Lesson Progress
0% Complete

If you are a Bottom Up Listener Or a Type 1 Listener (someone that needs to hear every word), then you can skip this activity. Instead you need to do this activity for Bottom Up Listeners here

 

 

Top Down Listening Activity

A ‘Top Down Listener‘ usually only hears common and well known words. This activity will help you listen in more detail. 

The goal (and challenge) is to try to understand EVERY word instead of guessing the meaning based on a few words you hear easily. 

If you have problems hearing something in the audio, listen to the specific section several times. Slow down the audio and use a transcription if you need to. 

 

Step 1: Listen and Read

  1. Listen to one minute or two minutes of audio.
  2. Your goal is to try to hear every word clearly while reading the transcript. 
  3. If you cannot hear the audio clearly, listen to the section again. 

 

Read the TEXT version of this lesson here

Amy: We actually had one situation that was really cool. And that was that we got to practice and learn how to do cumbia with one of the groups that was practicing for Carnival, for one of their performances.

Curtis: Yeah, they had a band that had a drummer and a, with a big huge drum too.

Amy: Like a bass drum.

Curtis: Yeah. And a guy that played the flute. And they invited us to try this choreography, I guess you could say.

Amy: Yeah, like it’s based around the traditional cumbia dance. But they have like a routine that they’re practicing for the parade. So anyway, yeah, they invited us in and they actually asked us if we wanted to participate in the Carnival parade.

Curtis: Yeah.

Amy: And we were really excited about that. And, you know, we went to a few practices and we were dancing in the house and trying to learn, because we only had a couple weeks.

Curtis: Yeah, we were really excited, what an opportunity, right? Like it was exciting. What an honor.

Amy: It was. Well, we’re talking about it like we didn’t do it, because we didn’t. So what happened?

Curtis: Well, we were invited to participate in one parade. And then they told us it was going to be five.

Amy: Yeah, all the parades. And we had already bought our ticket for the parades and we really, really wanted to see them. So this was something that was a really difficult decision for us. Because, I mean, we had literally been told that it was an honor to be invited to participate with this group. Like there had never been Canadians invited to participate with them. And we had to turn it down, because it just, it didn’t really jive with our plans and how we wanted to experience it. One parade would have been cool, but five parades was just like —

Curtis: A little bit too much.

Amy: That was a full commitment.

Curtis: Yes.

Amy: And we wanted to be spectators of the parade and enjoy the festivities and really have that experience as well. So anyway, we kind of blamed it on the hot climate. Because we’re from Canada, everyone’s like, oh, it’s cold in Canada, right. And I mean, it’s the truth. It was hot there and we probably would have died if we danced in the sun for four hours straight in the blazing hot sun.

Curtis: That’s true. Some of those parades were during the hottest part of the day too. Or were going to be during the hottest part.

Amy: Yeah, we would have, ugh. I don’t know. We wouldn’t have been up for the festivities that happen in the evening time.

Curtis: That’s true.

Step 2: Listen Without the Transcript

  1. Close your eyes and intensely listening to the audio.
  2. The moment that you realize you do not hear a word, stop the audio and listen again. 
  3. You may need to listen to a difficult piece of audio several times to clearly hear a word or phrase. 
  4. If you still can’t hear the word, check the transcription, then listen again. 
Read the TEXT version of this lesson here

Amy: We actually had one situation that was really cool. And that was that we got to practice and learn how to do cumbia with one of the groups that was practicing for Carnival, for one of their performances.

Curtis: Yeah, they had a band that had a drummer and a, with a big huge drum too.

Amy: Like a bass drum.

Curtis: Yeah. And a guy that played the flute. And they invited us to try this choreography, I guess you could say.

Amy: Yeah, like it’s based around the traditional cumbia dance. But they have like a routine that they’re practicing for the parade. So anyway, yeah, they invited us in and they actually asked us if we wanted to participate in the Carnival parade.

Curtis: Yeah.

Amy: And we were really excited about that. And, you know, we went to a few practices and we were dancing in the house and trying to learn, because we only had a couple weeks.

Curtis: Yeah, we were really excited, what an opportunity, right? Like it was exciting. What an honor.

Amy: It was. Well, we’re talking about it like we didn’t do it, because we didn’t. So what happened?

Curtis: Well, we were invited to participate in one parade. And then they told us it was going to be five.

Amy: Yeah, all the parades. And we had already bought our ticket for the parades and we really, really wanted to see them. So this was something that was a really difficult decision for us. Because, I mean, we had literally been told that it was an honor to be invited to participate with this group. Like there had never been Canadians invited to participate with them. And we had to turn it down, because it just, it didn’t really jive with our plans and how we wanted to experience it. One parade would have been cool, but five parades was just like —

Curtis: A little bit too much.

Amy: That was a full commitment.

Curtis: Yes.

Amy: And we wanted to be spectators of the parade and enjoy the festivities and really have that experience as well. So anyway, we kind of blamed it on the hot climate. Because we’re from Canada, everyone’s like, oh, it’s cold in Canada, right. And I mean, it’s the truth. It was hot there and we probably would have died if we danced in the sun for four hours straight in the blazing hot sun.

Curtis: That’s true. Some of those parades were during the hottest part of the day too. Or were going to be during the hottest part.

Amy: Yeah, we would have, ugh. I don’t know. We wouldn’t have been up for the festivities that happen in the evening time.

Curtis: That’s true.

Don’t feel frustrated if you have to listen to the audio 20, 30 or even 50 times! This does not mean you are stupid, it means that your ears like to filter the foreign sounds of English. You need to train your brain to hear the foreign sounds and make the connections to new words 🙂

 

Note: To improve your listening skills quickly, it is important to have access to the correct tools: transcriptions and lots of audio. If you found this tip helpful, we recommend practicing with more of our Real Conversations Lessons.

To get access to 12+ hours of natural conversations (with transcriptions) and the videos series about How to Improve Your Listening all you need to do is Upgrade Your Membership.

>