A lot of student complain that native speakers speak too fast.
This is a common problem that students have difficulty getting past.
So in this article we will do three things...
- Explain the difference between native and none native speakers (how they listen and speak differently).
- Give you a step by step activity that will help you listen like a native speaker.
- Give you recommended resources and bonus transcripts to some of our recommended resources.
Grouping words is one activity that is part of our larger series of articles that focus on improving your listening.
Other articles in the series are...
What is the difference between native and none native speakers?
The first thing we need to do is walk you through the difference between a native English speaker and a non-native English speaker.
How do they speak and listen differently...
Non-native speakers: listen and speak words individually.
When you are first learning English you will be listening for words individually.
Example of How Non-Native Speakers Talk:
Speaking Words Individually
[Hello] [my] [name] [is] [Ryan] [and] [I] [want] [to] [speak] [English]
This will then be mirrored in your speech...
The examples we are using below are comparing an IELTS speaking 5 with the IELTS speaking 9.
Important: if you want to improve your speaking speed you will first need to improve your listening speed, you cannot improve your speaking speed before your listening speed.
Native speakers on the other hand will group the words they say a lot together.
Examples Of How A Native Speaker Talks (Grouping words)
Hello (maname) is Ryan and (Iwanna) speak English
This saves them time and increases their speaking and listening speed.
See the difference when comparing the 9 in the IELTS speaking exam to the 5
Native speakers do not do this to every word, but are more likely to group the most common words together.
The reason you cannot understand native speakers very easily is because they are grouping the common words together, this makes it sound like new vocabulary.
Fortunately this means that you can learn which words native speakers commonly group together to improve your listening and then speaking speed.
How Can I Improve My Listening Speed?
So we designed an activity around teaching you to recognize the words that native English speakers group together.
You will need:
- TV show (see below for our recommendations and why)
- Transcripts for the TV show (order here)
- Pen and paper
Step One Grouping Words Together:
Watch and listen to the TV-show of your choice and follow along with the transcripts.
Don't watch the whole video, watch around one minute of the video at a time.
This will allow you to focus and absorb what is happening in the video more effectively.
Step Two Grouping Words Together:
As you are following along to the videos all you need to do is circle the words that the speakers are grouping together.
What this activity is doing is training your ears to recognize which words the native speakers are grouping together.
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Step Three: Rewatch The Same Part Of The Video
Make sure you re-watch and re-listen to the video several times, until you cannot get anything else from the video.
Tip: The words that you have identified that native speakers group together, write them down and turn them into flashcards, this will allow you to recognize the words faster.
Step Four How Often To Practice With This Activity:
You will need to be practicing this activity at least once a week.
What is extremely important when you are practicing this material is you use related videos.
Either the same TV- show or similar topics.
If it's the same speakers, you will find it a lot easier to hear the words they are grouping together, this helps when you first start doing this activity.
If it is similar topics, then you will be able to quickly identify which words the speakers are grouping together for this topic.
Important: this activity will not teach you vocabulary and it is only going to be used to become used to how native speakers are grouping words together.
We recommend that you combine this activity with our activity on listening with transcripts, which is a similar activity designed to teach you vocabulary through context.
This activity is not going to teach you vocabulary, so we recommend you use our listening with transcripts activity the day before to learn new vocabulary.
- Listen to your chosen video for one minute.
- Circle the words that native speakers are grouping together.
- Listen to the same minute of the video until you cannot get anything else from that part of the video.
- Repeat for the rest of the video
Since native speakers do not group every word together and tend to focus around the most common words.
Then it makes sense to study using TV shows that are mainly focusing around the most common English words and phrases.
What we have found is that Disney shows are most suitable for this.
Disney TV shows have more complicated themes than younger kids shows, so they have to use the language in a variety of ways.
However, they don't use high level academic language.
Personally we recommend you use Recess for this type of studying...
Its all free and on YouTube so it is easy to find.
Native speakers don't group together random words, they tend to stick to the most commonly used words because they are used the most in conversations.
Although this activity can be used with any TV-Show or video we recommend that you use this activity with videos that focus less on high level language and more on the most common language used.
Grouping words is one of the most important activities that you can use to increase your English level.
Using videos that focus on the most common language used is the mot effective way to study using this activity.
However, transcripts are expensive, so we decided to give you the transcripts to the Two Recess videos that we used in this article.
Sign up to our free trial class to get the transcripts.
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Students who choose to study with us will get transcripts free transcripts to improve their listening speed.