#115 - A Simple Tip for Understanding More English

November 10, 2021

One simple thing you can do to understand native speakers and express yourself better.

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[00:00:00] What's up, everybody? You're listening to another episode of Life in English. I'm your host, Tony Kaizen. And this episode should be short and sweet because I just got a simple tip for you. A simple tip to help you understand and learn more English. Roll the intro.

[00:00:16] INTRO MUSIC

[00:00:21] The Life in English Podcast is designed to teach you the real American English that you won’t learn in school, and it’s made possible by our VIP community. By becoming a VIP member of the Life in English Community, you get access to our private conversation group, bonus podcast episodes, interactive transcripts, and vocabulary and grammar guides. If you’d like to join the community, you can visit lifeinenglish.net/vip

[00:00:47] A very common problem that many English learners have is that they can't understand native speakers when we talk. Mainly because we speak really fast or we use lots of expressions and slang and just things that you don't necessarily learn in school. So a lot of times in conversation, English learners find themselves just lost. They don't really know what to say or how to react or how to move the conversation forward and things like that. 

[00:01:13] So many times English learners will enter a conversation in defense mode, you know? Like in a game of football or soccer, basketball, whatever you have offense and defense. When you're on offense, you're attacking, you're trying to score. When you're on defense, you're defending and you're trying to stop the other team from scoring.

[00:01:29] So I'm going to use that analogy kind of, to explain what I mean. So a lot of learners of English, they go into a conversation playing defense. They're just trying not to lose the game. They're just trying not to ruin the conversation. They're trying not to sound like an idiot, or get lost, or whatever it is.

[00:01:45] And although I can understand that, I just don't think it's the right mentality to have. Because most English learners in a conversation with somebody, whether it's a native or not, they find themselves in a situation where they don't understand what's being said. They miss a word or an entire expression, or they just don't get the idea of what's being said.

[00:02:05] And in that situation, what most people do is pretend that they understand what's going on. So if I say something to you and there's a few words that you've never heard, you don't understand, you don't get the idea, you'll just let me keep talking and talking and talking, even though you have no idea what the fuck I'm talking about. Because you don't want to be rude and interrupt me, or you don't want to seem stupid for not understanding what I'm saying. You don't want to feel uncomfortable by asking me to repeat myself, especially more than once. Things like that, right. 

[00:02:39] And then in situations where it's your turn to express yourself and you don't know how to say what you want to say, what most people do in that situation is simply try to skip over what they were trying to say. They just say, “Oh, nevermind, forget it.” Or they'll completely skip that idea and just keep talking without actually explaining themselves. 

[00:02:58] And to me that just doesn't make any sense, man. The point of doing a language exchange or talking to real people in English is to learn more. So if you're doing everything you can to avoid those difficult situations, you're not learning anything. You're not learning. 

[00:03:15] So my recommendation to you is to go on the offensive. Stop playing defense. Stop being worried about ruining the conversation or seeming stupid or asking somebody to repeat themselves or explain themselves. Stop worrying about the consequence of doing those things.

[00:03:30] It makes absolutely no sense because if you don't do those things, you won't learn. And when it's your turn to talk, stop worrying about the fact that you don't know a particular word or you can't express the idea exactly the way you would like to. Because, unless you try to do those things, you'll never learn. That's just how it works. 

[00:03:49] You have to allow yourself to be helped. Somebody can't help you if you won't let them help you. And somebody can't help you if they don't know you need help. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:03:59] So the simple tip I have for you, like I said, is to go on the offensive and what I mean, when I say that, is to be intentional with your conversations.

[00:04:07] So in the context of you listening to somebody, if somebody says a word that you don't understand, stop them and ask them, “What does that mean?” Four simple words. “What does that mean?” And guess what happens when you do that? They explain to you what it means. Bam. You just learned a new word. If somebody uses an expression that you've never heard before, that's kind of confusing, stop them and ask them, “What does it mean?”

