You’ve probably already noticed that when Americans speak English at normal speed, it sounds fast. Like all the words are squashed together. Like Americans have a hot potato in their mouth. And not much like the English you learned in school.
I certainly noticed it when I talked to friends and family back home this summer. Let me try to phonetically transcribe some of the things I heard:
Yownme tuh thow ih tuhway fir yuh? (That’s “You want me to throw it away for you?”)
Imma go up tuh thuh store, yuh commin? (That’s “I’m going up to the store, you coming?)
Whyawntchuh ask Lisa? (That’s “Why don’t you ask Lisa?)
Try reading those first parts aloud. You’ll sound just like an American!
To become fluent in English, it’s important to work on understanding all these “strange” sounds.
And this week, you’ll get 4 episodes of authentic, unscripted conversations to help you understand real spoken English.
Tame the Hot Potato series: Differences between US & UK English
They say that the US and England are two countries divided by a common language. What words are British and which ones are American? Find out in this “Hot Potato” conversation with my English friend Vicki, from Simple English Videos.
Tame the Hot Potato series: What’s your image of the French?
It’s always fun to learn what other nationalities think of each other. In this honest discussion, you’ll see what Chris and Jennie, two English women, think of the French. Plus Jennie shares some opinions from her German colleagues too.
Postcard from the States: Going to an American Drive-In
Join me for a quick trip to a drive-in! Not the movie theater, but a drive-in restaurant! It’s a typically American thing and in this video, you’ll see some American culture and be with me as I order my food… in my car!
Postcard from the States: Meet Cameron, drum captain of the high school band
In the American school system, extracurricular activities are a BIG thing! This was a spontaneous video I made when I saw the high school drummers marching down my street, and got a short interview with Cameron, the drum captain.
Watch the video here
My best advice for improving your listening skills?
Learn to identify the sounds of spoken English.
Spoken English is VERY different from written English. You can hear a sentence and not understand much. But when you read the same sentence, it’s easy to understand. This means that your ear does not recognize the sounds of the words, and the way they squash together.
Just watching series won’t help. Series are fun, and good for just hearing English, but you won’t improve a lot if you only watch series.
You need exercises to guide you to understand the sounds of spoken English. You can start with my special playlist “Understand Real Spoken English & Improve Your Accent”
And in the fall, I’ll have a special Advanced Natural English group coaching program to take your English from intermediate to naturally fluent.
P.S. Next week, we’ll start back with your regular Speak English with Christina episodes! I’ve got some exciting ones for you!