What is chunking and how can it improve your fluency? If you improve your listening skills, you’re automatically going to improve your fluency. Why? Because, if you can hear something, you’re more likely to be able to replicate it in your speaking.
What Is Chunking?
If you’ve taken language lessons elswhere, your teacher probably gave you a long list of words at some point during your studies. Learning individual words is time consuming, it’s frustrating, and it’s not usually effective. Instead, learning multiple words together, groups of words, a chunk of words, is what we want to talk about today.
What is chunking? One good example is this common phrase: “How is it going?” ( –> “How’s it going?” is how you’d say it like a native!) If you learn each of these words by themselves, you’ll be kind of lost and not know how to use them within a sentence. If you learn words that go together, and memorize them as a group, you’ll find it is so much easier to remember them! This practice of grouping words together is called chunking.
Another example would be the answer to the question above. When someone asks “How’s it going?,” you will usually answer “Great, thanks!” The response is just two words, but it can be considered chunking because it is said so often together.
Who Should Use Chunking?
Beginner learners are more likely to learn individual words because they’re just starting the learning process. Intermediate learners will benefit greatly from putting the one-word-at-a-time method and use chunking instead.
Advanced learners will learn how to create their own chunks in longer sentences. These are called thought chunks.
How To Identify Chunking, Produce It, and Hear It
Listen for the chunking of words, for the pauses in between chunking, and don’t focus simply on individual words. However, being able to recognize the most important words (also known as the stressed words) in a sentence is super important! This is going to improve your listening skills, and therefore trickle over to your speaking skills, because you will learn to speak in a way that’s more intelligible, or more understandable, to other native speakers. You will speak more clearly and also sound more interesting!
Check out Gabby’s awesome lesson below on how to properly identify thought chunking, and how to produce stress words, to improve your fluency!