Listening refers to the receptive form of speech activity and represents the perception and understanding of speech by ear at the time of its generation. The basis of listening as any process is based on certain psycho-physiological mechanisms: perception, recognition and understanding. The mechanisms of perception include the mechanism of internal pronunciation, operational and long-term memory, identification (collation), anticipation (probabilistic forecasting).
The success of listening is associated with the mechanisms of the so-called auditory memory and depends on the size of the “operational unit of perception”, i.e., the ability to retain speech segments in memory.
It is the ability to retain in memory the perceived segments of speech that depends on the process of understanding audio text, the possibility of its subsequent interpretation. Thanks to the auditory memory, the student keeps in his head words and phrases, getting the time he needs to understand the information he has heard.
However, there is no single concept on this. Therefore, A. R. Luria and other researchers identify the following levels of understanding of the text: fragmented (separate lexical units); global (message subject); detailed (facts); critical (subtext).
Levels of understanding allow you to judge the levels of student learning and to specify the goals of learning.
Therefore, the magnitude of the operational unit of perception (auditory operative memory) depends on internal imitation (we imitate correctly → we learn correctly) as a result → identification (continuous comparison of perceived speech with samples of long-term memory), that is, the better long-term memory, the better identification. There are actions of recognition as a result of comparison with the standard stored in the memory.
In the practice of teaching foreign languages, listening has remained for a long time, as it were, on the periphery of the educational process, so it is not by chance that a large number of problems and failures are associated with listening.
Here we consider the difficulties in more detail.
- The first group of difficulties are the difficulties associated with the conditions of perception. Here, the one-time and short-term presentation of information plays an important role, which requires the listener to react quickly when perceiving the sounding text.
Difficulties in listening are often associated with the source of listening (who is the living partner in the process of direct contact, sounding from an audiocassette or radio text during distant listening). At the same time, timbre, voice strength, individual characteristics of speech, deviations from idiomatic / normative pronunciation, the gender of the speaker (male or female voice), and age (child or adult voice) have an effect. It is known that understanding children's voices require certain skills.
Many methodologists note that in real communication it is impossible to adjust the length, volume and clarity of the text, so the listener quickly gets tired, his attention is diverted, which in turn leads to a loss of interest, kills the motivation for further work with audio text. .
- The next group of difficulties is related to the perception of the linguistic form and the substantive content of the audio text.
It is obvious that the language difficulties of the text distract the listeners from the content and the process of understanding is violated. The length of perceived sentences, the presence of unfamiliar lexical, grammatical language material, the presence of homonyms in the information (words belonging to the same part of speech and sounding the same but different in meaning), for example, hand — human organ, hand — hand of the door; homophones (words of the same sound, but having different spelling): week — weak.
There are also the so-called false friends of the translator, internationalism, having a different meaning in a foreign language, words used in a figurative sense, ambiguous words, for example, letter — paragraph, leasing person, erudition, etc.
Difficulties that relate to the content of the audio text are connected with the understanding of the facts (numbers, dates, proper names, geographical names, etc.), the presentation logic due to the large amount of factual information, as well as the general idea of the text, which often happens if the main idea implicitly expressed, and the text is complex in terms of language.
- The third group of difficulties associated with the form of presentation of audio text. The German didactor B. Dahlhaus, having studied various forms of presentation of audio texts (audio text with illustration, listening with printed text and without support when presenting audio text, one-time and multiple text presentation), considers that listening comprehension depends on factors such as complexity text (the more complex the text, the more support is required to remove difficulties), the students' language experience (the more competent and experienced the students are, the faster they are able to abandon the support in the form of printed text and other illustrations, the sooner you can move on to listening to texts without pauses), learning goals and objectives (if the task is to prepare students for the real situation and form a truly auditing competence, you should abandon the printed basis).
In a real communication situation, non-verbal information helps students understand audio texts, such as facial expressions, gestures, and in the training situation, illustrations and photographs can also help . However, from the very beginning of training, the teacher should remember that he is preparing students for the real situation of communication, therefore supports should be reduced, prepare students, for example, to understand the text without re-listening.
- There are difficulties associated with the perception of a certain type of speech activity and type of utterance. Obviously, it is easier to perceive monologue texts than dialogic texts, and among monologues it is easier to comprehend plots than descriptive ones.
- A special group consists of the difficulties associated with the socio-cultural component of learning foreign languages. Ignorance of socio-cultural features can lead to a misunderstanding of the partner's speech behavior, as well as disrupt the understanding of perceived information.
The success of audio listening depends on the pre-setting for the text being audited. In fact, this is the basis of the mechanism of anticipation, a kind of advanced reflection of reality. From recognition, the listener proceeds to comprehension.
To implement the act of communication the following components are necessary: source (speaker); message (text) transmitted through the auditory channel; recipient (listener). At the same time, the act of communication is performed in a certain situation — the sounding text is always addressed to a specific listener. It is necessary to establish who speaks and to whom he refers. The listener does not just perceive the text but interacts with it. Texts, in essence, do not matter, they acquire it as a result of interaction of the text with the activity of the listener in understanding this text, therefore there are situations when we understand much more than was actually said in this message. The text emits signals that cause the listener to access his memory in search of this information, which is then used again in the text. The text continues to emit signals prompting the listener to recombine, adding new knowledge to already existing ones. The changed balance of knowledge (information) is a prerequisite for further understanding of the text. Information goes both from the text to the listener and from the listener to the text. Therefore, even though listening is referred to as receptive types of speech activity, the listener is active, so listening is a perceptual thought-mnemonic activity. Perceptual — because there is a direct active reflection of external and internal objects by the cognitive sphere of a person. Mental, because its implementation is associated with the basic mental operations: analysis, synthesis, induction, deduction, and comparison, mnemonic (from the Greek mnemonicon — the art of memorization).
- Dahlhaus B. Fernstudieneinheit 5. Fertigkeit Hören. Berlin, 2007.
- Galskova ND Modern methods of teaching foreign languages. M., 2000.
- Solovova E. N. Methods of teaching foreign languages: a base. The course of lectures: a manual for students. M., 2008.