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Old American movies are easier to understand for non-native English speakers than new ones?

Okay, I feel like this is going to be a weird post, but I'm really curious...

I don't watch movies often but sometimes I still do it if I want to take my mind off something. And something I've noticed is that older movies are easier to understand than the ones made today. And I'm not talking about slang or whatever, I'm talking about those moments when you simply can't make out what the character is saying because they're not enunciating.

I've watched some old (let's say 20-30 years old) American movies such as Back To The Future, Home Alone, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, etc. Sometimes I couldn't understand what they just said and had to rewind that part to listen to that again. But with new movies, it's not just "sometimes", I have to rewind every five minutes because the characters just don't enunciate! I only realized it when I was watching an old movie yesterday and I felt comfortable because I could actually understand what the characters were saying and I thought to myself, it's so nice it's an old movie so I can relax instead of rewinding every few minutes, and then I realized it was true, new American movies are more difficult to understand!

Have you noticed the same thing? If you're an English learner, is it easier for you to understand old American movies rather than new ones? Am I going crazy? (ok please ignore the last question)

Mar 26, 2019 3:00 PM
Comments · 7
Maybe it's not 100% true but there must be something in it cause my aunt says that she  learned Italian from old classic Italian movies which she watched in tv and from ... soaps. I've never believed in her words but who knows ... maybe.... Hmmm I realy don't know. :-)
March 26, 2019
Indeed! Alycia, I'm definitely agree with you! I suppose what it can be because of picture speed movie. I mean, the story or action of new movie is more faster than subject in old one, but our brain has a habit to "eat" more and more suspenseful actions. Thus, over time, the old movies become uninteresting and we start missing words in speeches.
March 26, 2019

Yes, indeed.

And for me, movies from the 80's and 90's aren't that old. If you listen to old black and white movies, there is a world of difference.

In recent movies and TV series people mumble rather than speak.

March 26, 2019
Oh I'm so glad to hear it's not just me! Vladimir, you're right, looks like our human speech has become less articulate as globalization has swept across the globe... Which is challenging for language learners :)
March 26, 2019

I completely agree, and I'm a native English speaker :-) 

Another thing that is different today is how the sound is recorded for movies. They are intended to be played with surround sound decoding and the vocals are less emphasized. What you hear instead is the music, back ground sounds (closing door, wind, waves) and of course explosions etc.

Also if you go back to black and white movies they were made at a time when movies were meant to represent an ideal on how people were to dress, speak and act. So the English spoken is more often proper.

March 26, 2019
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