How to Understand the News or Movies in American English Pronunciation

Why is it that sometimes English movies sound as if they should be subtitled for English listeners? Even native English speakers sometimes have trouble understanding all that is being said in English movies. There are several reasons for this – there are obvious differences in pronunciation between British, American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand English.

Additionally, younger actors tend to use a lot of slang and run their words together which can make it difficult to understand. As English learners continue to improve their language proficiency, their vocabulary also increases and they begin to understand more and more of what they’re hearing. The key is immersion. Immerse yourself into the English language and you will see great progress. Try to speak English as much as you can.  Seek out native speakers and start conversations using words and phrases that you are comfortable with. Read books to increase your vocabulary and grammar skills, and watch TV and movies to fine tune your listening skills



Episode transcript below:


Hey there!

What’s up?

How’s it going?

Welcome to Go Natural English.

Are you ready to get fluent?

Well, then let’s get started.

I have a great question from a member of the Go Natural English audience, Gamal.

Gamal asked, “I can understand you, Gabby, when you speak but when I try to watch movies or listen to the news, I can’t understand anything I’m hearing.”

So, why, and what can I do about it?

Gamal, that’s a great question and I think it can benefit a lot of people so I’d like to talk about it a little bit.

Now in this quick English tip I’m going to offer you a couple of ideas that will get you started.

And of you want to learn more, if you want to learn better and faster English with me a natural way, I suggest that you visit where you can learn about the premium Go Natural English course.

So, Gamal’s question has to do with listening comprehension.

Now, first of all, you have to listen to a variety of English sources.

If you’ve been listening to your English teacher all the time, you’ll probably find it easy to understand him or her, but perhaps other people outside of your classroom will be more difficult to understand, for the simple fact that you just haven’t listened to them before.

So, first of all, you really need to listen to a variety of different sources in English – could be more movies, more news, music, something else that you’re interested in, maybe podcasts.

And if you didn’t know, Go Natural English is a podcast on iTunes for ios and on Stitcher for Android.

So, first of all, listen to more English.

It might seem like an obvious tip but it’s really important to just immerse yourself as much as possible in English and make it a part of your daily life.

So, if you normally watch the news in the morning, or listen to the news, maybe before you go to work or while you’re getting ready – try doing that in English.

See how you can make some little shifts in your life and immerse yourself more in the English language whether you’re living in an English speaking country or not.

You can still immerse yourself in English in many different ways.

OK, so you’re listening to more English, now what do you do?

Well, you need to become familiar with native pronunciation.

And a lot of my teaching has to do with pronunciation because I love it.

I think it’s really interesting and it’s the key to listening comprehension and to be able to speak more like a native English speaker.

So, pay attention to the points in English that are pronounced differently than you might imagine.

For example, there are several letters or combinations of letters – spellings of words that can be pronounced in many different ways and I have different tip videos that address those points and also in the premium Go Natural English course I have a lot more videos that address those points.

So, get used to the pronunciation and the varieties of pronunciations for the same spelling.

And also, the reason why you’re not understanding what you’re hearing could be a problem with vocabulary.

Maybe your vocabulary is just not big enough for the material that you’re trying to listen to.

If you find that you can understand about 70% or more of what you’re listening to, then what you’re listening to is a good level for you.

But, if you can only understand 60% or less, or I should say 70% or less, then you might want to try material that is a little bit easier.

Maybe try simple songs in English or perhaps cartoons, or news that is produced especially for English language learners like “Voice of America” news.

So, there’s a lot of different options but what you need is a guide to help you understand what exactly you should be listening to for your English level.

So, I hope to help you with that.

I hope that you’ll come over to to understand how you can learn more the natural way.

Thanks so much for watching and I’ll talk to you again real soon.

Bye for now.

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