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How do you feel when you don’t understand?

  Tags: Dialect | Accent
 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
32 messages over 4 pages: 1 2 3
MarlonX19
Diglot
Groupie
Brazil
Joined 2566 days ago

40 posts - 51 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, English
Studies: French

 
 Message 25 of 32
28 September 2013 at 3:37am | IP Logged 
I think it's ok to feel ike this.

I kind of struggle to understand british English too, I'm more likely to understand american English easier, I dont know why, maybe because I have been more exposed to it. But I think it's not a problem because I have noticed that I sometimes don't even understand Portuguese speech which is my native language, maybe it happens to everybody even in our native languages, the thing is that when it happens in our native language we don't care about it we dont even notice it because we're not paying attention while when it happens in a second language that we're learning we notice that we didnt understand the speech because we are more concentrated and paying more attention to what we're hearing...
Last week I was in the kitchen and the TV was on and there was someone speaking and I couldn't understand the speech even though the TV was loud and there was no noise around me, at one point I even said ''is this portuguese?'' then I came to the living room and had to make an effort to understand the guy who was speaking, yeah it was Portuguese, Brazilian portuguese which I'm so used to listening to.
Plus, I remember once I told one of my friends that sometimes I couldnt understand some English songs and I told her it was all right because even native speakers of a language at times don't understand songs etc, she looked at me in disbelief... A few days later we were surfing the web and checking some songs' lyrics that she used to listen to every day and she was like ''omg, I dont believe I thought the singer was saying something else, I hadn't understood the song even though I ''thought'' I had'' and the same has happened to me actually.

Edited by MarlonX19 on 28 September 2013 at 3:39am

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1e4e6
Octoglot
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 2691 days ago

1013 posts - 1587 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Dutch, Swedish, Italian
Studies: German, Danish, Russian, Catalan

 
 Message 26 of 32
28 September 2013 at 3:43am | IP Logged 
I am not sure if I am the only one, but I have major problems understanding lyrics of any
language, even in English. Usually the only method whereby I can remember a song is by
the tune, barely by the lyrics. When I was younger, I remember having to read the lyrics
on the lyricsheet inside of the record sleeve, cassette or CD sleeves. I have to do this
for the Beatles, Dylan, etc. Even slow songs such as Celine Dion's song in 1997 I
probably understood only 30% of it, despite being a native English speaker. So if I do
not understand lyrics of foreign language songs, I do not feel so bad.
6 persons have voted this message useful



tastyonions
Triglot
Senior Member
United States
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Joined 3066 days ago

1044 posts - 1823 votes 
Speaks: English*, French, Spanish
Studies: Italian

 
 Message 27 of 32
28 September 2013 at 6:03pm | IP Logged 
1e4e6 wrote:
I am not sure if I am the only one, but I have major problems understanding lyrics of any language, even in English.

Haha, I am the same way. The fact that at least half of English songs fly right over my head is why I don't get discouraged even a little bit if I fail to understand a song in French. :-)

I think it may have something to do with deciphering language in the presence of other noises, a task I have always found difficult, even in English.

Edited by tastyonions on 28 September 2013 at 6:03pm

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wber
Groupie
United States
Joined 2702 days ago

45 posts - 77 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Vietnamese, French

 
 Message 28 of 32
28 September 2013 at 10:13pm | IP Logged 
1e4e6 wrote:
I am not sure if I am the only one, but I have major problems understanding lyrics of any
language, even in English. Usually the only method whereby I can remember a song is by
the tune, barely by the lyrics. When I was younger, I remember having to read the lyrics
on the lyricsheet inside of the record sleeve, cassette or CD sleeves. I have to do this
for the Beatles, Dylan, etc. Even slow songs such as Celine Dion's song in 1997 I
probably understood only 30% of it, despite being a native English speaker. So if I do
not understand lyrics of foreign language songs, I do not feel so bad.



Nope you're not the only one. Happens to me too. My formula is listen to song, find song on YouTube and
listen to it with lyrics, then lastly get song stuck in my head for the next week.

I'm an American so here's my point of view. We're spoiled rotten. Moving on, I watched Sherlock, a modern
British adaptstion of Sherlock Holmess and I could only understand about 70% of what the actor said. Slang
not included. Now, whenever someone spoke with an Irish accent, all I could here wre sounds barely any
words so don't worry about it. I think though, native speakers might have an easier time dealing with hard to
understand accents because they can learn by association. Basically new word= this word, okay I see the
picture now I know what it means instead of searching the dictionary for 3-4 entries.






