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30-Day Challenge

30-Day Challenge: Day #14 – Use Dictation to improve not only your Listening, but also your Reading, Writing, AND Speaking


Listening should be an engaging, methodic, and sustained activity.

Another good video today from Dr. Vakunta: the seven habits of Highly Effective Listeners:

  1. Combine active and passive listening
  2. Hybrid listening
  3. Paraphrase what you hear
  4. Skim listening
  5. Repetition cycle
  6. Shadowing
  7. Dictation

Details about each strategy

1: Combine active and passive (typical) listening
  • Active listening = listening with intensity. Concentrate on 1) the message and 2) the medium of communication. Listen with empathy – think like the speaker and take responsibility for the completeness of the message.
  • Passive listening = just hearing, only listening for the message.
2: Hybrid listening

Alternate between listening for:

  1. The main point or big picture
  2. Elements of information (E.E.I.s)
  3. E.E.I.s = 1) Who? 2) What? 3) Where? 4) When? 5) Why? 6) How?
3: Paraphrase what you hear

Paraphrasing/summarizing = make it a habit. This is an effective strategy for maintaining the gist of the aural message.

Make it a routine to predict what a speaker is about to say based on what you’ve heard. Fall back on context clues to help understand unfamiliar words.

4: Skim listening

This is critically important from the beginning in order to help weed out redundancies in information. Watch out for ambiguities and redundancies in the listening. Resist the temptation to stop listening when you hear unknown words.

5: Repetition cycle

Gain confidence in listening by enriching your vocabulary with the repetition cycle:

  1. Listen and read
  2. Listen and write
  3. Listen and speak
6: Shadowing

Make it a habit to “shadow” native speakers:

  1. Beginner shadowing
  2. Advanced shadowing

“Shadowing” basically means to listen to the audio and repeat back what you hear as quickly as possible. It is recommended to be walking swiftly during this process to maximize alertness and oxygen intake.

The two shadowing techniques (beginner and advanced) are covered in much greater detail in this article (but are out of the scope of today’s post).

7: Dictation

Dictation helps you master:

  1. Phonology (the study of speech sounds)
  2. Morphology (the internal structures of words and patterns of word formation)

Work closely with tutors for this as instant error correction is highly recommended for improvement. Dictation prepares students for active listening in real-life communication.


Today’s Challenge is about Dictation, so I will present the Challenge first, and then go back and give some more information about the why and the how of it:

#14: Choose an audio passage to listen to and write down what you hear, then read back over what you wrote to check for spelling or grammar errors. Finally, have a native speaker double-check it, then speak it aloud to them and let them correct your pronunciation.

Hashtags for today are:

#k2k3014 #dictation

And now for the why and how of it:

Why Dication?

Dictation is good for second language learning for a variety of reasons including the fact that you can use four language skills during dictation:

  1. Listen to the audio passage
  2. Write down what you hear
  3. Read back over what you wrote
  4. Speak aloud what you read

In addition to these four skills, there are many more less obvious skills are also exercised:

  1. Listening for gist
  2. Guessing unknown words using context clues
  3. Practice new vocab words in context
  4. Spelling (here’s an article on the subject)
  5. Syntax and Spacing
  6. Proof-reading

And when doing dictation and proofreading it, your brain is putting things together with two distinct focuses:

  1. Dictation: focus is on the form
  2. Proof-reading: focus is on the ideas
Dictation is especially good practice for upcoming tests as well

Recently, I’ve been writing down the 가 and 나 dialogues from old TOPIK audio tests and summarizing or paraphrasing the longer passages to the best of my ability – all in Korean. Here are a few things I’ve noticed:

  1. It increases the speed at which I can listen and comprehend.
  2. It increases my writing speed.
  3. It helps me to be able to catch subtleties in the audio passages that might trick me into choosing a wrong answer.
  4. It helps me focus on the main idea of the listening instead of getting caught up in a word I don’t know.
  5. It indirectly helps me memorize and recall phrases and grammar I’ve studied – because I now find myself writing down those patterns in real contexts.

How to do dictation

There are many ways to do dictation, but here are a few suggestions:

  1. If using audio, choose a clip that already has the script in a written format (important for checking your spelling and syntax).
  2. If you have a native speaker with you, you don’t necessarily need a script as the native speaker can help check things.)
  3. If dictating for accuracy, play the clip line-by-line and dictate it.
  4. If practicing for a test, play the clip at full speed, no pauses, and paraphrase or summarize as much as you can (note: most test clips are played twice).
  5. If focusing on writing, play the clip first, dictate it, then go back through and edit your writing. Finally, finish by speaking what you wrote.
  6. If focusing on speaking, play the clip and shadow speak it first. Then, write down what you just spoke and edit it.
  7. If focusing on reading, don’t use an audio clip. Rather, take turns with a partner reading the script aloud (with your best natural pronunciation and flow) while the other dictates it.
  8. If a beginner, choose something from an appropriate level textbook that includes the audio and script.
  9. If an advanced learner, feel free to do dictation using music, movies, or TV.

I hope those suggestions give you a lot of ways to practice dictation and make it fun and effective.

Resources (받아쓰기)

Here are some great resources for practicing Korean dictation (받아쓰기):

Update: Jan 30, 2019

Many of the previous links listed are not longer functioning. So here are some new ones and advice on how to find links of your own.

  1. Search for “받아쓰기” on Google, Naver, or the App or Play stores
  2. Here’s an Android app that looks promising
  3. Here’s a Kid’s website that might work
  4. Here’s online dictation, but you need to type in Korean to check yourself
Download previous TOPIK audio from:
  1. The government’s TOPIK site (in the top menu go to 정보 마당 -> 기출문제 다운로드)

TOPIK downloads

Here are some more articles about dictation:

What do you think of dictation? Have you ever practiced it? How useful do you find it?

Old Links

  1. Daum Kids 1st-3rd grade Dictation (30 levels each grade – 10 dictations each level). First grade begins with simple words like “우리” and progresses up to 3rd grade with full sentences. This is a superb resource for dictation practice!~
  2. 받아쓰기 Android app
  3. 즐거운 받아쓰기 Android app
  4. It seems like there are also dictation lessons online at (but that’s a paying membership site).
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