Tips For Understanding Fast English Speakers

how to understand fast English speakers
image by Brodie Vissers from Burst

Have you ever found it hard to understand fast English speakers?  This blog offers ESL learners some tips on this topic.   A common concern raised by clients is that when American colleagues speak fast, they cannot understand them.  This is true especially when they first start working in a company.   And it affects them during team meetings, or speaking on the phone with customers.  They don’t want to keep asking people to repeat.   Others may get tired of repeating.   Worse, think less of their English ability.

If you are reading this blog, something similar might have happened to either you or a friend of yours.  First, know that it’s not about your ability to understand English.   It’s more about your ears being accustomed to sounds that you are familiar with.   And not just sound, it’s the intonation.  Each language has its own music.   Some are more staccato, while others are more melodic.   Getting used to this change is a big step for your ears.  However, mastering this step will go a long way in understanding fast speakers.

The article How to understand fast English speakers offers insights on this topic.  Train your ears to the intonation of American English speakers.   At the beginning, don’t worry about the speed, just focus on the intonation patterns.  Go to a coffee shop by yourself, and sit close to some native English speakers having a conversation.  Listen for the music, the intonation of their speech.

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I hope these tips on understanding fast English speakers are helpful to you.  Here’s the entire article on How to understand fast English speakers.

If you find this blog helpful, here is another one you might also enjoy on How to build confidence in language learning.

Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking.    To schedule a session with her, please email

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