[00:04:37] 'Cause so many people like, especially me, cause I've been teaching English for a couple of years now, I've had so many conversations with people who are learning English and especially if we're speaking face to face or on a video call or something like that, I can see in your face you don't understand what I'm saying. I can see in your face I said something that confused you. I can hear based on your response, you didn't really understand what I said. 

[00:05:00] So what's the point in trying to hide the fact that you misunderstood or that you're lost in the conversation? That guarantees you're going to make yourself look stupid because now you're going to say something that has nothing to do with what I just said, or now you're going to completely miss something I said and lose the meaning of the conversation.

[00:05:17] And then we just have these unnecessary misunderstandings. And then you don't learn, you don't grow. And we don't connect the way that we could have if we had simply taken the time to find common understanding between us. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:05:31] So it's like... Don't be afraid to ask somebody, “What does that mean?” That's exactly how you learn what something means, and the best part about it is you're learning it in the context of conversation. So you have context to add to the word, which means you're more likely to remember it. You're more likely to use it naturally, just like that native speaker. You see what I'm saying?

[00:05:55] There's nothing wrong with asking somebody to repeat themselves, even multiple times. It's, like, you're learning English. Of course you're not going to understand everything the first time perfectly. Maybe not even the second time. That's why it's important to find a teacher or a language exchange partner that has the time, the patience, and the interest in helping you, you know? That's why it's so important. Because once you have that, you should be asking hundreds, millions of questions. Ask them anything that comes to mind, you know? 

[00:06:26] Don't let somebody say a word or a phrase that you don't understand and just continue the conversation. That makes no sense. No sense. And it's the same thing when you're speaking, if you don't know how to say something, ask them how you say it. Just describe the idea, and ask them, “Is there a word to describe that?” “Is there an expression to describe that?”

[00:06:47] And then once they tell you, you can even go further and say, “Is that formal or informal? Is that considered slang? In which context can I use that? Are there any other meanings to this word? Is that rude?” You know, stuff like that. 

[00:07:00] So the simple, I said a lot, but the simple tip, in its essence, is ask more questions. Ask more questions. There's nothing wrong with that. If you don't ask, you will never know. You know what I'm saying? So many people make that mistake because they're just so afraid of what the other person's going to think, or the effect is going to have on the conversation. 

[00:07:22] But when you're asking questions, that means you are interested. And I've never seen somebody get upset or irritated because somebody was interested in them or what they had to say. That's a good thing. That means you're listening. That means you're paying attention, which makes the other person feel good. It makes them want to talk to you more. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:07:41] When you pretend like you understand everything that's going on, you're only increasing the chance that you're actually going to ruin the conversation, which is what you don't want. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:07:53] You pretend that you understand, you don't learn the things that you should be learning, you don't understand the other person. What's the point of that? You know? So stop being so afraid. I mean, you can't control how you feel, but stop letting your fear influence all of your decisions. 

[00:08:12] It's normal to be anxious or afraid, or get nervous when speaking to somebody in a foreign language and you don't know how to express yourself, it's frustrating at times. But so what? It's part of the process. You feel me? Everybody goes through it, you know? 

[00:08:27] But it's the ones that understand, “If I don't ask, if I don't try, if I don't make the mistake and get corrected, I'll never learn.” It really is that simple. And it's the same thing with speaking and I'm being redundant at this point, I think. I'm saying the same thing again and again, but it really is the same thing with speaking. If you don't ask somebody how you can express a particular idea or feeling, and in which context and things like that, you're not going to learn. That simple. 

[00:08:55] So you want to understand more natives, ask them questions when they're speaking, ask them what do they mean by that? What do you mean? What does that expression mean? Or if you hear a sound or a word just politely, “Oh, excuse me, one second. You said this, this and this. What does that mean? What do you mean by that? Oh, oh, I understand. So is that slang? Is that informal? When can I use that? Is there another way to say the same thing?” Stuff like that. That's good. That's positive. 

[00:09:31] That's going to help you learn and understand more when you're listening to natives and when you're speaking. So hopefully you can get the idea I'm trying to express here, and hopefully you actually take the advice and start to apply it. Because every day, man, so many people like my English students, people have done language exchanges with, it's like...

