Listening Skills | Why You Don’t Understand Movies, TV Shows, & Native English Speakers

Listening Skills | Why You Don’t Understand Movies, TV Shows, & Native English Speakers


hey guys what’s up Stefanie the English
coach here from EnglishFullTime.com in this video we are going to talk about
how to improve your listening skills in English and the reason I’m making this
video is because this is one of the most frequently asked questions that I get
you guys say Stefanie I don’t understand what’s going on I understand
you perfectly but then when I watch TV shows and
movies in English I have to turn on subtitles because I feel like I don’t
understand anything okay so we’re going to talk about this and how you can
improve your listening skills and what some of the reasons might be that you’re
not understanding other people in English but you understand me perfectly
fine okay so to begin one of the reasons why you understand me so well is because
I speak well I have very good speaking habits because as I was growing up I
competed in speech competitions poetry competitions I did public speaking I
did acting classes I sang in choirs I sang in jazz groups okay there are so
many things that I did growing up that really focused on helping me improve my
voice and have a strong voice and the voice that I have and also as I’ve
become an adult I’ve really focused on my voice because your voice is something
that everyone has to listen to not just you okay have you ever made a video and
you’re like oh I hate my voice well think about it if you hate your voice
what do other people think about your voice because everyone has to listen to
your voice right so I didn’t want to hate my voice I focused on improving my
voice and I really just started listening to my speech my patterns my
speaking habits the tone of my voice okay the sound the volume everything and
I started paying attention to it anytime you start paying attention to something
and you’re actively trying to improve it and thinking why don’t I like this what
can I do to improve it you’re gonna start noticing things like if you listen
to my voice and you ask yourself okay why do I like Stefanie’s voice you’re
gonna be able to identify specific things about my voice that you like
maybe it’s the fact that I go up and I go
when I speak or something like that and then you’re gonna be able to incorporate
that okay you you don’t need a teacher or somebody to show you how to do all of
these things you can just identify what it is and then start imitating the way
that I speak or the way anybody speaks whoever speaks in a way that you like
maybe it’s a famous actor or someone on TV you can analyze their voice what do
you like about it what do you not like about it and then you can start to
imitate them so going back to the good speaking habits I was telling you guys
about one of the things that I do is I enunciate and I’m very expressive so I
speak not just with my vocal cords and my tongue and my mouth but I speak with
my eyes I speak with my facial expressions I speak in a way that
communicates to you and helps make me more understandable also the way that I
pause when I speak or the words that I emphasize when I speak all of that helps
you focus on what I’m saying and be able to listen to me for a long time
and like I said I enunciate I don’t mumble
I have good pronunciation habits again these are just things that I learned how
to do growing up because of the experiences that I had I never had a
teacher that really you know taught me how to do all of this it just was
something that I sort of had to do because of the activities that I was
involved in and I also taught in classrooms for several years and I don’t
know if you have experienced you know presenting in front of huge groups of
people but if you’re not entertaining or if you don’t speak in a certain way
people will not pay attention to you and so I have had to learn basically because
of survival that if I want people to pay attention to my message I have to
deliver it in a way that’s gonna hold their attention right so just life
experience has taught me how to present in certain ways and this is why I
present the way that I do and not everybody’s gonna like it and that’s
totally okay but a lot of you have commented on my videos saying wow wow
wow we understand you what’s going on okay so that’s one of the reasons now
the other reason you might understand me more than you know TV shows and series
and stuff that is because maybe you’re more
familiar with my accent I grew up in California so I speak like the way
people speak in California and this means that if you watch TV shows that
are based in the US a lot of times these shows have my same accent the people in
there speak the way that I speak so you’re just very familiar with my
dialect of English okay with my way of speaking now if you watch I don’t know
the news in Ireland or in the UK or in Australia maybe you’re not as familiar
with those accents because you have not consumed as much material from those
regions okay with their specific English dialect and way of speaking another
reason that you might understand me a lot more than other people is because
when I make youtube videos or videos in general I am presenting so it’s not that
I’m trying to slow down I’m not slowing down as you guys can see I’m speaking
rather quickly right now actually right now I’m speaking more quickly than I
would in a natural conversation in a natural conversation you guys I take my
time I’m pretty slow I relax but when I’m presenting all of a sudden I don’t
know what happens something inside of me just wants to go faster and that might
be you know me just wanting to keep everyone’s attention but as I go faster
I’m also taking special care to make sure I’m pronouncing words well so you
guys can understand me even though I’m speaking faster and I
notice it because when I present in front of a large group for an hour or an
hour and a half oh my gosh my voice is so sore and that’s when I realize wow
that I’m really putting a huge effort into the way that I’m speaking so that I
can be understood in natural conversation I go slower I don’t support
my voice as well so when we say support we’re talking about the volume of the
voice okay I’m really using my diaphragm and my muscles in my diaphragm to
project my voice and even though I’m the only person in this room right now I’m
speaking in such a way where if someone was you know 50 feet away they would
probably still be able to hear me that’s supporting your voice and projecting
that’s what I do it when I make these videos because
