With teacher Georgiana since 2011.

#221 Understanding someone with 
a strong English accent

Welcome to the Speak English Now Podcast, your resource for practicing your English speaking and listening. You will also learn about lifestyle and culture, language, vocabulary, and how to learn English more effectively.


In today’s episode, I will discuss how to understand people with strong English accents.

And with a point-of-view lesson, you’ll practice vocabulary and improve your grammar without memorizing boring rules. 

Hi, everyone! I’m Georgiana, founder of SpeakEnglishPodcast.com.

My mission is to help you speak English fluently.

Do you know how you can help me? You can share the podcast with your friends and family. Tell them to go to SpeakEnglishPodcast.com and get my free mini-course.

That would mean a lot to me. Thanks.

Awesome! Let’s get started!

Very often, I hear people speaking English with a strong accent. That’s because their native language sometimes has a strong influence on the way they speak English.

Have you ever traveled to another country and tried to speak their language?

Then you’re probably aware that some locals experienced difficulties understanding you and that not everybody was patient. Some people got very impatient and sometimes even rude.

That’s why you should be patient and encouraging whenever you talk to people with a strong accent because they are usually aware that you may have difficulty understanding them.

Therefore, be honest with your conversation partner. Don’t pretend you understand the person if you can’t comprehend what they are saying.

And don’t be afraid to hurt the other person’s feelings. Being honest doesn’t necessarily make you rude.

Instead, use a polite phrase to say that you have some difficulty understanding. 

Ask the other person to speak more slowly. Say something like this:

 “I’m sorry, but I’m having some difficulties understanding you.” or “Can you please speak a bit more slowly?”

Don’t try to understand every single word. Instead, make an effort to grasp the overall meaning. This way, you will be able to participate in the conversation.

You’ll need to relax, listen to meaningful words, and observe as a listener. Use as many contextual clues as possible.

Listen very carefully to give all the feedback you can to the speaker.

Use your facial expressions to give feedback. 

  • Nod when you get the meaning.
  • Smile when the topic is engaging.
  • Frown when the content is about some problem.

Learn how to listen without interrupting:

If you can understand the main point but are unsure about some words that don’t seem relevantignore them and don’t interrupt.

However, when you don’t seem to understand keywords or relevant ideas, you’ll need to interrupt by using a phrase like this one:

“Excuse me; I don’t quite understand.” “Could you please say that again?”

Ask questions: 

Help the speaker by asking questions like: “Do you mean that…?” or “Are you trying to say that….”

Like this, the speaker will feel that you’re genuinely interested in the conversation.

And keep smiling, show respect, and have fun communicating with people from all around the world. 

By the way, if you want to know how to speak English using the right techniques, visit SpeakEnglishPodcast.com and subscribe to my mailing list. I will send you my 5-day video course so you can learn how to speak English fluently. And it’s completely free.



  • Audio MP3 (right-click to save the audio)
  • Get the transcript in PDF here.

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Can you understand a conversation in English but still can’t speak? With the Fluency course, you will speak English automatically.




With Georgiana’s method  I have started speaking English from minute one and this is exactly what I needed. With the traditional method you will practice grammar, grammar and grammar, but with Georgiana’s method you will practice listening and speaking and in my opinion this is the most important thing when you are learning a new language. Ricardo

“Thanks to Georgiana, I have lost my fear of speaking English. I have eliminated my frustration and started to enjoy this language.” Miriam

“I did not study English when I was a child. I contacted Georgiana at a time when I felt blocked. She has helped me to lose my fear of speaking English.” Ana