I can understand maybe 40% or 50% of common talk of Americans. If simple, maybe 80%. But sometimes, it still prevent me to improve my English.

I guess there are 4 problems:

1 lack of vocabulary

2 bad at pronunciation

3 lack of listening

4 bad at grammar Correct?

Does anyone has some good resolutions?

  • Are you living in America? . . . The simplest answer is "get better at English" But I realise that isn't a quick fix. . . . If you are living in America then the solutions are different than if you are not. So where do you live? – James K May 15 at 22:50

Here are the things I recommend: (Personal XP)

  1. Watch lots of lots movies and watch them in many ways, like using English subs or in your own mother-tongue-subs and sometimes watch them without any.
  1. Watch stand up comedies and learn the cultural references that relates to the context, many people don't understand English because of cultural references.
  1. Learn more vocabularies by listening to easy music and try to develop your ear for the differently-pronounced-words.
  1. Use idioms that you hear in movies and clips and on youtube on a daily basis, this will help you to build a memory section over idioms and you wont forget them.
  1. If you were able to attend English discussion classes, it would be a great thing, improving your speaking skills directly impacts on your listening skills.
  1. Finally, try writing simple essays for yourself and try to use the words that you hear, consider summarizing a movie or a trip to some place.


Mispronounced words are just words in different accents just like (African-American accent, Mexican, Russian, Indian, British, Slangs, and other things) these kind of accent actually will improve your ear for the words as your brain struggles to find the original word for it.


By listening more. It takes a lot of time listening to develop an ear for a foreign language.

When I learned Portuguese and finally got my ear for Portuguese, I'd been living in Portugal for six months working 70 hours a week with non-English speakers speaking only Portuguese before I got my ear for it.

When I learned Spanish, though, it didn't take me nearly as long. I got my ear in about three months living in Spain, going to university, and not interacting with anyone in English ever, only Spanish.

When you get your ear for a language, it happens overnight. It's like something clicks in your brain and you suddenly easily understand and aren't struggling to catch 40% or 50% or whatever percent anymore.

The best and fastest way to get an ear is through immersion. So if you want to get an ear for American English, you're best and fastest way to do that is to live in America, interact with English-speaking Americans, and be very disciplined about only speaking and interacting in English, never your native language.

Beyond that, watching American television and movies is a good way to get an ear for American English. People's language comprehension vocabulary is more than 20 times what people's speaking vocabulary is.

So when I lived in Portugal, I got my ear for Brazilian Portuguese, which is vastly different than European Portuguese, by watching Brazilian telenovelas (i.e., soap operas) on TV. For the first few, I understood very little, but then suddenly about the third one in, I got my ear for it and started understanding it all.

Likewise, when I lived in Florida, I worked with many, many people who couldn't speak English at all, but it was extremely common for them to watch American television and understand everything because they'd gain an ear for it through watching American television enough that they just understood, even though they couldn't speak it at all.

It was also very common for non-English speaking parents with English-speaking kids to get an ear for it. All the time I witnessed conversations where kids who spoke to their parents in English and their parents spoke back to them in Spanish. Both sides fully comprehended what the others were saying even though neither side spoke the other's language well enough to communicate it, especially not the parents, because they'd gained an ear for it by simply listening to it long enough.

  • Thank you very much. While I'm learning English, I look up words, use En-En dictionary, or making English full of my life, English keyboard, English podcasts, radios, books, news, only speak English, write in English. In fact, I tried the way above many times, all failed. Because my vocabulary comprehension and grammar can't suit the level of all-english environment. Then I came back to use native language to explain English again. It seems like very embarrassed level, very difficult to improve. It feels like hitting the plateau. – Alex Lee May 16 at 0:10
  • Actually, I often listen to the daily or fresh air, some sentences are not so hard to understand, but what made me annoying is I can’t completely understand them, especially the whole story. I feel like that my goal is: 1 Even though voice ain’t not very loud, I can clearly understand what they say. 2 even if I’m having shower I can still clearly hear podcasts. 3 understand senior natives conversation. 4 even not very concentrate on listening to podcast , I can still summarize the key point. – Alex Lee May 16 at 0:26
  • When i listen to the podcast, i understand some parts of the podcasts, after the podcasts finished, I don’t even know what the whole story talked about. People told me that represents i understood nothing, i just considered that I understood something. Right? I feel like i have to pay 300% attention then i can understand 50%-60%. – Alex Lee May 16 at 0:26

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