I am presenting and it’s just this state of being and it’s just the way that I
present it’s how I do it so that’s another reason why you probably
understand me so well now when you’re watching TV shows you’re not watching
people present you’re watching people act so people are acting but they’re
pretending to be in their natural normal environment they’re not projecting
they’re not pronouncing words in a way so that anybody could understand them
they’re just talking okay this is also why I’ve been making a series on my
youtube channel about fast speech to help you guys get more familiar with
these ways of speaking with how native speakers combine words in English so
that you can start understanding us more so yeah in these TV shows people are
using slang they’re using idioms maybe they are mumbling they’re speaking in
ways that you don’t necessarily understand and you will learn to
understand people in these shows I promise you will but it really takes
time you have to consume hours and hours and hours and hours of TV shows over a
long period of time okay this does not happen in six months it could take a
year it could take two years of consuming material like that on a daily
basis for you to really start understanding everything that you hear
and then there are always gonna be things that go over your head okay when
we say go over your head that means there’s always gonna be
things that you don’t understand and I’m sure this happens in your native
language too maybe there’s a joke that goes over your head and so if it happens
in your native language it’s also going to happen in English and the better you
get the more you’re going to be able to understand and the more you expose
yourself to English the more you’re gonna be able to understand so now I’m
going to share some stories with you to put all of this into perspective I
studied Spanish in Argentina for six months then I ended up living in
Argentina for several years right but in high school and college I studied
Spanish and it was my dream to study Spanish abroad so I went to Argentina
for six months and then I went back to the USA and when I went back I was like
oh my gosh this is so exciting studied Spanish in Argentina my Spanish
is probably so good you know because I had that experience of being immersed in
the culture and and in the language for six months so I go back to the USA and I
went to this outdoor market with a friend and my friend was Mexican and
there were lots of different booths with people selling different items okay and
I come to this booth and I noticed there was a Hispanic man selling items and I
was like oh perfect this is the perfect opportunity for me to show off you know
my great Spanish and how good I’ve gotten etc so I asked about a product in
Spanish – this Hispanic man and I said hi wow look at this product it’s
beautiful whatever you know how much does it cost and you know what he said
he was like and I was like okay thanks bye I did not understand anything that
he said and I was just like oh my gosh like this is ridiculous I studied
Spanish in Argentina for six months why don’t I understand and then that’s when
I really learned hey just because you studied in a country does not mean
you’re gonna now understand every single native speaker okay it does not work
like that because there are different types of English you guys there are
different types of Spanish and then each individual person has a specific way of
speaking you know younger people use more slang older people use words that
you know younger people never use so there’s so many different types of ways
of speaking and this is why it can get so frustrating for you guys as learners
so my tip here is for you to be patient with yourself and for you to be patient
with your learning experience because again just because you study a language
for years or just because you’re super familiar with the American accent or
just because you studied English in the USA does not mean that now you’re gonna
understand every single native speaker all the time right there are some
specific comedians in Spanish that I really like and I watch their shows and
every single time I watch their shows I’m like oh my gosh I’ve seen this show
five times but this is the first time I understand that joke or the first time I
get that joke or the first time I hear that word you can listen to the same
thing multiple times and pick up something new every
single time because you’re getting more and more and more familiar with the
language as you go now the next thing I want to tell you guys about is how my
sister-in-law Ren’s younger sister okay my husband’s younger sister how she
really improved her English when we first met she understood some English
but she really didn’t speak it and then she just watched so much TV in English
and she listened to so much music in English that now we can talk in English
and have an entire conversation and she understands everything it’s phenomenal
and I’m just like wow you’ve had such an incredible transformation and I know
exactly how she did it because I would see her almost every single day and
every single day she’d be watching TV in English listening to music in English
and then she would look up the lyrics read the lyrics learn the lyrics and
sing the songs she was extremely involved over a four-year plus period
with English to the point where now she speaks it and she doesn’t feel nervous
when she speaks is she doesn’t lack confidence or anything her pronunciation
is not perfect sometimes she messes up her grammar is not perfect sometimes she
messes up but still that is how she was able to really learn English and improve
her listening skills again constant exposure day after day year after year
now with that I want to end by sharing another story okay this is the story
about a guy I did a private coaching call with back when I did private calls I do not offer private sessions anymore but basically during this call
he was like Stefanie I’m so frustrated with my listening skills what you know
what do I have to do to improve and I was giving him all this advice like the
best possible advice I could give and then he would repeat himself and
he’d say Stefanie I’m really struggling with my listening skills you know what
do I have to do to improve and so I’d give him more advice and I’d tell him
more stories and I’d explain in detail exactly what he had to do and then he’d
say Stefanie I’m really struggling with my listening skills I really just want
to know what I have to do and at that point I was like oh my gosh yeah you
really do struggle with your listening skills because I’ve explained this to
