The 4 skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking are all important subsets of learning a new language. There are many ways to learn a language, and recently, I feel that the best and fastest way of going about it is through listening.
I used to not pay much attention to listening. I do use the CDs given in textbooks etc and I will repeatedly listen to the sample dialogues again and again while reading the text. But upon reflection, all I did was passive listening. Even while watching dramas, I tend to focus more on the subtitles and not pay too much attention to the dialogue. Passive listening again.
No wonder my listening skills developed rather slowly. If I remember correctly, it took me close to 2 years to be able to follow the speed of speech in dramas/variety shows etc. It has nothing to do with UNDERSTANDING what is said, but to HEAR what is being said. Meaning, you should be able to ask questions like ‘I heard this sentence XXXX, can you tell me what it means?’
Listening also affects your speaking skills. I was quite slow in picking up the tone and contours of Korean speech and passive listening meant that I usually pronounce things the way I think it is, instead of looking at how native speakers do it.
As you may know, there are alot of sound changes in Korean, depending on the context the consonant occurs in etc. It’s good to know the rules explicitly, but active hearing can help you learn them in a much faster and effective way!
있는 거란다 is supposed to be pronounced as [인는 거란다]
In 하지만…, the 하 is usually pronounced at a higher pitch and given more emphasis
These are just 2 of the many many things that I’ve learnt when I learnt to pay much closer attention to speech around me when I was in Korea!
So, if you want to improve your listening and speaking skills, start to listen actively from now on!