关键词：障碍； 听力理解； 克服； 听力理解过程[l4]
With the development of the Reform-Opening Policy and the rapid development of the relationship with the outside world, communication in English has become a more crucial factor in social organization, and is regarded as the main target of English learners. English, as an international language, plays an ever more significant role in daily life. Given the importance of listening in language learning and teaching, it is essential for language teachers to help learners become effective listeners and for language learners to pay greater attention to listening comprehension. Most English listeners believe that listening comprehension is only paying attention to what someone is saying or to sounds that they can hear. They regard the process of listening comprehension as passive, but it is actually a very active and complicated process involving many factors, such as the speakers’ pronunciation, the listeners’ vocabulary and ability to comprehend meaning. In order to improve their listening ability, English learners must not only make a diligent effort to listen to speakers’ words, but also make use of all their prior knowledge of English. The main obstacles to effective English listening comprehension which must be addressed to improve listening comprehension in English are in the areas of limited phonetic knowledge, quantity of[l8] mastered vocabulary, limited understanding in cultural background and some specific psychological obstacles.
Keywords[l9] ：obstacles；listening comprehension；overcome；listening process[l10]
Table of Contents[l12]
Outline …………………………………………………………… 1[l14]
Introduction …………………………………………………………………. 3
Chapter I The Importance of Listening Comprehension………………………………………….. 5
1.1 Definition of the Listening Comprehension …………………………………………………………………. 5
1.2 The Significance of Listening……………………………………………………. 6
Chapter II The Process of Listening Comprehension………………………………………….. 9
Chapter III Obstacles and Countermeasures in the Listening Process…………………………………………………….. 11
3.1 The Limitation of Phonetic Knowledge 11
3.1.1 The Effect of Distinguishing Sounds on Listening 11[l15]
3.1.2 The Effect of Liaison on English Listening 12
3.1.3 The Effect of Intonation on English Listening 13
3.1.4 The Effect of Stressed and Unstressed Words 14
3.2 Quantity of Mastered Vocabulary……………………………………………….. 14
3.3 Limited Cultural Background Knowledge………………………………………………. 17
3.4 The Limitation of Psychological Factors 19
3.4.1 Interest in Learning English Listening Comprehension………………………………………… 20
3.4.2 The Effect of Different Environments on English Listening 21
Conclusion………………………………………………. 24 Bibliography ……………………………………………………………….. 25
Acknowledgements ……………………………………………………………….. 28
Thesis[l19] Statement: The main obstacles to effective English listening comprehension which must be addressed to improve listening comprehension in English are in the areas of limited phonetic knowledge, quantity of mastered vocabulary, limited understanding in cultural background and some specific psychological obstacles.
I. Given[l20] the importance of listening in language learning and teaching, it is essential for language teachers to help learners become effective listeners and for language learners to pay greater attention to listening comprehension.
A. All English learners need to understand the definition of listening comprehension.
B. More people who are qualified in listening and speaking skills will be demanded.
II. Understanding the process of listening comprehension is helpful for improving listening skills.
III. There are four main obstacles with corresponding countermeasures to improve the process of listening comprehension.
A．Many English learners are limited in phonetic knowledge.
1. Distinguishing sounds means to differentiate between two or more sounds which are in the neighboring position in terms of the place of articulation.
2. The meanings of an identical sentence are different if a speaker utters it using a different intonation or tone.
3. Stressed and unstressed words are another important factor affecting English listening.
B. The understanding and ability to use a large amount of vocabulary is of crucial importance both in reading comprehension and listening.
1. Although many students have studied a large amount of vocabulary, most of them have difficulties in applying and making use of these words in speaking and listening.
2. The phenomenon of one word with several meanings is very common in English vocabulary.
C．A lack of cultural background knowledge is a big obstacle in listening comprehension.
1. According to Piaget’s schema theory, information that does not fit into a particular schema may not be comprehended, or may not be comprehended correctly.
2. The way that learners acquire knowledge under schema theory is quite similar to Piaget’s model of the process of development.
D. Psychological factors have a direct impact on students’ willingness and commitment to listening instruction.
IV. Conclusion: One’s ability to comprehend a listening text or conversation is based on whether he or she has mastered relevant knowledge and techniques for listening and understanding such as application of relevant phonetic knowledge, mastering large amounts of vocabulary, acquiring an adequate knowledge of cultural background and an awareness of significant psychological factors.
