How to Understand Fast English Conversations

by | Dec 7, 2018 | English Listening Practice | 5 comments

English speakers speak fast,and if you are watching the movies, the news or TV shows in English, it can be a real struggle to understand exactly what they are saying.  When you are listening to English being used naturally, you will notice that people use a wide range of vocabulary, phrases, grammar and expressions you may not be familiar with, and also reductions, connected speech and sometimes they even mumble.  So how can you better understand fast English conversations?  To help you better understand fast English conversations, in this lesson we will be going through a small daily task you can start implementing in you study routine to improve your listening skills at home, with natural English conversations.

Watch the video lesson to learn how to understand fast English Conversations

Make sure to turn on subtitles by clicking the CC button if you are struggling to follow the lesson 🙂

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How to understand fast English conversations?

To help you better understand fast conversations in movies, you need to start with small daily exercises to train your brain to better process the English language.  A great small daily task you could be adding into your study routine is to be analyzing short conversations in English and completing dictation tasks to ensure that you are using the knowledge that you learned.  

All you need to do is find an audio between two native English speakers with a transcript, get your self a pen and paper and you are all set to complete this task.

When searching for an audio, make sure to chose and audio between two native English speakers.  The audio does not have to be long, I recommend about 3-5 minutes long, as anything longer is too much to do at once.

Steps to improving your ability to understand fast conversation in English:

Step 1 Listening  Listen to the fast conversation at natural speed: listen to a fast conversation in English for the first time, and do not slow down the conversation.  Pay attention to the vocabulary, use of vocabulary, expressions and phrases the speaker is using.  Do not worry if you do not understand everything they are saying.  This first listening is a way for you to familiarise yourself with the audio, and get used to listening to natural conversations. 

Step 2 Break down the conversation: Now listen to the recording again but pause the recording at 5-10 second intervals and ask yourself questions to get you thinking about the conversation.  Question yourself about the word choice they are using, their accent, intonation, pronunciation, do they use a dialect? are they speaking clearly, ask yourself questions to get you thinking about what you hear to enable you to better understand and u

Step 3 Write down everything you hear: Listen to the audio on more time, but this time press pause at 5-10 second intervals and write down everything you hear.  

Step 4: Compare with the transcript: compare what you wrote down to the transcript.  Did you miss any words, did you miss the whole sentence? compare what you wrote down to the transcript

Tips to help you better understand short conversations in English

Listen to natural English conversations on a regular basis:  try to apply these steps to natural conversations, so that 

Be positive:  it is important to stay positive when listening to English.  as you may not understand every, single phrase or you may miss a word in the beginning, but the more you practice and complete this exercise, you will see improvements in your ability to understand fast conversations. The key is to be making progress and working on your English skills in the long term.

Listen to different people: It’s important to expose yourself to different accents. How I pronounce words differs to that how those in America, the UK, New Zealand, and even other parts of Australia.  It is important to listen to different accents, as English is spoken in many different countries, and we all speak with different accents.  Do not use the same audio every time you do this exercise, though try to use different audios with different English speakers

Stay consistent: apply these steps every second day, and you will see that your ability to better understand the news and TV shows will improve over time.  The key to be applying this exercise is to be making consistent progress over time, to better understand conversations in English

Spend a maximum of 10 minutes on this exercise: Try to dedicate a maximum of 10 minutes to complete this exercise every second day.  Anything more is too much and you will be demotivated and bored in the long term.  Instead of focusing on listening for an hour every day, try to incorporate this exercise in your study routine every second day for the next 3 months.

Watch the whole video on my YouTube Channel or download the podcast episode to learn all the tips how to better understand fast English conversations.

Download the audio lesson below:

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