[00:09:55] The same way people think just watching Netflix is going to make them fluent in English, which it’s not, people also think, “If I just talk to people, then I become fluent.” But it's not that simple. You have to be intentional with your actions. You have to have a game plan, a method to the madness. You see what I'm saying?

[00:10:13] Just talking, of course, you'll pick up on things here and there. But asking intentional questions, searching for understanding, making sure you understand every single thing. Now that you have the human in front of you, why wouldn't you ask them everything that's in your mind? Like, people pay teachers for that and you have a language exchange partner and you're not even using them correctly. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:10:37] I don't know, just a simple tip, man. I don't want to take any more of your time. I think I got my point across. Pretty sure you understand what I'm trying to say. So if you haven't done this already, if you're not doing this at the moment, just give it a try, man. Ask more questions. 'Cause that leads to more understanding, that leads to better conversations, deeper connections.

[00:10:58] Everybody wins in that situation. You will never go wrong genuinely and honestly, and respectfully searching for understanding. How could there be a bad thing? You know what I mean? But so many people try to avoid it to protect their egos, to avoid uncomfortable situations, to avoid looking like an idiot or ruining the conversation, whatever it is. So many people try to avoid it, which is why they don't learn, or it takes them forever to learn simple things. 

[00:11:30] So you want to know more? You want to understand more? Ask more questions and ask better questions. That's it. Peace.

[00:11:41] OUTRO MUSIC

[END OF PODCAST]

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[00:00:00] What's up, everybody? You're listening to another episode of Life in English. I'm your host, Tony Kaizen. And this episode should be short and sweet because I just got a simple tip for you. A simple tip to help you understand and learn more English. Roll the intro.

[00:00:16] INTRO MUSIC

[00:00:21] The Life in English Podcast is designed to teach you the real American English that you won’t learn in school, and it’s made possible by our VIP community. By becoming a VIP member of the Life in English Community, you get access to our private conversation group, bonus podcast episodes, interactive transcripts, and vocabulary and grammar guides. If you’d like to join the community, you can visit lifeinenglish.net/vip

[00:00:47] A very common problem that many English learners have is that they can't understand native speakers when we talk. Mainly because we speak really fast or we use lots of expressions and slang and just things that you don't necessarily learn in school. So a lot of times in conversation, English learners find themselves just lost. They don't really know what to say or how to react or how to move the conversation forward and things like that. 

[00:01:13] So many times English learners will enter a conversation in defense mode, you know? Like in a game of football or soccer, basketball, whatever you have offense and defense. When you're on offense, you're attacking, you're trying to score. When you're on defense, you're defending and you're trying to stop the other team from scoring.

[00:01:29] So I'm going to use that analogy kind of, to explain what I mean. So a lot of learners of English, they go into a conversation playing defense. They're just trying not to lose the game. They're just trying not to ruin the conversation. They're trying not to sound like an idiot, or get lost, or whatever it is.

[00:01:45] And although I can understand that, I just don't think it's the right mentality to have. Because most English learners in a conversation with somebody, whether it's a native or not, they find themselves in a situation where they don't understand what's being said. They miss a word or an entire expression, or they just don't get the idea of what's being said.

[00:02:05] And in that situation, what most people do is pretend that they understand what's going on. So if I say something to you and there's a few words that you've never heard, you don't understand, you don't get the idea, you'll just let me keep talking and talking and talking, even though you have no idea what the fuck I'm talking about. Because you don't want to be rude and interrupt me, or you don't want to seem stupid for not understanding what I'm saying. You don't want to feel uncomfortable by asking me to repeat myself, especially more than once. Things like that, right. 

[00:02:39] And then in situations where it's your turn to express yourself and you don't know how to say what you want to say, what most people do in that situation is simply try to skip over what they were trying to say. They just say, “Oh, nevermind, forget it.” Or they'll completely skip that idea and just keep talking without actually explaining themselves. 

[00:02:58] And to me that just doesn't make any sense, man. The point of doing a language exchange or talking to real people in English is to learn more. So if you're doing everything you can to avoid those difficult situations, you're not learning anything. You're not learning. 

