Can’t understand native English, movies, Netflix series?



Why is it that you can understand some English speakers and not others? Why is it even harder to understand native English speakers in movies or Netflix series?

At the end of this, I’ll share how to learn English online with live native tutoring, with the opportunity to get 100% of your tuition refunded!!

This is how your English teacher talks. 

And this is how other people might talk.

A lot of people learn English through movies and Netflix series, becoming fluent for free and having fun doing it. Many of them never even took traditional English classes.

Then, there’s you. YOU probably learned English in a classroom. You are working hard, studying to memorize vocabulary, and grammar rules, and maybe you’re going to sit for a test like the IELTS or TOEFL. 

But none of these things prepare you to understand the real world of English speakers. In fact, tests like the IELTS and TOEFL have been engineered to keep regular people out of programs and opportunities, while rewarding rich students who have money for test-prep programs.

Maybe you feel like your English textbook has lied to you about what you really need to communicate in English. You’ve put English courses and test prep books on your credit card, but you still can’t speak with or understand native speakers.

In Netflix series and in American movies you hear slang words you never learned in class, accents that your teacher never showed you, cultural references that you never had time to discuss in class (or maybe your teacher didn’t even know), and most of all — a lot of dialogues that never made it into your textbook. Imagine if a movie had a scene about the famous textbook phrase, the book is on the table?!

Fluency seems like a distant dream. How do they do it? How do people understand and even learn English through movies and Netflix series?

Seeing all those people who learned English as a second language speaking fluently and confidently, it baffles you, especially at such a young age.

The dreams you have of speaking English fluently seem like just that – distant dreams. You realize that English classes are a joke, and you’re on the losing side of this kind of education that is not working.

But what if I told you this is wrong? There’s a way to get there. There’s an equation behind fluency! 

I’ll warn you it’s not always easy, it can be a challenge, but there are clear steps you can take on your own, for free, to reach fluency.

But at the end of this road lies freedom, the freedom of fluency and never having to take another class.

So, are you with me? Let’s get fluent. Let’s go.

What do you really think about fluency? Do you think that only other people, people who are smarter, younger or who have the chance to live abroad can reach it? 

Maybe you even look at people who become fluent in English with some disbelief. Did they pay a lot of money to study abroad? Or maybe they grew up with an English-speaking friend or family member? 

You look at people who have become fluent and wonder how did they get there? The truth is, they didn’t get there taking traditional English classes. They have a better formula for becoming fluent than you do.

So again you wonder, what is this formula?

Stop chasing fluency. 

Fluency comes to you in direct proportion to the amount you use English with real materials and in real conversations. 

After the high beginner level, you should be using native-speaker materials to learn like Netflix series, movies, books, etc, and having conversations with natives (and non-native speakers too of course).

If you keep speaking English, people will speak to you in English. Why? It’s about communication. And when you use more English, you’re giving yourself more chances to practice and learn. Even if you make mistakes, those are not bad. Those are changes to make and improve. 

If you want fluency, you shouldn’t be chasing fluency, you should be using English in every way possible.

Listen to the English around you, and if you don’t have English around you — create it!

Remember that understanding English can’t be done by reading about it. Speaking English can’t be done by reading the rules. It’s like trying to become a champion soccer player by reading about soccer on Google. 

There will always be someone better than you at English. Don’t chase perfection. Don’t compare yourself. English is about connection, not perfection.

Specifically, you need to stop chasing perfection in English and start chasing immersion or input. Increase the English that you expose yourself to — I’ve mentioned many ways to do this in previous videos over the past 9 years (Netflix series and movies are 2 great ways).

You must use native-speaker materials because here you will also get information about culture, pop culture and references that people make in communication. Do you know what MLK day is, or who JFK was? These are both important people in American culture and many of the English learners I’ve met do not have a clue who they are because their English textbook doesn’t use real-life examples. 

You need to get out of your comfort zone and make more native-speaker friends. Nowadays it’s not an excuse that you live in a non-English speaking country or you can’t leave your house — if you can get Internet service, you can get English-speaking friends.

You need to watch and listen to English with an active mind, making notes of what you’re learning. Don’t be passive or you’ll never remember it. 

Have fun, enjoy the journey, and be patient with yourself. It takes time.

So, you either will continue to use your time dreaming about becoming fluent in English or doing it. Which will you decide? 

For most of you, it’s not just about English. It’s about the freedom, the feeling, the ability to talk to anyone you want, and understand anything you want, when you want, without checking the dictionary or feeling confused.

The most important thing you can do is keep listening, keep speaking, and fail more, make more mistakes, make more misunderstandings, and learn from them.


Do you want to speak English like a native? Learn about the 20 differences between native and non-native English speakers. Click here.


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Picture of Gabby Wallace, M.Ed TESOL

Gabby Wallace, M.Ed TESOL

About the Author
Gabby Wallace is the Founder of Go Natural English, where you can quickly improve your confidence speaking English through advanced fluency practice. Even if you don't have much time, this is the best place for improving your English skills. Millions of global intermediate - advanced English students are learning with Gabby's inspiring, clear, and energetic English lessons. Gabby has a Masters Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages from Boston University and 20+ years experience helping students become fluent through her online courses and membership program.

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