you a million different ways and I give you the answer I have the answer and
I’ve given it to you and you’re still asking the same question I like my mind
was blown I was like is this what what is wrong with this guy right now
because he was understanding what I was saying you know he really wasn’t having
trouble understanding me but he just kept asking the same question because he
did not like my answer that’s literally it
he did not like my answer he did not like what I was telling him he was
looking for a magic solution and there is no freaking magic solution I am so
sorry to say it but it needs to be said there’s no magic solution people are
always looking for a quick fix to do this or to do that think about the
things you have mastered how long has that taken you okay if you’re a doctor
or whatever your profession is or whatever you’re good at if you’re really
good at chess or soccer I don’t care what it is
what are you really good at right think about how long it has taken you to
master that skill and to get to that really high level now English is no
different listening skills speaking skills are no different if you really
want to master something you have to go to a really deep level with that subject
day after day year after year that is literally what it takes and again there
is no magic solution and when I talked to this guy I asked him you know after
he kept asking me the same questions over and over again I was like okay wait
stop let me identify what you have actually tried because when somebody is
struggling with something you really have to figure out why they’re
struggling with it like what went on what what have they tried what has
worked what hasn’t worked so I asked him and I said okay how long have you been
studying English for and I think his answer was like three years or two years
or something like that and he had been living in the USA for one year and this
was his big struggle he’s like I’m living in the USA and I’m struggling to
understand native speakers so after asking him all of these questions I
discovered that he had been studying English for about three years he had
been living in the USA for about one year but before going to the USA he was
not very involved with English he was studying using
textbooks and he was not exposing himself to the language he did not watch
TV shows in English he did not listen to music in English and then all of a
sudden he came to the USA and he was struggling with his listening skills and
understanding native speakers and he was like hey you know now I am listening to
music every day now I am watching TV shows every day you know but I’m still
struggling with it and once I realized the timeline that we were dealing with I
was like okay at this point you’re doing everything you possibly can to improve
your listening skills you’re controlling what you can control but there is
something that’s out of your control that you can’t control and that’s time
that’s literally the amount of time it takes your brain to absorb a language
and to process it and to make it become a part of you you have to assimilate the
language okay so when he was studying in English in his country he was not very
involved with the language then he went to the USA completely immersed studying
24/7 and at that point he had only been in the USA for one year
so that’s just not enough time if he kept doing that year after a year maybe
in about two years he’d feel really confident with his English and three
four or five years definitely he would feel confident with that level of study
and immersion so anyhow I really hope that this video answers your guys’s
questions about why you understand me and why you don’t understand other
people I and hopefully you guys are satisfied with these answers because
this is the answer if you’re here looking for a magic solution or
something like you have to listen to English while you sleep for 30 minutes
every day and then I don’t know drink some special brain juice and this and
this and that I don’t know there are no magic solution so if that’s what you
were here looking for I’m sorry to disappoint you but if not hopefully you
find comfort in the fact that as long as you are exposing yourself to the
language day after day year after year you’re going to get to that level where
you understand okay and not just me but also where you understand TV shows all
right so that’s it thank you so much for watching I just want to let you guys
know that you should check out the description because I always include
links there to other thing that you might be interested in and if
you like these videos and if you want more videos and more training from me I
want to let you guys know that I run a private online video platform this is
not free but it is very affordable and in this platform I put lots of training
every single week to help you guys with your English there’s lots of videos
there already lots of courses and basically you can access everything ok
it’s just one monthly payment and you can get a lot more support there with
your English so if you like watching my videos on YouTube and you want more feel
free to join us in the private platform because there’s also a forum section
integrated so you can get to meet the other students a lot of times I give
little assignments after each video so you can participate as well and it’s
just a completely different learning experience
than on YouTube but it’s also very similar to YouTube so again if you like
what you’re doing here and you want to keep improving your grammar your
pronunciation your writing your fluency your speaking your confidence everything
I want to invite you to join us over there on the private platform alright
that’s it you guys I hope you enjoyed this video I hope you learned something
please let me know what you learned in the comments and if you are one of my
more advanced subscribers okay and if you understand TV shows and if you
understand music in English and native speakers who speak with different
dialects please tell everybody in the comments how you achieved that because I
swear everybody’s looking for the magic solution I’m convinced that there is no
magic solution there’s just different ways to improve your listening skills
you have to do what you enjoy right but please share what worked for you in the
comments because people are going to be able to learn from you to learn from
your suggestions and I would just really appreciate that so thank you thank you
thank you for subscribing thanks for watching my videos you guys I hope
you’re learning a lot and that’s all I will see you at another video bye

