I’m listening as fast as I can! Part II

Yesterday we talked about rate of speech and it’s affect on non-native speakers understanding native language speakers.  Today we’ll look at the affect rate of speech has on how easily non-native speakers are understood.

We learned that if we are having difficulty perceiving a sound or word our brain has trouble keeping up.  It may still be working on the first word when the next word is spoken.  Accented speakers are not using the sounds and/or words native speakers expect. So the native speaker can not process the language as quickly.

In addition to mispronouncing sounds, accented speakers may leave out sounds or words. These omissions increase as the rate of speech increases.  Accented speakers may be nervous about speaking, which increases rate.  They may “hurry” through words they have difficulty saying. All of this makes it more difficult to be understood.


  • Think SLOW
  • Take time to pronounce each word and all the sounds in each word
  • Pay particular attention to the “ending” sounds in the word
  • If you aren’t sure how to pronounce a word ask

When you slow down you may feel like your mouth is moving a lot and this is a good thing, because it allows you to more precisely articulate (make) each sound.

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