[00:03:15] So my recommendation to you is to go on the offensive. Stop playing defense. Stop being worried about ruining the conversation or seeming stupid or asking somebody to repeat themselves or explain themselves. Stop worrying about the consequence of doing those things.

[00:03:30] It makes absolutely no sense because if you don't do those things, you won't learn. And when it's your turn to talk, stop worrying about the fact that you don't know a particular word or you can't express the idea exactly the way you would like to. Because, unless you try to do those things, you'll never learn. That's just how it works. 

[00:03:49] You have to allow yourself to be helped. Somebody can't help you if you won't let them help you. And somebody can't help you if they don't know you need help. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:03:59] So the simple tip I have for you, like I said, is to go on the offensive and what I mean, when I say that, is to be intentional with your conversations.

[00:04:07] So in the context of you listening to somebody, if somebody says a word that you don't understand, stop them and ask them, “What does that mean?” Four simple words. “What does that mean?” And guess what happens when you do that? They explain to you what it means. Bam. You just learned a new word. If somebody uses an expression that you've never heard before, that's kind of confusing, stop them and ask them, “What does it mean?”

[00:04:37] 'Cause so many people like, especially me, cause I've been teaching English for a couple of years now, I've had so many conversations with people who are learning English and especially if we're speaking face to face or on a video call or something like that, I can see in your face you don't understand what I'm saying. I can see in your face I said something that confused you. I can hear based on your response, you didn't really understand what I said. 

[00:05:00] So what's the point in trying to hide the fact that you misunderstood or that you're lost in the conversation? That guarantees you're going to make yourself look stupid because now you're going to say something that has nothing to do with what I just said, or now you're going to completely miss something I said and lose the meaning of the conversation.

[00:05:17] And then we just have these unnecessary misunderstandings. And then you don't learn, you don't grow. And we don't connect the way that we could have if we had simply taken the time to find common understanding between us. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:05:31] So it's like... Don't be afraid to ask somebody, “What does that mean?” That's exactly how you learn what something means, and the best part about it is you're learning it in the context of conversation. So you have context to add to the word, which means you're more likely to remember it. You're more likely to use it naturally, just like that native speaker. You see what I'm saying?

[00:05:55] There's nothing wrong with asking somebody to repeat themselves, even multiple times. It's, like, you're learning English. Of course you're not going to understand everything the first time perfectly. Maybe not even the second time. That's why it's important to find a teacher or a language exchange partner that has the time, the patience, and the interest in helping you, you know? That's why it's so important. Because once you have that, you should be asking hundreds, millions of questions. Ask them anything that comes to mind, you know? 

[00:06:26] Don't let somebody say a word or a phrase that you don't understand and just continue the conversation. That makes no sense. No sense. And it's the same thing when you're speaking, if you don't know how to say something, ask them how you say it. Just describe the idea, and ask them, “Is there a word to describe that?” “Is there an expression to describe that?”

[00:06:47] And then once they tell you, you can even go further and say, “Is that formal or informal? Is that considered slang? In which context can I use that? Are there any other meanings to this word? Is that rude?” You know, stuff like that. 

[00:07:00] So the simple, I said a lot, but the simple tip, in its essence, is ask more questions. Ask more questions. There's nothing wrong with that. If you don't ask, you will never know. You know what I'm saying? So many people make that mistake because they're just so afraid of what the other person's going to think, or the effect is going to have on the conversation. 

[00:07:22] But when you're asking questions, that means you are interested. And I've never seen somebody get upset or irritated because somebody was interested in them or what they had to say. That's a good thing. That means you're listening. That means you're paying attention, which makes the other person feel good. It makes them want to talk to you more. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:07:41] When you pretend like you understand everything that's going on, you're only increasing the chance that you're actually going to ruin the conversation, which is what you don't want. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:07:53] You pretend that you understand, you don't learn the things that you should be learning, you don't understand the other person. What's the point of that? You know? So stop being so afraid. I mean, you can't control how you feel, but stop letting your fear influence all of your decisions. 

