Слышать vs. Слушать - which one to choose?

Part I: the main difference between Слышать and Слушать
Part II: some extra meanings to expand your vocabulary

Part I: the main difference between Слышать & Слушать
Слышать - воспринимать слухом (звуки) // to be aware of sounds with the ears, equal to the verb "hear" in English
Examples:
Я слышу пение птиц (звуки достигают моего слуха) // I hear the birds singing (the sounds reach my ears)
Я слышу голоса и не могу заснуть (голоса достигают моего слуха) // I hear the voices and can’t fall asleep (the voices reach my ears)
Он не может слышать, он глухой (звуки не достигают его слуха) // He can’t hear, he’s deaf (the sounds don’t reach his ears)
Слушать - направлять слух на звуки (с целью получить более или менее значимую информацию) // to pay attention to what we hear with an effort and purpose to get the information, equal to the verb "listen to" in English
Examples:⠀
Я слушаю музыку (в музыке есть что-то значимое, приятное) // I listen to music (music brings me something valuable and pleasant)
Я слушаю много подкастов на русском языке (в подкастах есть полезная информация) // I listen to many podcasts in Russian (podcasts contain useful information)
Он не может долго слушать, он неусидчивый (он не может воспринимать какую-то информацию долго) // He can’t listening for a long time, he’s impatient with it (he is not able to perceive information for a long period of time)
*Look at the sentence:
Он слушает, но не слышит.
Here “слышать” has another meaning: feel, perceive, pay attention, notice, understand (чувствовать, замечать, ощущать, воспринимать), so the sentence means:
He’s hearing (what I say), but doesn’t understand me.
More examples:
Я не слышу искренности в его словах // I can’t feel any sincerity in his words
Власти не слышат народ // The authorities don’t pay attention to people’s opinion
*Слышать in perfect aspect is услышать (to understand)
Услышь меня, пожалуйста! // Please, try to understand me!
Compare to:
Послушай меня, пожалуйста! // Listen to me, please
Returning to the first definition of “cлышать” we can expand it:
Слышать - воспринимать слухом (звуки), чтобы услышать
Слышать - to be aware of sounds with the ears to understand something

Part II: some extra meanings to expand your vocabulary:

Look at some other meanings of verbs Слушать and Слышать:

(1) Слушать - изучать что-либо, посещая лекции // to study something attending lectures
Он слушает курс философии в университете // He attends the course of philosophy at the university

(2) Слушать - следовать чьим-то рекомендациям, положительно воспринимать информацию от кого-либо // positively perceive the information from someone so that follow their advice
Он всегда слушает родителей // He always listen to his parents
Слушай своё сердце // Listen to your heart

(2.2) Слушаться (with reflexive suffix -ся) - подчиняться
Ребёнок не слушается // A child disobeys

(3) Слушать дело - рассматривать дело в суде // to listen to and judge a case in court⠀
Московский суд повторно слушает дело этой молодой женщины // Moscow court hears a case of this young woman for a second time

(1) Слышать - чувствовать музыку, разбираться в ней // to have an ear for music
Она не слышит музыку, ей будет труднее освоить скрипку // She doesn’t have an ear of music, it will be harder for her to master violin playing

(2) Слышать - обладать сведениями // to be told about something
Я слышала, она уже приехала в город //I heard, she had arrived in the city already
March 29, 2019
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Hi, I’m Alevtina. I’m a native Russian teacher. I’ve completed my Bachelor degree in the Chinese studies, my main sphere of interest at the university was China, that I investigated through the Chinese and English language, what was an amazing experience! According to your preferences I can teach you in Russian, English and Chinese. I worked as a translator and interpreter, tour-guide and model, since spring 2018 I'm focused on teaching Russian language to foreigners, because my real passion is linguistics itself and the process of languages acquisition. As your teacher I organise the lessons in the way to improve your communication in Russian. We practice speaking from the first lesson. I do make focus on pronunciation. We polish it if you continue learning Russian or I’ll teach you Russian sounds, stress and intonation from the scratch if you are a beginner. I’m also a big fan of Russian grammar. It is not easy, that’s true. But we can master it in a way to make it our helping ha...
Flag
Russian
globe
Russia
time
196
Speaks:
Russian
Native
,
English
C1
,
Mandarin
B2
,
Portuguese
A1
,
Japanese
A1
,
French
Hi, I’m Alevtina. I’m a native Russian teacher. I’ve completed my Bachelor degree in the Chinese studies, my main sphere of interest at the university was China, that I investigated through the Chinese and English language, what was an amazing experience! According to your preferences I can teach you in Russian, English and Chinese. I worked as a translator and interpreter, tour-guide and model, since spring 2018 I'm focused on teaching Russian language to foreigners, because my real passion is linguistics itself and the process of languages acquisition. As your teacher I organise the lessons in the way to improve your communication in Russian. We practice speaking from the first lesson. I do make focus on pronunciation. We polish it if you continue learning Russian or I’ll teach you Russian sounds, stress and intonation from the scratch if you are a beginner. I’m also a big fan of Russian grammar. It is not easy, that’s true. But we can master it in a way to make it our helping ha...
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