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. What I can advice, is to watch the news in English on TV channel, even I don't understand every single word but I keep listening, and I try to understand from the headline news. Other thing, I turn my phone from my second language to English. So when I search word Google give me the English first.

  2. Waaah u are the first native speaker who speak so clear and i do understand all you say , you communicated so well 👌 like what you say, you speak not just mouth but also communicated with your eyes, body language 😁

  3. i can not catch some word's but , i can understand the context so thats make more easly for me , to understand what theu're talking about . i think so LOL

  4. I passed the police department written exam but my fear is I can't understand some of the dispatch say through the radio.thats why I'm here thinking if I move forward or decline the offer.

  5. Hi, in fact I can understand 90% of your dialogue, nevertheless, I can't speak fluently I don't know why, when I try I'm very slow and it is frustrating.

  6. for me when i watch a movie or a tv show i try to understand evey word they say and i try focusing on every word they say and try to say it again in my mind but i eventually get bored of the show because it doubles the time of the episode or movie because i am just rewinding it to hear every single word they say and yeah you're right you're accent is really clear i love it. thank you for the awesome video and peace.

  7. I really like your videos. What i like the most and made me laugh uproariously, the story of the hispanic man whom you want to show off your Spanish language in front of 😂😂😂.
    Second one is the one who kept asking you i am struggling to understand the native speakers 😆😆.

    Now it is my turn please tell me, where is the brain juice you talked about in your video i am in a dire need for it. 😄😄

  8. Hi Stefanie, like your channel and in a magical way I understand everything and the reason is, you want others to understand you and this isn't the norm. 🙂
    I've an idea, can you produce a video about common idioms?
    Keep up the good work!

  9. i practice everyday that how i got to understand the people in English tho i still not too confidant because i don't know too much meanings.

  10. I can say that after 3-4 years of listening trumpet masterclass and another topics about trumpet (I play it and also this motives me for learning English ) I can listening clearly and understand the ideas, intention, some phrasal verbs, etc. It's amazing how your brain and ears can adapt to another language, even if at the beginning you don't understand anything

  11. Did someone notice stheph's deeply eyes ? She definitely have this gift which is bring you to what she's saying !!! Amazing 👌

  12. Stefanie! Why are you so beautiful? I like the dimples in your cheek and face ❤❤❤. GOD has given you not only a clear and beautiful voice but He has also given you a good appearance.

  13. 9:04 haha Wow…You're a perfect actress. Los Angeles is near to your town coz Los Angeles is in California (And you're also from CA). Why don't you become an actress? 9:04 I love the way you imitated that Spanish guy…😂😂😂😂😂

  14. it's sweet that you say you studied in Argentina for 6 … months, like it was 6 years … 6 months is really little time ..

  15. it's up to the teacher to make sure the student understands the teacher suggestion; he wasnìt searching for a magic solution, that seems more a projection from someone that in 6 month looks for a magic Spanish understanding, he just couldn't understand what you, the teacher, really were saying because a teacher must realize first what is the weakness particular to that student and then must suggest simple steps to reach a customized solution .. To do this, to teach, teachers need experience, basic human understanding, and a lot of humility, because a student's fault it's always a teacher's fault .. that guy kept calling you and asking, certainly you couldn't say he was not committed, and didn't pay to be judged on such a superficial level ..

  16. I think who cares about the voice ? I mean understand it's understand no problem if the person who are speaking got nice voice

  17. that's true you're very clear when you speak, I understood almost 90% of what you said. That's truly impressive. (from France)

  18. Thank you very much Miss Stephanie for teaching me these Listening Skills. I like your English lesson they are great. Please, I would like to know some tricks to understand a natural conversation such as buying fast food, watching a program, studying English in a course, etc. Honesty I want to understand the dialogues about a TOELF test SOMEDAY.
    May God bless you and your family See you.

