How Can I Understand Different English Accents?

by SrinivasaRao

I am unable to understand foreigners who are fluent in English. When they express feelings quickly I can't understand them. What do I have to do to change this? Any suggestions are welcome.

Hi SrinivasaRao,

When you meet someone who speaks English fluently you may have some problems understanding them. Most native speakers speak very quickly, use contractions, use expressions or slang...not to mention phrasal verbs.

Quick Tips:

1) Ask the person to slow down. This works!

2) Repeat what someone says in order to clarify and also get involved in the conversation.

3) Don't be too hard on yourself if you don't understand everything.

It sounds like you are having most of your trouble dealing with the speed at which others speak, and my only and best advice is to listen to more "real" English.

The more you expose yourself to real English the more your ear will adapt to it. You could start by listening to ESL podcasts but doing so might make your progression slower than you might like.

If you start to watch real English DVD's or listen to English radio (not made for ESL), you might not understand everything in the beginning but you will improve at a much faster rate (if you make the effort).

If you listen to an hour of English a day (7 days a week) that is a great start!

Try to get your mind and ear used to the sounds of English and you will be able to understand more and more.

My new course It's English Time! would be perfect for you. It combines the use of real English videos (that are funny and interesting) with vocabulary, expressions, phrasal verb explanations and exercises.

Click here to post comments

Return to recieve some English advice and help.

Still looking?  Search the site for exactly what you need using the site search box below.

Happy exploring!

Share this page:
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Discover these Amazing ESL Materials!

It's English Time! English Express! 5 Simple Steps to Better Writing! English Harmony 2.0! Pronunciation Power!
Effortless English! Best Accent Training! Ola Zur! English Grammar Revolution! English Success

Sign-up For The Learn English Newsletter

Your E-mail Address
Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Learn English Newsletter.