Discriminative listening

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The current blogspot will be based on the question “what is discriminative listening?”. We will discuss various examples of discriminative listening. We will also learn the advantages of discriminative listening.

What is discriminative listening?

Discriminative listening is a type of listening that is developed at the earliest time of human life. It is believed that discriminative listening is developed in the mother’s womb and humans learn discriminative listening as infants. 

Discriminative listening is defined as listening that is based on differentiation of sounds. In discriminative listening a person tries to comprehend the intricacies of the sounds and the words that they listen. 

In discriminative listening the focus is on the  interlocutor’s voice and the specific sounds and vibrations that are being communicated through the message. In discriminative listening the person tries to understand the intricacies of the words of the message as they try to listen.

Through discriminative listening individuals are able to make meaning of the emotions behind the message they listen. Discriminative listening is the foundation of all other forms of listening.

What are the various features of discriminative listening?

The key features of discriminative listening are:

  • Discriminative listening is a subjective process
  • Discriminative listening is dependent on the social, cultural and linguistic characteristics.
  • Discriminative listening requires the person to be a keen observer with an open mind to observe and gather information regarding the non verbal cues and minor inflictions
  • Discriminative listening highlights the various layers of listening and speaking. It elaborates that just knowing a language is not enough for making meaning out of the speech rather understanding the non verbal cues involved and the minor inflictions is also necessary.
  • Discriminative listening is best explained through the phenomena of prosody. Prosody is the emphasis of linguistics to understand the conveyed message through the various inflection in the speech.
  • Discriminative listening involves making meaning out of the tone and body language.

What is the use of discriminative listening? 

From childhood to adulthood and beyond, discriminative listening skills are of immense importance in all spheres of life. Our ability to learn to differentiate between the sounds is improved with time . Through discriminative listening, we are able to mark out subtle differences in the production of sound. This on the other hand helps us to understand the sounds better with their characteristics that make them different from each other.

The discriminative listening is used to understand the differences in subtleties, recognising languages other than the native languages, differentiating between the regional accents and clues to the emotions of the speaker.

Discriminative listening forms the basis of other forms of listening. Discriminative listening aids comprehension and adds value to what is being said. The individuals involved in the communication process are able to communicate effectively on the basis of discriminative listening.

We are able to understand the body language,mannerisms, non verbal cues and gestures in a more accurate and reliable way through discriminative listening.

What is the importance of discriminative listening?

The importance of the discriminative learning is discussed below:

  • Through discriminative listening we are able to differentiate the voices and speech on the basis of gender
  • Through discriminative listening, we can differentiate the accents and pick up the number of people involved in a conversation.
  • Through discriminative listening, babies are able to differentiate between the sounds of their mother and father since the earliest form of listening that develops in infants is discriminative listening.
  • Through discriminative listening an individual is able to make sense of the tone of the speaker and the emotions of the speaker while conveying the message.

What are the examples of discriminative listening?

Following are the examples of discriminative listening:

  • You are able to differentiate the tone of your friend’s voice on the phone from his regular tone to mark out that he is sad or feeling low.
  • You are able to make sense of the seriousness of an individual in a conversation through his non verbal cues and tone of the speech. If an individual is just not responding to you or listening to you with the same energy as yours, you are able to make sense that he is least bothered.
  • Through discriminative listening you are able to make sense that your boss is not in a much receptive mood today
  • Using discriminative listening, you can make sense of the gender of the voice behind the announcement for the doctor’s call.
  • Through discriminative learning you can identify your friends and relatives on the other side of the phone call without them telling their names.
  • A person working in a forigen country is able to make sense of the emotions of the office mates through their nonverbal body language and their tone of voice.


The current blogspot was based on the question “what is discriminative learning?”. We focused on the various aspects of discriminative learning. We also discussed the importance of discriminative listening and the examples of discriminative listening in our routine lives.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs): What is discriminative listening?

What is discrimination listening?

Discriminative listening is when the listener interprets and assigns meaning to sound rather than to words. In discriminative listening, the listener interprets the differences and nuances of sounds and body language. The listener is sensitive to attributes including rate, volume, pitch and emphasis in speaking.

Why is discriminative listening important?

Discriminative listening is very important because it communicates the message behind the words. Basically, discriminative listening helps us to capture emotions from the other person’s voice. Discriminative listening is the foundation of all other forms of listening

What are examples of comprehensive listening?

 Examples of comprehensive listening examples include :

  •  watching the news
  •  listening to a peer give a presentation
  •  taking notes during a meeting


What are the 5 types of listening?

The 5 types of listening are as follows:

  • Appreciative Listening. When you listen for appreciation you are listening for enjoyment
  • Empathic Listening
  • Comprehensive Listening
  • Critical Listening



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