Understand Spoken English Better

Recently, I received an email from someone who had a query about understanding spoken English. I am always very grateful for your email questions. This helps me understand what difficulties you have and how to solve them. In this email, my customer shared something interesting with me. He had studied and spoken English for many years.

His problem was not that English speakers couldn’t understand him. HIS PROBLEM was he couldn’t understand native English speakers when they spoke to him.

This can be embarrassing and can make social and work situations difficult.

He asked if I had any tips to help him understand spoken English, and if my accent training program would help him with this problem. I recommended the following:-

To understand spoken English, attune your ear.

To attune your ear, use a dialog that you can listen to over and over again.

YOU HAVE TO — USE HEADPHONES. Why? Because the sound waves vibrate directly into the ear and open up the new neurological pathways.

In the beginning listen to audio material with accompanying text.

First you listen without the text. If there is something you don’t understood, check the text. Then cover up the text again and listen to that same section again. This time it will be much easier to understand spoken English. You are attuning your ear!

To understand spoken English I suggest using-

  • My accent training courses 
  • My British Conversations program. It features people from Britain talk about different topics at normal speed.
  • Watch movies with subtitles (American, Australian, British etc). Make sure you can switch the subtitles on or off. Watch without subtitles and if you don’t understand look at the subtitle. Then switch them off again, listen to the same section once more and keep going.
  • Podcasts with accompanying text.

One client I worked with, Kazuhero from Japan, used American situation comedy shows such as Seinfeld. He listened over and over until he began to speak more clearly, and understand spoken English better.

I explained that all he had to do was this: listen to English speakers through headphones for half an hour every day for a month. If you do this your new ability to understand spoken English will amaze you!


Best wishes,


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