1 person has voted this message useful



Bao
Diglot
Senior Member
Germany
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Joined 4167 days ago

2256 posts - 4045 votes 
Speaks: German*, English
Studies: French, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin

 
 Message 29 of 32
29 September 2013 at 1:31am | IP Logged 
tastyonions wrote:
For fun I like to show this video
to learners of English, warning them beforehand not to be discouraged if it's a bit
difficult. :-)

This makes me feel like I ought to take an interest in American English accents. Sadly, I don't particularly like SAE or CNN English, so I tend not to listen to American English when I can avoid it. But their accent is very interesting. I understand more than when listening to most Swiss German speakers, so it can't be that hard.

montmorency wrote:
Was hoping to find a hilarious example of Valleys talk...
not really hilarious, but interesting

Gosh he's cute. And really easy to understand. Something inside me whispers 'Daffyd' though.



As for the original question, I had my first reality check when I had to realize that I didn't know the words for most common household contraptions in English. Or if I did, then only as passive vocabulary. And why should it be otherwise? I'd never used those words before. My English is good in some areas, but in others ... there's still a lot of room for improvement. My passive skills are generally better, and my communication style - usually speaking calmly, deliberately - makes most people respond in the same manner. Which is much easier to understand than the local accent they use otherwise. I actually make a habit out of trying to understand people when they are talking to local native speakers, but then I steer the conversation with me toward a more standard variant to remind them that even when I understand most of what they are saying, I am a stranger - a really nice, polite stranger whom they might want to assist - and there are customs and words I don't understand yet.

And well, it's not like I understand everything people might say in their particular variant of German. Sometimes people say weird things. Sometimes I'm tired and just don't get it. There's always something new I can learn, and possibly get used to understanding even when I'm tired or preoccupied. There's no use in beating myself up over not understanding when I can spend the time learning to understand. (Now just how to extend that attitude to speaking and my reaction when I meet people who despite a fairly low starting level manage to communicate just fine, because they don't let embarrassment and insecurity slow them down ...)

Edited by Bao on 29 September 2013 at 1:37am

2 persons have voted this message useful



Alphathon
Groupie
Scotland
Joined 2581 days ago

60 posts - 104 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: German, Scottish Gaelic

 
 Message 30 of 32
30 September 2013 at 4:06pm | IP Logged 
eyðimörk wrote:
When it comes to English, I remember having quite recently moved to Aberdeen (Scotland). I was walking my bicycle up this enormous hill and the wind was so bad I could barely move. A very old gentleman came walking down the pavement next to me, nodded in a friendly manner, and said, roughly transcribed: "Eesskrauwkin av-vy towdee!" I still have no clue what it was doing heavily that day, but I'm guessing from context that it had something to do with the wind.


Since that was in Aberdeen it was probably Doric, which is a dialect of Scots rather than English (which is debatably a separate language that developed separately from Scottish Middle English).

I've lived in Moray all my life and even I don't understand a lot of it. To be fair, here it is more restricted to rural areas, and difficulty in understanding is also exacerbated by the significant differences that exist between villages - the Doric-speaking communities are pretty insular.

Without hearing the original it's difficult to say what he may have meant. For example, he may not have said "heavy" at all, but rather some Doric word such as "affa"/"awfa"/"awfae" (which is rather common, and basically means "awful(ly)").
1 person has voted this message useful



electrotechnica
Newbie
United States
Joined 2500 days ago

1 posts - 1 votes
Studies: Latin

 
 Message 31 of 32
02 October 2013 at 6:38pm | IP Logged 
English is my native tongue (I'm American), and I had trouble understanding people in Scotland. I'm white
and from New England (northeast section of the US), and as a teenager I was speaking to some black kids
from Louisiana, which is in the southeastern US. Like many other places, people in the US of various
regional and ethnic backgrounds have their own idiom or dialect. I could not understand these kids at all. Not
all English dialects are mutually intelligible.
1 person has voted this message useful



eyðimörk
Triglot
Senior Member
France
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Joined 2500 days ago

490 posts - 1157 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*, English, French
Studies: Breton, Italian

 
 Message 32 of 32
03 October 2013 at 11:47am | IP Logged 
Alphathon wrote:
Since that was in Aberdeen it was probably Doric, which is a dialect of Scots rather than English (which is debatably a separate language that developed separately from Scottish Middle English).

I've lived in Moray all my life and even I don't understand a lot of it. To be fair, here it is more restricted to rural areas, and difficulty in understanding is also exacerbated by the significant differences that exist between villages - the Doric-speaking communities are pretty insular.

Without hearing the original it's difficult to say what he may have meant. For example, he may not have said "heavy" at all, but rather some Doric word such as "affa"/"awfa"/"awfae" (which is rather common, and basically means "awful(ly)").

Ay, fit like? :) I'm familiar with the concept of Doric, but I've never heard anyone suggest that it wasn't a variety of English before.


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