What makes listening really difficult?

According to Brown and Abewickrama (2010) listening is much more than just a linear process of recording strings of language as they are transmitted to our brains.

Listening is complex.

Here's what makes listening so difficult:

1️⃣ Clustering: Focusing on groups of words or phrases - aka “chunks”.

2️⃣Redundancy: Noticing and benefiting from repeated or rephrased words in unrehearsed natural speech (i.e. repetition, elaboration, insertions)

3️⃣Performance variables: Ignoring unnecessary parts like pauses, hesitations or corrections in speech.

4️⃣Colloquial language: Understanding slang, idioms, and cultural references.

5️⃣Rate of delivery: Keeping up with how fast someone speaks (and processing it).

6️⃣Stress, rhythm, and intonation: Getting the tone and rhythm of spoken language.

7️⃣Interaction: Handling the back-and-forth flow of conversation.

Which one of these do your students struggle with? What else would you add?

Let me know in the comments 👇

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