Cara's fast, natural English podcast
About This Show
Cara's fast, natural English podcast helps you master conversational English.
Want to test and improve your understanding of conversational English? Take the Leo Listening Level test to get feedback and improve. Just click the link below.
Most Recent Episode
#18 What You Should Listen To
6 days ago
2 weeks ago, I told you that you shouldn’t listen to TED talks.
This episode is now my most popular one on Soundcloud.
It seems you like to be told what’s not good for you.
So let’s talk about what you should listen to.
First a disclaimer though.
Only you can decide what you should listen to.
I don’t like telling people what they should and shouldn't listen to in English. Because, unless you’ve told me, I don’t know why you’re learning. And before you choose to listen to anything, you should ask yourself “why?”.
Why am I working on my comprehension skills?
What do I want to understand?
Only you can answer that. Then you’ll know what you should listen to.
Now you’re confused though. You’re thinking, wait a second. Why are you telling us what we should listen to then?
Let’s talk about my why. I started this website for students who struggle to understand conversational English.
That’s you if you find TED talks ok to understand. But you would worry about chatting to that TED speaker over a coffee. And you still need subtitles to understand the dialogue in the films and series you watch.
That said, if you want to listen to the news or watch documentaries because your aim is to
watch and understand them in real life, by all means, keep doing it.
But if you’re living in an English-speaking country. Or you’d like to one day. Or if you have to interact with English-speaking colleagues. Or even if you just want to understand shows and films without subtitles, you need a different approach.
TED talks, documentaries, the news - won’t help you with those comprehension problems.
You need to expose yourself to conversational English with all its particular difficulties.
No slides, no pauses for effect, and no internal organisation like a presentation to help you follow. When you transcribe a presentation or speech it looks almost like normal written language. When you transcribe conversational English, it looks like an incoherent mess.
Casual, not careful pronunciation and delivery of words. In more academic types of English (speeches, talks, news etc), speakers take more care to pronounce words and use intonation for effect. This makes it easier to understand their message. In conversational English, we make less of an effort, we relax our pronunciation. And make some words sound completely different you how you’d expect.