  19. I don't understand why do you speak English so quickly? I thought you created this channel for learn English but in fact bla bla bla… or do you think I don't believe you that you don't know language so well.. With love from Russian

  20. Despite you didn't tell me something new, I agree with you and I support what are you saying. It takes time! I am not an English native speaker, as you maybe already noticed due my mistakes. I listened to a lot of English things, movies, TV-shows, YT-videos, late night shows etc. Someone said once "You only understand a language well, if you get the jokes." So, when I watch Stephen Colbert I get most of the times the jokes.
    2 years ago I started to learn Spanish. And I know a lot of words, maybe now more than in English, but I don't get the jokes. There is still a big lack of understanding. So I have to keep learning. It worked with English and it will work with Spanish, someday.

  21. My magic solution was in work experience. When I was a student, I have worked in the call center, where I have received calls also in English. As people, who called us had so many different dialects, my listening skill was perfectly trained there 🙂

  22. Steffanie… You can't to imagine how you help me with my english. I listen you every day and I'm improving my english making it. So I thank you very much for your videos. I'm sure that other people are improving your " listening " just hearing you

  23. You speak normal fast but I could catch every single word you said. Its really nice to attend on your teaching

  24. I love how well you speak. you are a great teacher. i love it. i come from Indonesia and i always join your video. thank you so much

  25. I find it useful to read books or newspapers to extend my vocabulary. Reading grammar books also helped be to understand some infrequent structures and tenses.

  26. You've got one more subscriber! Your voice is amazing and your pronunciation really make the learning very more easily!

  27. Someone wants to practice with me English I'm from Ecuador I need to practice a lot
    whatsaap:+593 979236773
    facebook:yuber barreiro

  28. I think the raison why we understand u very well is that u dont have what they call"hot potato in mouth" u say every word very clearly

  29. You are Supper.i can understand every single of your words.but when i hear others native speaker,i really don't understand them.i don't what's the matter.

  30. Hi! I would like to know if it's possible to get better in speaking although I don't have someone who practice with?

  31. "There is no magic solution" … I understand that I have to learn more and more again. Thank you for sharing with us.

  32. My Gosh! Stephanie, this is amazing. I understand every single words you said. That never happened before. I am Eva, from Indonesia. I am really struggling of my listening skills. Why I can not fully understand when I took an TOEFL and IELTS ini speaking Test like as easy like this?. Please suggest me. How I can connect you? One last question, what major you took when you were in university? I wanna have skill like yours since Long time . Thanks Stephanie

  33. OMG, I one of those that undestand all that you say, you have a beutiful accent and pronunciation.
    thaks fom Mexico city …

  34. I am 56 years old
    you are a girl that every father wants to have as a daughter. I m very happy when i watch your videos

  35. I can understand almost 100 percent what you say, … also, I understand at the same level youtuber Crazy Russian Hacker ….. who is obviously of Russian nationality … but several American youtuber do not understand them well …. it's curious that I understand a Russian better when he speaks English … than an American. 🙂
    Saludos desde Mexico linda.

  36. I wish i could be able to buy your course. But i'm happy because i'm learning anyway. I know i can speak 'cause i speak a lot when i'm at home by myself. I ain't got no ideia how i must sound like and kind of accent i have. I have been perfecting my pronunciation singing with lyrics and then i try it by my own so i'm sure i learned that. Of course my accent was influenced by you and i'm gratefull, i have watched a lot of ya videos and you tought me details of your language in such a way that anyone never ever were able to do.

  37. Most of the time in tv shows and in movies, they use lots of words and idioms must people don't know if they're not native that's why. Even if you speak real fast, you use repeated and basic conversation, that's why we understand you well. But anyway you doing well. Thanks for your videos!

  38. Really I can catch you. Recently I watched one YouTube channel about computer games and as you said I didn’t understand anything! It was so sad! Probably that guy used some young slang or etc

  39. You said are easily understand more than other countries native speaker,i come from China want to see more videos from you ! you are the best !

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