English is one of the most spoken languages in the world. India happens to be the second largest English-speaking country, where 10% of the India’s population understands and speaks the English language. The key to command this language lies in mastering its four chambers: L – Listening, S- Speaking, R- Reading and W- Writing.
Listening is the act of attentively hearing the words of a speaker, in order to record and interpret the information. The skill of listening pertains to our sense of hearing which is why it is also known as the aural skill of the English language. To listen is different from merely hearing. While hearing requires no actual concentration because there is no need to retain any information, listening involves actively receiving, understanding and analysing, and responding to an information.
Mastering the skill of listening means to understand spoken dialogues and conversation flawlessly without any need for repetition. It also means that you remember all the important points, which makes you more aware of yourself and your surroundings. Being a good listener makes you trust worthy, influential and easy to talk to.
Speaking is that skill of the English language where you talk. Speaking pertains to the verbal part of the language, which is why it is called an oral activity. Speaking can be in the form of a dialogue, I.e., a conversation, or even a monologue such as a speech or a toast. Seamless speaking requires one to be fluent in the usage of words. It also involves the proper use of grammar and pronunciation.
Talking without interruption with the sense of proper tone and intonation, without losing track of one’s thoughts and confidence, is the sign of a good speaker. A good speaker can gain their audience’s attention and deliver the correct message they want to, accurately.
Reading refers to the act of reciting some information that exists in the form of written text. It also belongs to the verbal part of communication in the English language. However, reading can be silent too. The skill of reading refers to the comprehension of a written text to oneself, by reciting the written speech to yourself either out loud, or in your mind.
The practice of reading increases your knowledge about various subjects and your vocabulary. You come across a lot of words that you did not know before, which therefore, you learn in the process of comprehension. A good reader can distinguish between important and extra details and grasp the theme of the text quickly. Voracious reading also sparks intellect and subject knowledge on various topics.
Writing is the art of composition. It is the skill that allows one to assemble ideas, thoughts, verbal speech etc., into the form of text. It is a non- verbal form of communication. Writing is one of the most important sources of information storage and production. Writing is still the most widely used method to spread news, ideas, history etc., and it is one of the most powerful tools to retain memory.
A good writer gives attention to every single detail by providing proof and reason for what is written, with clarity and diverse vocabulary.
All the above features of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing in the English language are equally important. In order to master the language, it is necessary to hone each of these skills which can be only attained by regular practice and practical application.