There is often a big difference between written English and spoken English. Which means you have to learn mostly with your ears.
How to understand English is a very common question. I’ve met a lot of students who are puzzled about why they do not understand native speakers. They say, “I read many books, I work hard, my grammar is good, but when I speak to a British or American person, I don’t understand anything”. There is often a big difference between written English and spoken English. Which means you have to learn mostly with your ears, not your eyes.
Learn contractions. Starting with the most common verbs like be, have, will. In written English, you may see something like:
You are from Russia, are you not? A native speaker would say- You’re from Russia, aren’t you?
In spoken English we always contract, especially in songs, for example. You da one. In proper written English, this chorus is: ‘You are the one’, which can be contracted to, ’you’re the one’, but Rihanna goes even further and reduces ‘the’ to ‘da’, and drops the ‘are’. As a result, we hear ‘you da one’.
Here is another example: ‘all about that bass’. Grammatically, she is singing, ‘I am all about that bass’. We hear, ‘am allabout dat bass’. ‘I am’ becomes ‘am’, ‘all about’ is phonetically linked into ‘allabout’, ‘that’ is reduced to ‘dat’.
Learn reduced forms, as I mention before, ‘you da one’. ‘Da’, is reduced form of ‘the’. And there are quite a few of these in the English language. For example:
Have got to=Gotta,
‘You have to learn them’. Or I should say, you’ve gotta learn them. Or I can reduce it even further and say, ‘ya gotta learn em’.
Why have you got to be so rude? i.e. why are you so rude? But it’ reduced to, why you gotta be so rude?
Questions can also be difficult sometimes, most commonly, with ‘do you, would you, and will you’. Look at these questions:
Do you enjoy dancing? A native speaker would say, D’you enjoy dancin? The consonant ‘g’ is even dropped at the end of ‘ing’. Another example:
I would like a pint of beer? – is, I’d like apint avbeer?
Learn to stress you words correctly. If you are never sure how a word is stressed, you will never be sure what anybody is saying.
There is a big difference imPORT and IMport. Or INteresting and inteREsting.
If your pronunciation is always HOtel, you will not understand when a native speaker says hotEL.