter. Right. Notice again. It doesn't. The ter drops. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. So your grammatical structures and your idiomatic expressions are mostly chunks and this is what you need to be listening for. Excellent. Moving on. By the way, if you want to practice more and more chunks, go and check out the Fluency Gym on the website.
The link's below. There's lots of chunks there. Lots of IELTS questions and answers and they're done by chunks and you can just practice listening and speaking. How good is that? Now, talking of the gym, the Fluency Gym, when you go to the gym, you see some people who are really strong, right? Now, what's the opposite of strong? The opposite of strong is weak. It's the same with language and words. So many words in English have a weak form and a strong form. Right. Particularly the small little words in English. Have a look at these words.
How do you pronounce them? Well, I don't know what you said, but I'm guessing you said for, to, do, are, you. Now that's true 10% of the time. Right. That's the strong form and we use that when we stress the word. Right. It's for, no, for example, who is this for? Right. Who is this for? Who do I give it to? You stress the word and it's a strong form. But did you know 90% of the time we don't stress the word and we don't use the strong form, we use the weak form. Exactly. So actually, how do you pronounce these words? F, T, D or J, uh, yuh, uh, yuh.
How strange is that? But that's how we really pronounce them. And that's what you're listening to when you listen to native speakers. Right. They don't say it's for you. Say it's for you. It's for you. Or even the it's for you. S for you. It's for you. The you is stressed. Right. It's for you. Hmm. For example, let's take do. Right. I do like pizza. I'm stressing it. Right. I do like pizza. Um, do you like pizza? Duh, yuh. Do you like pizza? You see, that's the unstressed form.
In our phrases we're using at the beginning, I'd like to get a ticket to London, a ticket to London. It's not to, it's to. Right. You could say to if it was I want a ticket to London, not from London, because you're stressing to. But normally a ticket to London, a ticket for to, a table for to, go to the restaurant, a table for to, a table for to. I've changed from to to for. Right. A ticket to London. Um, good.
So you may be thinking or asking Keith, what are these small words that have a weak form and a strong form? Well, there's a lot, but the main ones are auxiliaries. Right. Like these be, do, have, can, which will be pronounced, the be is was or were, was, were, do, have, can. Personal pronouns, you, he and she would be ya, he, she. Prepositions, right, to, at, of, for, become to, at, of, are. Conjunctions, and, but, than, and, but, than. By and large, it's the schwa sound that we're using in the weak form. Not always, but usually. So that's it. The weak form's really, really important. Let's move on.
First I'm going to mention contractions, right? Contract is to reduce. Contractions are where, for example, instead of saying I will, we say I'll. I am, I'm. In spoken English, we normally use contractions. In written English, especially academic English, we don't. But when you're speaking and listening to people in conversations, on films, you will be listening for these contractions. So you'll have I'll, I'd instead of I would. Should've, I should've instead of I should have. I would've instead of I would have. I'd've, right, I would've or I'd've, I'd've told you, for example.
In our examples, we had I'd like, I'd, I'd like to get a ticket to London or I should've, I should've called before coming. We also had you should've asked, I would've been happy to do it. You should've asked, I would've been, I would've been happy to do it. Or it's fine, it's fine. Drop your tea, drop your it, it's fine. Let's move on. And now number five, connected speech. And this is the biggie. This is the big one that makes listening really difficult. But once you get this, your listening skills are just gonna rock it.
So here's the rule, okay? When a word ends with a consonant sound and the next word begins with a vowel sound, we usually connect the two words. Okay? We can connect the sounds or we can add a sound to make the connection. Let's have a look at the first chunk we mentioned before. I'd like to get a ticket to London, right? There's two connections here. I'd like to get a, get a, we just link get a, get a. Ticket to, ticket to, we also link but because the T and the T are the same, we just have one. Ticket to, ticket to, get a ticket to.
Got it? I'd like to get a ticket to London. More examples. In the phrase, I should have called you before coming. Called you, called you. The U is yeah, right? Called you, you. It's sometimes a duh, sometimes a juh. I should have called you, called you. I should have called you before coming. Close your eyes. I should have called you before coming. Juh. Can you hear the juh? Great. More examples. I should have asked, I should have asked, vast, the, a, vast. I should have asked. Notice we often drop the K, right, as well in asked, right? We often drop the K.
You should have asked. And another one I would have been happy to do it. Here we add a sound, do, because it's a wuh, we put the wuh, do it, like a wit, wit, do it, do it. Happy to do it. Get it? I would have been happy to do it. Or in as well, I didn't want to trouble you. So here we connect the didn't and the want, but we drop the T. I didn't want to, want to, want to, want to. I didn't want to trouble you. I didn't want to trouble you. Again, close your eyes and see if you can hear the sounds, want to.
I didn't want to trouble you. If you can hear it, you're starting to get the gist, to get the hang of it. Excellent. So those are some examples with the connected speech. So as you're listening, intensively or extensively, try and notice the connected words, try and listen to them. Stop if you want and try repeating it, because that can also help you. And if you've got the transcript, you can just make the connection. You can write and make the connection. It's just building up the habit and starting to notice this, right? Let me go through those four sentences we began with and see if you can start hearing the different things.
I'd like to get a ticket to London. Can you pay by cash? You should have asked. I would have been happy to do it. Ah, it's fine. I didn't want to trouble you. Right. Excellent. Hopefully you're starting to notice. What would be great would be to go back and listen again. Make a note of all of these features that are in there. They're in English every day. And all of this will help you understand native speakers much, much better.
And it's the key to your success in the IELTS listening, right? So as I began, should we go and have a good day? Shall we go? Let's go and have a good day. Just before you go, though, I hope all of this helps. If you want more practice or you want more details about listening skills, follow the link below to the website. There's a whole article with more information. Go and check out the Fluency Gym. Great for your listening and your pronunciation. If you like this video, go and check out my online course. It's on Udemy. IELTS Speaking. Get IELTS Speaking success. Get a band seven plus.
It will really help you level up and get ready for your speaking test coming up soon. It's been a pleasure being with you as always today. Do take care. Stay safe. And I look forward to seeing you next week with a new video, new ideas. Take care now. Bye bye. .