[00:08:12] It's normal to be anxious or afraid, or get nervous when speaking to somebody in a foreign language and you don't know how to express yourself, it's frustrating at times. But so what? It's part of the process. You feel me? Everybody goes through it, you know? 

[00:08:27] But it's the ones that understand, “If I don't ask, if I don't try, if I don't make the mistake and get corrected, I'll never learn.” It really is that simple. And it's the same thing with speaking and I'm being redundant at this point, I think. I'm saying the same thing again and again, but it really is the same thing with speaking. If you don't ask somebody how you can express a particular idea or feeling, and in which context and things like that, you're not going to learn. That simple. 

[00:08:55] So you want to understand more natives, ask them questions when they're speaking, ask them what do they mean by that? What do you mean? What does that expression mean? Or if you hear a sound or a word just politely, “Oh, excuse me, one second. You said this, this and this. What does that mean? What do you mean by that? Oh, oh, I understand. So is that slang? Is that informal? When can I use that? Is there another way to say the same thing?” Stuff like that. That's good. That's positive. 

[00:09:31] That's going to help you learn and understand more when you're listening to natives and when you're speaking. So hopefully you can get the idea I'm trying to express here, and hopefully you actually take the advice and start to apply it. Because every day, man, so many people like my English students, people have done language exchanges with, it's like...

[00:09:55] The same way people think just watching Netflix is going to make them fluent in English, which it’s not, people also think, “If I just talk to people, then I become fluent.” But it's not that simple. You have to be intentional with your actions. You have to have a game plan, a method to the madness. You see what I'm saying?

[00:10:13] Just talking, of course, you'll pick up on things here and there. But asking intentional questions, searching for understanding, making sure you understand every single thing. Now that you have the human in front of you, why wouldn't you ask them everything that's in your mind? Like, people pay teachers for that and you have a language exchange partner and you're not even using them correctly. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:10:37] I don't know, just a simple tip, man. I don't want to take any more of your time. I think I got my point across. Pretty sure you understand what I'm trying to say. So if you haven't done this already, if you're not doing this at the moment, just give it a try, man. Ask more questions. 'Cause that leads to more understanding, that leads to better conversations, deeper connections.

[00:10:58] Everybody wins in that situation. You will never go wrong genuinely and honestly, and respectfully searching for understanding. How could there be a bad thing? You know what I mean? But so many people try to avoid it to protect their egos, to avoid uncomfortable situations, to avoid looking like an idiot or ruining the conversation, whatever it is. So many people try to avoid it, which is why they don't learn, or it takes them forever to learn simple things. 

[00:11:30] So you want to know more? You want to understand more? Ask more questions and ask better questions. That's it. Peace.

[00:11:41] OUTRO MUSIC

[END OF PODCAST]

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Transcript

[00:00:00] What's up, everybody? You're listening to another episode of Life in English. I'm your host, Tony Kaizen. And this episode should be short and sweet because I just got a simple tip for you. A simple tip to help you understand and learn more English. Roll the intro.

[00:00:16] INTRO MUSIC

[00:00:21] The Life in English Podcast is designed to teach you the real American English that you won’t learn in school, and it’s made possible by our VIP community. By becoming a VIP member of the Life in English Community, you get access to our private conversation group, bonus podcast episodes, interactive transcripts, and vocabulary and grammar guides. If you’d like to join the community, you can visit lifeinenglish.net/vip

[00:00:47] A very common problem that many English learners have is that they can't understand native speakers when we talk. Mainly because we speak really fast or we use lots of expressions and slang and just things that you don't necessarily learn in school. So a lot of times in conversation, English learners find themselves just lost. They don't really know what to say or how to react or how to move the conversation forward and things like that. 

[00:01:13] So many times English learners will enter a conversation in defense mode, you know? Like in a game of football or soccer, basketball, whatever you have offense and defense. When you're on offense, you're attacking, you're trying to score. When you're on defense, you're defending and you're trying to stop the other team from scoring.

