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  • Vanessa: Hi, I'm Vanessa from SpeakEnglishWithVanessa.com.

  • Can you understand me but not other English speakers?

  • Let's talk about it.

  • Can you understand my speaking voice?

  • I get a lot of comments from English learners that say, "Wow, I could finally understand

  • a native English speaker.

  • I've never been able to do this before.

  • Amazing."

  • But then the next sentence is always "Wait, why can't I understand other English speakers?"

  • It's a good question.

  • It would be great to understand every English TV show, and movie, and your American coworkers,

  • and every English conversation you're part of, but first let's talk about why you can

  • understand me and then we'll talk about how you can understand other English speakers

  • as well.

  • Why can you understand me?

  • Well, the topic is comfortable.

  • This probably isn't the first time that you've learned English, right?

  • So you're familiar with the words and the expressions and the ideas in general about

  • what I'm talking about.

  • If I started talking really fast about specific tools that you need to carve a pumpkin, for

  • example, maybe it would be a little bit tougher for you to understand because that topic isn't

  • comfortable.

  • Number two, I speak clearly but fast.

  • When I first started this YouTube channel, my husband Dan said, "Oh, I think you're speaking

  • way too fast.

  • People are not going to understand you."

  • But do you know what?

  • That's not the case.

  • A lot of you can understand me and you can understand me clearly.

  • I'm not speaking slowly like this for a small child.

  • No, I'm still speaking quickly, but I do speak clearly, because it's my goal 100% for you

  • to understand as much as possible in this topic.

  • For example, in this video I made about how to pronounce the word the, I want you to understand

  • every explanation that I give.

  • If you don't understand those explanations, then you're not going to understand the idea

  • which is how to pronounce the word the.

  • I want you to understand this topic, this tutorial so that you can improve your English.

  • Number three, it's just one person talking.

  • To me this is the key.

  • You're only listening to my voice.

  • You're only focusing on my voice.

  • When more than one person speaks together, they cut off each other, they interrupt each

  • other's sentences, they speak quickly, they link words together in different ways, so

  • listening to one person compared to listening to two or three people is much different.

  • Now let's solve this problem.

  • It's great that you can understand me, wonderful, but I want you to be able to understand your

  • coworkers, movies, TV shows, every English conversation that you encounter.

  • But do you know what?

  • In those situations, sometimes the topic is not comfortable.

  • They're usually not speaking clearly and there's often more than one person who is speaking

  • at a time.

  • So how can you take what you've learned, my lessons, understanding my voice, to the next

  • level, and taking it to a more challenging situation?

  • To understand other English speakers, you need to start with what you know.

  • So my first tip is, if you can't understand my voice, well, you need to continue watching

  • my YouTube videos specifically with subtitles.

  • You can click CC for any of my videos and you can watch the subtitles.

  • This is going to help to train your eyes and train your ears so that you can hear a new

  • word and you see it at the same time and you realize, "Oh, that's how she said it."

  • So subtitles in English can be really helpful if you're at this first starting point.

  • If you can't understand my voice, 80 to 90% without subtitles, okay.

  • It's fine to start at the base and listen to me with subtitles.

  • Let's take a look at this clip to kind of test your listening skills.

  • Can you understand this real natural lesson that I gave?

  • A couple of months ago I started to volunteer in an organization called the Free Forest

  • School.

  • If you live in the US and you have kids, you should check it out, check it out online to

  • see if there's a branch near you.

  • It's a lot of fun.

  • The basic idea is that kids and parents go to nature and have free play for a couple

  • hours.

  • It's just a chance to be in nature.

  • The kids can play together and build their sense of curiosity and independence.

  • If you could understand about 80 to 90% of that clip, great.

  • It's time to move on to step number two, which is to challenge yourself to listen to me plus

  • the same speaker, so you're listening to two people, but the second person is the same,

  • so you're getting used to a second person's voice instead of getting used to 20 different

  • people's voices.

  • I have a lot of videos with my husband Dan, and this is a good way to train yourself because

  • you already know my voice and then you're trying to train yourself to get to know one

  • other person's voice.

