So, how do you overcome those? How can you understand when people speak English? Well, it is not that difficult.
This article is not telling you to practice hard, listen to the conversation tape or watch hundreds of Hollywood movie. Those are the things that you need to do anyway and already described in other English learning articles.
This article will tell you one simple trick that will help you live in any English speaking environment happily. The secret is that.
Do not blame yourself.
Many ESL thought they don't understand native English speakers because their skill is not good enough. This may or may not be true but it is surely not a good attitude.
It will discourage you and destroy your confidence. Sometimes, those natives just speak too fast and that even the natives themselves do not understand them. Sometimes, they do not truely understand the topic or they feel nervous so they can't produce understandable sentences. Have you ever experience that when you talk to anybody in your own mother tongue language? I am sure you do.
Now, you realize that it's not your fault. Just keep thinking that "they speak too fast" or "what are they talking about?" NOT "oh I don't understand them at all" or "will they know my English is poor?"
After you have positive attitude, the next step is easy. You just simply ask a kind of sentences below.
"Excuse me. Can you repeat it again?"
Clearly, the sentences above blame the others but you. At this point, 99% of the speakers realize something wrong with them and they will speak again in the new way to try to make you understand.
Again, the learning part is another story here. You may have to search for the meaning of vocabularies or do more practices later but just never lose confidence to ask speakers to repeat the sentences, when you don't understand.
Remember, it is not your fault.
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*Each word can have more than one meaning. The meaning here is just to favor the article