Free English Lessons

Language Learning – Listening Lesson (A2)

Have you enjoyed studying English? Have you learned anything interesting or met people you get on with during your studies? Listen to two people talking about language learning in this free English lesson from Oxford Online English, including vocabulary notes and exercises. This is a lesson for pre-intermediate learners.

Listen to the dialogue at normal speed here:

or listen to a slower version here:

Man: So how many languages can you speak?
Woman: I guess four, five if you count1 my native language.
Man: Wow! That’s amazing! How do you keep it all in your head2?
Woman: Well, it’s not like I speak them perfectly. My French is really rusty3. It just depends how much you practise.
Man: I wish I could speak as many languages as you.
Woman: Are you studying anything at the moment?
Man: I’m trying to study Italian, but I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere4.
Woman: I used to study Italian. It’s a nice language.
Man: I find it really difficult, actually – much more difficult than French.
Woman: Really? I would say it’s the other way round5.
Man: To be honest, I’m not a natural6 when it comes to language learning.
Woman: People like to say that, but really it all comes down to7 hard work.
Man: Maybe. I guess I should go do some homework!
Woman: Alright, study hard!

These notes contain a number of the answers for exercise 2. You may prefer to try that exercise first and then return to this section if you need to.

1. Count here means “include” or “consider as important.”
2. Keep something in your head = remember something.
3. Rusty = bad because you haven’t practised enough recently.
4. I’m not getting anywhere = I’m not making any progress.
5. The other way round = the opposite of what he said, i.e. she thinks French is more difficult.
6. A natural = someone with natural ability, a talented person.
7. It all comes down to hard work = hard work is the most important thing.

Language Learning – exercise 1
Comprehension: correcting information

Check how well you understand the details in this conversation by correcting five statements about the speakers.

Before you listen again, read the five statements and predict what information could be wrong.

Language Learning – exercise 2
Vocabulary: guessing meaning from context

When you are listening or reading, there will be words that you don’t know. Of course, you can check the meaning in a dictionary, but in real life you can’t always do that. You need to think about the other words in the sentence and make a decision about the most probable meaning of the unknown word(s).

Listen to five sentences from the dialogue and choose the correct definition for the highlighted words.

Language Learning – exercise 3
Grammar: present simple v present continuous

Using verbs in the present might be different in English from how it works in your language. In English, we use the present simple for true facts, opinions and regular habits or routines; we use the present continuous for temporary actions either at the specific moment of speaking, or lasting for a limited period of time.

Complete five sentences from the dialogue with a verb in present simple or present continuous form.

Language Learning – exercise 4
Listening skill: learning multi-word chunks

When you learn vocabulary, you shouldn’t just learn individual words – instead, learn ‘chunks’ or groups of words. This is because certain words frequently go together. If you learn words in groups you will be able to recognise them more easily when you hear them.

Listen to five clips from the dialogue and complete the gaps with the last three or four words you hear.

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