  • Hopefully you'll already understand 50% of the conversation, me, and then you're going

  • to slowly test yourself to understand more and more of what he says.

  • Let's take a look at this clip where my husband Dan and I are speaking together and if you

  • can understand 80 to 90% of what we're saying without subtitles, great test yourself.

  • Let's see.

  • What about you?

  • What would you miss most about your home if you moved?

  • Dan: Ironically, we probably are moving soon.

  • Vanessa: We definitely are moving soon.

  • Dan: We're definitely moving soon.

  • Vanessa: So what would you miss most about this home when we move?

  • Dan: I think everything in the new home is better, on the inside, everything is better.

  • I'll miss this homes location.

  • Vanessa: Did you understand?

  • Pretty much everything we were saying, maybe 90% without subtitles.

  • Awesome.

  • It's time to move on to step number three.

  • After you can understand a conversation with me plus the same person, maybe Dan, it's time

  • to move on to more speakers.

  • You could jump right into an English TV show, but a slower way to do that is to test yourself

  • with my voice.

  • Plus someone else who you've never heard before.

  • You already feel comfortable with me plus Dan, so maybe test yourself with me plus someone

  • else who you've never heard before.

  • I have a lot of videos on my channel where I'm speaking with someone else.

  • So let's take a look at this clip here with Gayle, who's a yoga teacher.

  • Maybe you can understand a my portion, 50% of the conversation, but can you understand

  • her voice?

  • It's a good test.

  • Did you just go in full force after that or was there just a slow progression because

  • you've been doing yoga for- Gayle: A long time.

  • Vanessa: A long time.

  • Gayle: It was like I dabbled, you know, when I was in New York city, I dabbled, like sometimes

  • I would go to class, but I'd never completely committed like I did later on.

  • So I dabbled in New York and then I moved from New York to Bryson City, North Carolina

  • and got into whitewater paddling.

  • And so- Vanessa: How did you do?

  • Could you understand everything that both Gayle and I said without any problems or did

  • you have a little bit more difficulty?

  • If you had a little more difficulty, no worries.

  • It's a great way to start here.

  • You know that this is the step for you to help you really understand more English speakers.

  • If you have a favorite TV show, you can jump right in and do this with an episode that

  • you've already watched.

  • So this is my recommendation.

  • Let's say that you like the TV show Friends, this is a really common TV show.

  • Let's say that you liked this show and there's an episode that you've already seen.

  • Great.

  • Watch it with English subtitles.

  • Make sure it's in English and English subtitles.

  • Read while you hear them speaking.

  • You're probably going to catch expressions that you don't know, maybe expressions that

  • you didn't hear before, maybe you understood the general meaning but there was specific

  • words that, "Oh, I didn't know they said that."

  • The subtitles can be really helpful.

  • Then watch it a second time with subtitles again.

  • This should be a lot easier because it's the second time and then that final third time

  • that you watch the episode, watch it without subtitles.

  • This is testing your ears.

  • Can you hear those expressions that you learned by reading the subtitles?

  • Can your ears hear that a little bit more naturally?

  • Now with a TV show, it's usually 30 minutes, sometimes longer, so it can be challenging

  • to do this in just three tries.

  • If you need to do it more, that's fine or watch a different episode because often they

  • use similar expressions in other episodes too.

  • This type of training will help you graduate from understanding only me, to understanding

  • other English speakers too.

  • Next Friday, December 20th, 2019 my yearly course, the 30 Day English Listening Challenge

  • will open for 30 days in January, you can use the exact technique that we talked about

  • today.

  • Challenge your ears to go beyond understanding just me, to understanding other English speakers

  • as well with short daily lessons that you'll be able to fit into your life.

  • You'll be really amazed at how your listening skills improve over this 30 day challenge,

  • but you'll have to wait until December 20th to get some more information about the course.

  • And now I have a question for you in the comments let me know, can you understand 90% of my

  • voice?

  • I'm really curious what you have to say.

  • Let me know in the comments and thank you so much for learning English with me.

  • I'll see you again next Friday for the start of the 30 Day English Listening Challenge.

  • For a new lesson here on my YouTube channel.

  • Bye.

  • The next step is to<