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Hello Stefanie, nice to meet you, I like so much your voice, I will be learning English with your help, thank you for give me the opportunity to learn English with you. Have a nice day.

  2. I feel satisfaction hearing you. Despite I don’t understand every word. But i totally understand what about you speaking. Thank you.

  3. I really feel inlove with you when I’m watchin’ your videos. 😄♥️ thanks for amazin’ and helpful videos. ♥️♥️

  4. Rud voice in speaking is easy to be understand but the rud voice is very difficult to be understand. God blesses forever. Alisha

  5. The only way to improve your listening is just getting language experience. I started with educational videos on English grammar and vocabulary. I listen a lot. I read a lot. All staff in English of cause. If I listen something interesting in Russian (my native) I usually translate it in English and write it down. I try to be surrounded by English as much as possible. Now I teach English to other people. If you want to learn some subject, just start teaching it)) Such an approach helps you to study more. It keeps you motivated! Keep going! Any success is the result of hard and constant work!

  6. Hi stefanny..
    I've got so much problem solved from this video..
    Now I'm understand, why people don't understood to doin communication with different accent.
    I understand you because you're so pretty good in CA-english accent.
    Thank you so much for your shared, mrs stefanny, thank you for video and thak you for service…
    GBU

  7. Hi, i'm from indonesia. I turn off the subtitle and glad that i completely can understand even you were talk really quick. I need to learn more to talk in english, and thank you for helping me with your video.

  8. That's lessons are really helpfull … I've been learning english only on line, and it's workings well … time after time I feel more excited and confident! I ever watched all your videos on youtube thanks for sharing your knowledge …! I hope you can understand what I tryed to write!

  9. Aren't you a little too gorgeous to be a teacher? Good thing you teach online ,otherwise people would not able to concentrate if you teach LIVE in class…

  10. I love When I see this videos, I feel like a professional student, but the true is that i'm A2 level in english
    In fact, it's very difficult learn to listen the native speakers. But When I listen this women 😍 I feel exciting because I know alls words and I said… How can I understand this women but no other People? And she's pretty, she's my motivation when I dont understand some subject 🙄
    Thanks for yours videos are very useful and comfortable for me.

  11. thanks so much keep it.. very nice because i am catching your word everything.. i can understand what u speak..