With the development of the Reform-Opening Policy and the rapid development of the relationship with outside world, communication in English has become a more crucial factor in society, and is regarded as the main target of contemporary English learners. English, as an international language, plays an ever more significant role in daily life. Therefore, to improve English competency, English learners must improve their ablilities in listening, speaking, reading and writing all at the same time. Although each of these skills is important, “language learning depends on listening since it provides the aural input that serves as the basis for language acquisition and enables learners to interact in spoken communication ” (Nai and Wills).[G25] Therefore, listening plays the most critical role in learning English because it is the source of language input. A learner cannot master the language communicative process if they do not learn to listen effectively; they cannot efficiently communicate and cooperate with others unless they understand those that they are speaking with and listening to.
In the practice of English teaching in China, listening has failed to receive as much attention as reading, writing and translation. What most listening comprehension teachers do in class is merely play listening materials and check the answers to the listening exercises, so most students learn little in class, and listening comprehension does not markedly increase. Hence, listening is a very vulnerable area for most English learners in China. It is necessary to foster English learners’ abilities in reading and writing as well as listening, but improving listening ability is an urgent problem that needs to be resolved now. … …
Chapter I The Importance of Listening Comprehension[l27]
1.1 The Definition of the Listening Comprehension[l29]
Given the importance of listening in language learning and teaching, it is essential for [l30] language teachers to help learners become effective listeners and for language learners to pay greater attention to listening comprehension. Most English listeners believe that listening comprehension is only paying attention to what someone is saying or to sounds that they can hear. They regard the process of listening comprehension as passive and not able to be controlled by themselves as listeners. In order to better understand the nature of listening comprehension, all English learners need to understand the definition of listening comprehension; this will help them to better recognize the importance of listening comprehension.
According to Howatt and Dakin (1974), listening is the ability to identify and understand what others are saying. This process involves understanding a speaker’s accent or pronunciation, the speaker’s grammar and vocabulary, and comprehension of meaning. An able listener is capable of doing these four things simultaneously.[l31] （qtd. [l32] in Nai and Wills）
Other listening specialists add another important component of listening, namely the role of empathy with the speaker.
Thomlison’s (1984) definition of listening includes “active listening”, which goes beyond comprehending as understanding the message content, to comprehension as an act of empathetic understanding of the speaker. Furthermore, Gordon (1985) argues that empathy is essential to listening and contends that it is more than a polite attempt to identify a speaker’s perspectives. Rather more importantly, empathetic understanding expands to “egocentric prosocial behavior”. Thus, the listener altruistically acknowledges concern for the speaker’s welfare and interests.
Ronald and Roskelly (1985) define listening as an active process requiring the same skills of prediction, hypothesizing, checking, revising, and generalizing that writing and reading demand; and these authors present specific exercises to make
students active listeners who are aware of the “inner voice” one hears when writing.（qtd. in Nai and Wills）
Listening comprehension is a very active and complicated process involving many factors, such as the speakers’ pronunciation, the listeners’ vocabulary and ability to comprehend meaning. In order to improve their listening ability, English learners must not only make a diligent effort to listen to speakers’ words, but also make use of all their prior knowledge of English.
1.2 The Significance of Listening [l33]
Along with the success of Beijing’s application for the 2008 Olympic Games, China’s economy has developed rapidly and gradually deepened the Reform and Opening Policy. In addition, with its entry into the WTO and opening its markets to the outside world, China has integrated more into the global economy. As communication increases, more people who are qualified in listening and speaking skills will be demanded. To meet this need, Ministry of National Education has published new English curriculum standards emphasizing training objectives for English teaching which are based on students’ language skills, knowledge of languages, emotional attitudes, learning strategies and the development of cultural consciousness.
[Note: The purpose of this sample paper is to provide an authentic and accurate example of writing style, paper formatting, and paper content for Senior English Major students to follow in the preparation for their paper. Since a complete paper is not necessary, several paragraphs or pages of text have been removed from this section.]
