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2.3 Understanding Native Speakers At Speed



Have you ever felt that foreigners speak too fast and that you cannot decipher words quickly enough or at all?


Blog 2.3 focuses on two of the main misgivings and causes for stalling progress when trying to understand native speakers. The first one is a natural inability to hear clearly unfamiliar sounds. The second is the deficit in the speed of memory to match vocabulary and meaning. By the time you recognize a word, the conversation has already moved on and you have lost the thread of it.    


This short paragraph discusses briefly, reasons why this obstacle needs to be perceived accurately, framed adequately and then addressed relentlessly.


Hearing challenge


How hard is this understanding game? It is seriously tough! Trying to grasp a foreign language at speed and engaging in a conversation as a beginner resembles trying to board a fast speed train as it hurtles through the countryside. Attempting this operation with a bullet train, you would lose your life. With a foreign language, only your ego takes a knock but it may be a massive one and can severely set you back. This hurdle alone is responsible for many a failure.


So how can you board this speeding train safely and quickly? How can you develop your hearing competence?  


Wrong answers and delusion


A diet of challenging texts coupled with a feast of grammar exercises may reduce your fear and uncertainty, help you pass exams but cannot achieve the above aim. In fact, these activities are totally unsuited. And there is worse: learners are collectively deluded in believing that they are addressing the missing skill when clearly they are not. Digesting a dictionary through articles and spotting wrong endings on paper, in live lessons or online, is as suited to preparing you for a natural conversation as thinking that watching sports on television trains you for participating in the Olympics.


The solution


To get your ears tuned in for attempting a conversation calls for a substantially new type of focus, coupled with a wide-ranging and specific shift in attitude, as well as a clear skill set to nurture your comprehension. 


In short, a special kind of effort – mental and technical – is needed to distinguish words and meaning in a foreign language. Some of the child-like learning attitudes must be identified and reignited. Finally, a sleek set of new competences is required to manage the pain and increase dexterity at handling these comprehension boosting tools.  This solution is covered in detail in The Language Talent book – soon to be published.


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