Today my student asked me the following question: what tips and tricks can I use to understand a conversation between two native English speakers?
Most of my students have the same issue when it comes to understanding English.
But the one thing I usually reiterate is that there are no shortcuts to greatness.
At the end of the day, it comes down to consistent practice and dedication.
In today’s post, I will share with you a few tips to help you understand native speakers better.
Expose yourself to natural English
This can be tricky when you live in a country where it is not the most commonly spoken language. So how then are you to expose yourself to a language that is not commonly spoken?
Expose yourself to English with YouTube videos
These are great because they are free resources that you can access at any time as long as you have a device and internet connection. And it really doesn’t even matter the topic. Whatever you are interested in is just fine.
Personally, I recommend videos where the language spoken is natural such as talk shows and vlogs.
Expose yourself to English with Podcasts
Similarly, to YouTube videos, listening to podcasts is a great way of exposing yourself to English in its natural form. While a lot of them are paid, there are many free podcasts that you can listen to.
Use apps like Anchor FM or Apple Podcasts to find loads of free podcasts. Additionally, you can find some podcasts on YouTube or various English blogs. BBC English has some really good ones. You can listen to them here:
Movies/Tv shows/Tv series
I love recommending movies, tv shows and tv series because they are fun and entertaining. With the added benefit of learning and improving your English.
Just be sure to expose yourself to a wide range of genres all at the same time exposing yourself to more genres that use natural English. Genres such as comedy, romance, documentaries and reality shows are great. The English used in these genres are usually very similar – if not the same – as that used in regular conversation.
Talk shows are great because the English spoken is usually pretty easy to understand. You get to listen to conversation being spoken in its natural form and you expose yourself to new vocabulary and different styles of conversation.
I like talk shows like London Real, simply because of the fact that the English spoken there is natural, simple to understand while still remaining challenging enough that your English skills don’t become stagnant.
And if you are interested in transforming yourself then you get yet another extra benefit.
Much like talk shows, the same can be said for the news. Of course, the key thing here is to listen to – or watch – the news in English. Otherwise, that defeats the whole point of this article. Ha-ha!
This means you’ll most likely end up listening to a lot of international news. So if world events are something you find interesting, then give it a shot.
Remember language aquisition doesn’t happen over night. It’s all about consistent practice. Be patient with yourself.
Drop me a comment if you found these tips useful and be sure to let me know what other questions you have. What do you struggle with? How can I help you?
Be sure to check out our other content for more useful tips to improve your English. Good luck