Listening plays a vital role in language acquisition. A ready proof
of this fact is that hearing-impaired children necessarily have
trouble developing normal speech. In the same vein, most problems
in second language learning, namely poor pronunciation and lack
of progress, fundamentally stems from learners' neglect of listening.
Even though few English learners knowingly choose not to listen,
most receive little to no training at all to improve their listening
Like plants being deprived of vital nutrients, English proficiency
cannot be expected to grow without the development of an acute sensitivity
toward the sounds of English. That explains the phenomenon of heavy
"local accents", and why most people find it almost impossible
to lose their heavy Cantonese accent when they speak English. Fortunately,
instead of hearing impairment, their "speech problem"
lies only in their poor "reception" and underdevelopment
of appropriate techniques.