Listening is known to be a complex process and as such can be defined in numerous ways, depending on the salience of a particular aspect of the process to the “definer”. Here are some examples of definitions given by experts in various disciplines.
|Architecture||An innovative and generative practice, a strategy of engagement that we employ deliberately to explore a different landscape other than the one framed by vision’|
|Audiology||An active process, requiring us first to pay attention to, then process selected auditory stimuli, while ignoring other auditory information.|
|Interpersonal Communication||A behavior enacted by an individual in the service of communicating and interacting with others.|
|Language Learning||The primary modality that enables speech perception as the basis for language learning.|
|Linguistics||How people understand spoken language, conceptualized as a complex process that involves both bottom-up (literal) and top-down (inferential) processes|
|Management and Leadership||A relational construct that involves understanding the expressed idea and attitude from another person’s point of view|
|Media Studies||A means of engagement with media and the ways in which we can engage with each other through media|
|Musicology||Analytical mode of information processing performed by listener, how we hear organized sound intensities, pitches, timbres, and durations.|
|Philosophy||A cognitive activity that serves the epistemic goal of advancing knowledge that does not require interaction with other agents.|
|Psychology||The intentional selection organization and integration of verbal and nonverbal information provided in oral and/ or audio communication|
|Sound Studies||The primary way that humans experience sound.|
MR: Constructing meaning through conscious attention to a source.
• Which of these definitions most appeal to you? Why?
• Which surprised you (that is, you’ve never considered the way it is defined)? Why?
• How would you define listening in relation to your own profession — language teaching?