ネイティブと話したことがない私がTOEIC のリスニングのスコアで満点近い点数を取ることができた理由

リスニング力を高めるにはリスニングだけを リスニングだけを繰り返すのがいちばんなの?
The best way to improve your listening comprehension is to
practice listening only as many times as you can?

That’s not the best way. It is true that if you stick at it really hard, you will be fairly successful just by doing that

私の実例で言えば、20 歳のとき、ネイティブと英語で会話をした経験は完全にゼロでしたが、TOEIC のリスニングのスコアは 480 でした(満点は 495 です)。
If I take myself for example, at the age of twenty, my TOEIC score for the listening section was 480 (out of 495) in spite of the fact that I had never had a single conversation with any native speakers before.

Why, then, was I able to achieve a nearly perfect score? One reason is clearly because I had done a lot of listening practice.

中1の段階から発音記号を習い、発音の違いに気をつけてネイティブの英語を CD やラジオ放送を通してたくさん聞いていた、ということ、そして特に高校3年生の受験のときには、移動中にも好きな音楽を聞くのをがまんし、なるべく英語の CD を聞くようにしていました。
I learned phonetic symbols when I was a first-year junior high school student, and did a lot of listening practice through CDs and radio programs, paying attention to the differences between those symbols. Also, especially when I was a third-year high school student, I needed to get prepared for entrance exams, so I tried to listen to English CDs as often as possible even while I was out instead of listening to my favorite music.

On the other hand, I also practiced speaking English alone at home quite often, though I had never talked with anyone else in English (I didn’t have the courage to meet people and was trying to avoid it. I was especially afraid of foreign people because their looks are different. I thought I would never speak English in my life, and I’m not exaggerating when I say this).

中学校の教科書に対応した CD を買ってきては、新しく出てきた単語をネイティブの人が発音するコーナーなどは特に真剣に、何度も聞いて、実際どんなふうに言っているのか聞き、かつ、まねようとしていました。
Every time I bought a CD that is based on a junior high school textbook, I tried to listen to it many times to catch the sounds as they were made, and to imitate them, paying special attention to the sections that introduced new words.

In fact, that was a really important point. Just increasing the amount of listening
practice involves certain risks.

抽象的な物言いでわかりにくいかもしれませんがが、こういうことです 、こういうことです:
This may be a bit abstract and hard to grasp, but the reason is as follows:

“You may learn to listen to and comprehend English in a way that is secondary to
attaining true English proficiency”
→”You may become satisfied with that and get stuck there because you are delighted
with the fact that you can nonetheless get by somehow in English.”

What exactly do I mean by this? I’ll explain more specifically.

First, by saying “You may learn to listen to and comprehend English in a way that is not in the right course of English”, I mean that you may learn to be unnecessarily skilled at guessing the sounds you can’t recognize. You may fill in the parts you can’t catch, thinking “Based on the grammatical structure and the context, this word should be here and that word should mean this”.

私の 20 歳のときのレベルはまさしくそれです。l(エル)や r、v と b などがはっきり聞き分けられているという実感はありませんでしたし、カタカナに直すと「ア」になってしまう英語の音(match のa とmuchのu のような)の区別も、当然知ってはいましたがその音の違いに敏感に反応はしていませんでした。
That was completely true of me when I was 20 years old. I couldn’t clearly recognize the differences between such sounds as l and r, and v and b. I knew that there were differences between “a-ish” sounds (such as “a” of “match” and “u” of “much”), but my ears were not sensitive to the differences.

In spite of that, I could listen and comprehend very well because even if I couldn’t clearly recognize the differences, I could guess from the context and the parts of speech, and so I rarely mixed up similar words.

match とmuch にしても、意味がそもそも大きく違いますし、それにmatch は名詞か動詞の可能性しかない一方、much は名詞・形容詞・副詞の可能性しかなく、品詞として重なる可能性があるのは名詞のときだけですが、そのときですらも、どちらなのかは話の筋・意味からして推測が可能です。
“match” and “much” are totally different in meaning in the first place. And “match” can be a noun or a verb, whereas “much” can be a noun, an adjective or an adverb, which means they can be the same part of speech only when they are both nouns. But even in that case, it is possible to guess which is which from the context and the meaning.

play と pray のような、両方とも基本的に動詞として頻繁に使われるような単語の場合は、match と much の区
In the case of words both of which are basically used as verbs, such as play and pray, it’s more difficult to differentiate them. But they are totally different in meaning at least, so it’s possible to do that based on the context.

私の場合、play か pray を思わせる音が聞こえたときには、基本的に play だと思ってまずは聞いておく習慣が出来上がっていました。
In my case, when I couldn’t decide whether it was “play” or “pray”, I basically took it as “play”.

それで話を理解する際に「なんか変だ」と思ったときには、pray の方か、と修正する、といった感じです。
If that made me think that something was wrong, I modified my interpretation and decided that it was “pray”.

このように、音自体がわかる、という次元とは違う次元で勝負をしていたわけです。TOEIC で 900 超えるというレベルの目的を達成するなら、このレベルの英語聞き取り力であっても何とかなるといえます。
Thus, I was dealing with English on a level different from the level of those who can catch the sounds as they are. If your goal is to achieve more than 900 in TOEIC, you can manage to accomplish it even with these kind of listening skills.

But, as you’d probably agree, this is not “true English proficiency”.

In order to feel truly familiar with English, as if it were part of your body (then you can enjoy it any time), its sounds and rhythm have to be absorbed completely so that they run in your bloodstream.

20 歳のときの私がやっていたように、実際は音が本当は区別できていないのだけど、文脈や品詞を手がかりに判別していました。しかしネイティブと長時間いるのは疲れました。
As I did when I was 20, I actually didn’t distinguish sounds but judged by context or speech, but it was stressful to be with native speakers.

Let me be more specific. I’d like you to imagine how automatically you can catch at least the sounds of Japanese words as long as your ears are open, even if you don’t try to do so carefully.

But when it comes to English, you have to try very carefully just to catch the sounds.

On top of that, there’s the task of interpreting the meaning of the words you can catch.

In total, this is a considerable amount of extra work, compared to when you listen to Japanese.
It is no wonder that you find it difficult.

Of all the extra work, the process of interpreting words and sentences is unavoidable too a large extent

When you encounter high-level or unfamiliar words, you may inevitably take a longer time to understand them or may fail to understand them at all.

There are thousands of words to cope with and one word often has several meanings, so it takes a considerable amount of time to learn to be able to succeed in the interpretation process most of the time.

In that respect, the ability to guess from the context is also necessary. That’s what you do in Japanese too.

The same goes for reading.

On the other hand, there are not thousands of sounds in English, so it is far easier to overcome them.

Thus, considering that the interpretation process requires hard work even if you can properly catch every sound, it is a good idea to give priority to the study of sounds as you can overcome them to a great extent in a short time by working intensively.

それだからこそ、 ただ聞く量を増やす、ということではなく、自分自身で英語の音を正確に作るということ、そしてその作業を通して、日本人には似たように聞こえがちな音の区別をしっかりと意識して聞く態度をまずはつけるべきです。
For these reasons, the first thing to do is not to just continue listening, but to listen
attentively to the differences between those sounds that sound similar to you, through
the process of practicing making English sounds yourself.

To attain real proficiency, it is better to become “conscious” of all the little things required.

Then try to attain the best possible precision so that you won’t waver under any circumstances.

The way to real proficiency is to repeat thoroughly until all the details you became conscious of are done with precision automatically, that is, “unconsciously”.

I’m sorry if I sound too strict.

As going forward from zero to one requires the most effort whatever you do, try to go through that while you are highly motivated.