  12. Hi Stefanie!
    Why don't you make some podcasts to let us listen to you on spotify or wherever? It would be fantastic! Especially for people who walk a lot to either go to school or go to work.
    Moreover, it would be more difficult to listen to you without seeing you, and therefore I think it would improve the training…

    It is only an advice, I am new in these ways of learning and having the possibility to easily listen to you on spotify would be fantastic for me and I think would let you increase your popularity. Even because I think you are very helpful to me and I have to sincerely thank you for it.

    Good luck! Bye

  13. You're everything except an English teacher, yet you claim to solve the language learning problems that experts in ESL and linguists have not yet been able to solve.

  14. This is how I learn Turkish! I listen to Turkish music and try to not only repeat the lyrics but also repeat it the way the singer sings it.

  15. Hi! I'm listening you with 1.25 speed, and I understood you very well. Congrats! You have a very good speaking skill! It's a pleasure to listen you!

  16. What you say is true, there's no secret or magic in learning a language, perseverance and dedication is all you need, use what you learn and don't get attached to textbooks so much, real English is out there. I'm an English teacher and I teach efl in a 5th Adults course; it's the last year of this course and for my students to study English formally. Until now, I get complaints from some students saying they can't understand the listenings. Thing is we have classes twice a week so it crossed my mind to ask them if they do anything you suggest here outside the classroom the rest of the week (watch tv series, reading lyrics, listen to music or podcasts) or if any other teacher from the previous years ever suggested them do that. The answer was "nobody told us we should do that". Language students are usually uninformed about the most important aspects of learning but if you're curious enough to be here watching this, being a teacher and a student myself, I can tell you, you're on the right way to learn English. Don't underestimate curiosity as the more you get immersed into the language, the easier and faster it'll be for you to acquire that fluency you're looking for. Trust me, advice like this can mark your whole path for learning, you're really lucky if you're watching this and you've just started learning a language because after 3 or 4 years of studying with the wrong approach might be unfortunate and frustrating, to say the least.

  17. Thankyou very much for video
    I come from Thailand everyday i trying pranctice youtuber every people. Untill i met vdo do you making oh my god This's video at verygood but sometime i'm afraid out of speak. sorry If i'm word a misteak.

  18. Watch CNN and BBC News and Series. No need singer vocal technique to speak in English…Needs courage, focus and good will.

  19. Hi Stephanie! I'm a native Spanish speaker and I've studied English all my life! I'm an English teacher in Argentina and after graduated at university I wasn't as fluent as I expected. I could master that extremely tough hability on my own, without teachers, listening and listening and listening english all the time. I proposed to myself that I would sorround by English all day. I strongly believe that the most importat thing is finding something you love doing, something you could do for hours and hours, and then you have to do that in English. You need to be patient but constant and after some time (it depends on each person) you'll come up with your fluency.

  20. I love your voice. Your accent is really clearly and easy to understand, it makes me feel comfortable, you know.

  21. My first time watching your lesson. I love it. Your pronuntiation is very clear. Come to Brazil and have some Portuguese lessons for free with me. Here you will have food, sleeping room, friends and a good weather.

  22. After almost four decades of acquaintanceship with English language – since the primary school time – I can finally understand videos like yours.
    Also I have no problem to understand what I read, except for some uncommon words.
    My difficulty is with pronounce, how to move the mouth muscles to produce the sounds that are not familiar with my native language.
    Also I have difficulty to formule the sentences in English in my mind, because I think what I want to say in my native language and so translate to English, making some sentences to seem like they are said in that.
    But… I'm improving!

  23. Thanks Stefanie for yours advice.
    So, the way you speak will help us to improve English and became confident.
    Muchas Gracias por tu ayuda y consejos en el aprendizaje, desde Chile. 🙏

  24. Hi,Stefanie how r you.u r one of the most inspiring English coach l've ever seen.thank u very much for ur dedication.pls,make long videos based on real conversation with subtitles.of course in advanced level.hope to get reply soon.good luck.take care.

  25. In my opinion, In TV show like Friends they speak incorrectly in English. For exemple they can leave a noun or a verb from a sentence if the sense might be understood from context. And of course they speak fast and often without stressing key words. And the most bad things they use slang and play with language, inventing fun but unusual for everyday speech expressions.

  26. When l watch your video l get it l can be bbc anchorman ) one day man watch girl video and suddenly all life change then man say thanks thanks baby for magic solution )

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