Chapter II The Process of Listening Comprehension
The listening process is often described from an information processing perspective as “an active process in which listeners select and interpret information that comes from auditory and visual clues in order to define what is going on and what the speakers are trying to express.” (Yang 44)[l36]
It should be made clear that listening and understanding are two separate processes. We should distinguish between listening as a process which requires mere listening to the message and which does not necessarily involve interpretation or reaction to the text, and listening comprehension as a process which involves the meaningful interactive activity for an overall understanding of the text. Listening comprehension in this paper is taken to refer to the way listeners select and interpret information that comes from the auditory and/or visual clues in order to come to better understanding and comprehension of what speakers say. This view of listening comprehension is in accordance with second-language theory which views listening to spoken language as an active and a complex process in which listeners focus on selected aspects of aural input, construct meaning, and relate what they hear to existing knowledge. (Hasan)[G37]
Understanding the process of listening comprehension is helpful for improving listening skills. Listening is an active and complex process. The process of listening comprehension can be divided into three cognitive processing phases—perception, parsing, and utilization. Perceptual processing refers to maintaining attention to spoken input, parsing means encoding the input to establish a meaningful representation in short-term memory, and utilization concerns using the background knowledge to interpret the input for storage (Liang 225).[l38]
Chapter III Obstacles and Countermeasures in the Process of Listening
3.1 The Limitation of Phonetic Knowledge
Many factors affect learners’ English listening, but a student’s phonetic knowledge and ability will deeply affect their English listening ability. Four basic factors are included in the area of phonetic knowledge: distinguishing sounds, liaison, intonation, and stressed and unstressed words. Language students are most likely to pronounce English words in the way of their mother tongue or local dialect, seldom paying any attention to the stress, approximate sound, rhythm, plosive and intonation of a sentence. However, there is a direct correlation between one’s phonetic knowledge and listening comprehension. As an active language, English pronunciation is the first obstacle that must be overcome. “Irregular pronunciation and intonation influence information output as well as quality of receiving information” (Dong 47)[l41] . This requires a speaker to express himself or herself as clearly as possible, but on the other hand, the speaker must also understand the opposite side. This requires speakers to listen to others’ expressions; if a speaker/listener cannot understand the others’ words, there can be no real communication
3.1.1 The Effect of Distinguishing Sounds on Listening [l42]
Distinguishing sounds means to differentiate between two or more sounds which are in the neighboring position in terms of the place of articulation. For example, when hearing a sentence such as, “When I come back home, I can talk about my day with her, and then just forget about it,” many students will write “For get about it,” and not “Forget about it.”
Distinguishing sounds is the students’ major problem in studying phonetics as well as in studying English listening.
3.2 Quantity of Mastered Vocabulary
The understanding and ability to use a large amount of vocabulary is of crucial importance both in reading comprehension and listening. “As formation component of language, vocabulary is said to be language’s building material. To study English well without a certain amount of vocabulary is just like setting up a house without bricks” (Yang Weihong 122).[l43] Although many students have studied a large amount of vocabulary, most of them have difficulties in applying and making use of these words in speaking and listening. They will definitely encounter some difficult words while listening, especially when a topic is not very familiar to them. When listening to English, an unknown word will always make students feel anxious. They will most probably stop suddenly and focus on the meaning of this new word and neglect the rest of the passage. Therefore, mastering a certain amount of vocabulary, including being able to use it correctly is an essential basis for listening.
English listening is a complex process in which the students utilize various knowledge and techniques. Through analysis of factors which affect English listening, it is clear that there are many reasons why students feel it difficult to comprehend English listening. One’s ability to comprehend a listening text or conversation is based on whether he or she has mastered relevant knowledge and techniques for listening and understanding such as application of relevant phonetic knowledge, mastering large amounts of vocabulary, acquiring an adequate knowledge of cultural background and an awareness of significant psychological factors. In addition, in order to solve these problems, some suggestions have been put forward. First of all, it is essential that students learn and review some basic phonetic knowledge while drilling their listening texts. Secondly, students should increase the amount of vocabulary that they know, which includes the ability to hear, understand, and use the words properly in context. English learners should also attempt to gain knowledge of the cultural background in relevant areas. Last, but not least, students must seek to overcome psychological factors which can influence their listening comprehension ability.
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Widmayer, Sharon Alayne. “Schema Theory: An Introduction”. George Mason University Website. http://www.kihd.gmu.edu/immersion/knowledgebase/strategies/cognitivism/ SchemaTheory.htm. Date accessed: April 3, 2006.
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During the process of composing my thesis, my advisor, Ms. XXX, and the second advisor, Ms. XXX, gave me many good suggestions for my work and helped me check the entire paper. Meanwhile my good friend, XXX, also helped me search for references for this paper. This has been a hard but joyful period of time for me；however， I have experienced the complete learning process and learned a great deal. This has been an unforgettable time in my life. I would also like to give my thanks to my teachers and friends; I could not have finished my project without their help.
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