Advanced Listening and Vocabulary Development

HomeSyllabus | Class Notes | EFS Home Page

EFS 693B

Notes: Week 1

I. Who was Nikola Tesla, and why was he important? Video 1. What did you learn? What do you have questions about?

II. Introductions: instructor, students, and course

III. Video 1 repeat: Watch again, focusing on picking up more details this time. Note the value of rewatching, just like rereading

IV. Video 2: Introduction to listening to informational videos (history, culture, science, technology...)

      Take notes and discuss:

V. Three types of dedicated listening practice (in addition to listening in everyday settings for learning and entertainment)

A. Practice in comprehending more effectively

Getting the basic meaning (preparing, using context, maintaining focus, dealing with lapses)

-  Retaining important points (note taking & short-term memory)

-  Interpreting and integrating (reflecting, judging, linking to existing knowledge and understanding)

B. Improving processing of language forms (sounds, words phrases, sentences) in conjunction with meaning

-  Comprehending faster speech

-  Comprehending a range of accents

-  Making processing more automatic: improving accuracy, speed, and capacity

C. Increasing language knowledge

-  Sound system (phonology): individual sounds, sound clusters and syllables, linking, reduction, rhythm, and intonation

-  Vocabulary (words and phrases), including recognizing pronunciation of known items

-  Grammar: recognizing the meaning in grammatical endings (like -ing), words (like prepositions and modal auxiliary verbs such as can), and structures (like passive or present perfect)

-  Discourse: typical organizational structures of lectures, newscasts, discussions, etc.; how speakers introduce and shift topics and comments

VI. Importance of vocabulary - How many words do you know? How many words do native English speakers know? What do you know when you know a word?

                        1. New general service list; New academic word list

                        2. Keep a list and review it:
                            a) note unknown words that 1) you've seen before, 2) that seem important: decide whether to take time to learn them (check frequencies)
                            b) get the word, its definition, and a sentence from the context you saw it in if possible
                            c) collect in groups of 10-20 and review regularly (till you know them)
                            d) try actively to notice these words in other contexts, and search online to find more examples

                        3. Target minimum vocabulary learning for this course: 35 words/phrases per week.

To find word frequencies, go to and paste in a transcript: this will help you determine which words to learn. The lower the frequency, the less likely you are to see the word again soon. In general focus on words at the 9000 level or below.

VII. Video 3:

VIII. Video 4: To challenge your ability to process quickly spoken English, try this:


1. Listen to again. Watch it once all the way through. Try to understand as much as you can. Notice the accents--do they cause problems for you? Then, listen to it again, and this time pause when you notice an unfamiliar word or phrase. Try to find as many new words or phrases as you can (at least 5). If you are unable to hear/spell the word clearly enough to look it up, write down the phrase or sentence it occurs in. Important: Bring your list to class next week: we'll discuss your results.

2. Review the General Service List at New general service list--it downloads as an Excel spreadsheet. Make a list of the words you don't know. Put this into an MS-Word or Excel readable document (not pdf). You should receive this assignment through Canvas--please upload your lists to me through that by 8:00 PM Monday, September 30 at the latest. Please put the lists in one document and title your document YourName-GSL; (e.g.PhilHubbard-GSL).

3. Watch again, this time without subtitles. Come prepared to discuss the difference between watching and listening with and without subtitles.

4. Start thinking about what listening challenges you have--this will help you decide what material to use for your upcoming independent projects.

Last modified: September 24, 2019, by Phil Hubbard