Problems with language comprehension: what do you know is NOT what do you understand!

Hi everybody! I have the same problem that I think all have when you don't practise a language: comprehension.

So, I read in english (I had courses in the past as well),I use podcast, I watch movies in english with english subtitles,when is possible,but the best difficoulties remains .....comprehension! 

The strange thing is that, for example, if I watch a movie with subtitles I recognize most of,this is the prove that I know a lot of words,but,if I listen without help me with subtitles, I don' t recognize the same words and concepts.

Do you have any advices about this?

Thank you everybody!

Jan 3, 2016 4:53 PM
Comments · 8

I had the same problem and I decided to stop subtitles and try to understand anyway. It helped, but you have to be patient.

January 5, 2016

 You're expecting immediate results from your English learning. It takes time. Do you replay the podcasts and movies as many times until you get a better understanding? This really helps.

Also you didn't mention speaking. Speaking also assists your comprehension.

I had the same problem with French.

January 3, 2016
Listen, listen and listen... And try to understand what was said from context.
January 3, 2016

My advice, based on my experience is:

audio in English, subtitles in Italian, moreover you should 

be very quick to read the subtitles before hearing the sound.

Thjere is feature of our neurons and brain called 'primality',

that will guide your 'hearing neurons' towards the right words,

but, as you are getting the meaning in Italian, some work is left

on you to do and therefore you will learn (at least it is what happened to me).

In case you like 'Friends' (the serial) that is good although it is

not British English.

January 5, 2016

Do not forget to write.


Have you tried finding a language exchange partner here ?


Try to read the discussions to get the best advice. Abdo is right.


As you live in Rome, there must be meetup groups, where English speakers attend with Italian speakers.


I'm also trying to see if singing songs, in the language I'm learning, will help. However, my voice, in any language, is!


Good luck.


January 5, 2016
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