[00:01:29] So I'm going to use that analogy kind of, to explain what I mean. So a lot of learners of English, they go into a conversation playing defense. They're just trying not to lose the game. They're just trying not to ruin the conversation. They're trying not to sound like an idiot, or get lost, or whatever it is.

[00:01:45] And although I can understand that, I just don't think it's the right mentality to have. Because most English learners in a conversation with somebody, whether it's a native or not, they find themselves in a situation where they don't understand what's being said. They miss a word or an entire expression, or they just don't get the idea of what's being said.

[00:02:05] And in that situation, what most people do is pretend that they understand what's going on. So if I say something to you and there's a few words that you've never heard, you don't understand, you don't get the idea, you'll just let me keep talking and talking and talking, even though you have no idea what the fuck I'm talking about. Because you don't want to be rude and interrupt me, or you don't want to seem stupid for not understanding what I'm saying. You don't want to feel uncomfortable by asking me to repeat myself, especially more than once. Things like that, right. 

[00:02:39] And then in situations where it's your turn to express yourself and you don't know how to say what you want to say, what most people do in that situation is simply try to skip over what they were trying to say. They just say, “Oh, nevermind, forget it.” Or they'll completely skip that idea and just keep talking without actually explaining themselves. 

[00:02:58] And to me that just doesn't make any sense, man. The point of doing a language exchange or talking to real people in English is to learn more. So if you're doing everything you can to avoid those difficult situations, you're not learning anything. You're not learning. 

[00:03:15] So my recommendation to you is to go on the offensive. Stop playing defense. Stop being worried about ruining the conversation or seeming stupid or asking somebody to repeat themselves or explain themselves. Stop worrying about the consequence of doing those things.

[00:03:30] It makes absolutely no sense because if you don't do those things, you won't learn. And when it's your turn to talk, stop worrying about the fact that you don't know a particular word or you can't express the idea exactly the way you would like to. Because, unless you try to do those things, you'll never learn. That's just how it works. 

[00:03:49] You have to allow yourself to be helped. Somebody can't help you if you won't let them help you. And somebody can't help you if they don't know you need help. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:03:59] So the simple tip I have for you, like I said, is to go on the offensive and what I mean, when I say that, is to be intentional with your conversations.

[00:04:07] So in the context of you listening to somebody, if somebody says a word that you don't understand, stop them and ask them, “What does that mean?” Four simple words. “What does that mean?” And guess what happens when you do that? They explain to you what it means. Bam. You just learned a new word. If somebody uses an expression that you've never heard before, that's kind of confusing, stop them and ask them, “What does it mean?”

[00:04:37] 'Cause so many people like, especially me, cause I've been teaching English for a couple of years now, I've had so many conversations with people who are learning English and especially if we're speaking face to face or on a video call or something like that, I can see in your face you don't understand what I'm saying. I can see in your face I said something that confused you. I can hear based on your response, you didn't really understand what I said. 

[00:05:00] So what's the point in trying to hide the fact that you misunderstood or that you're lost in the conversation? That guarantees you're going to make yourself look stupid because now you're going to say something that has nothing to do with what I just said, or now you're going to completely miss something I said and lose the meaning of the conversation.

[00:05:17] And then we just have these unnecessary misunderstandings. And then you don't learn, you don't grow. And we don't connect the way that we could have if we had simply taken the time to find common understanding between us. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:05:31] So it's like... Don't be afraid to ask somebody, “What does that mean?” That's exactly how you learn what something means, and the best part about it is you're learning it in the context of conversation. So you have context to add to the word, which means you're more likely to remember it. You're more likely to use it naturally, just like that native speaker. You see what I'm saying?

[00:05:55] There's nothing wrong with asking somebody to repeat themselves, even multiple times. It's, like, you're learning English. Of course you're not going to understand everything the first time perfectly. Maybe not even the second time. That's why it's important to find a teacher or a language exchange partner that has the time, the patience, and the interest in helping you, you know? That's why it's so important. Because once you have that, you should be asking hundreds, millions of questions. Ask them anything that comes to mind, you know? 

[00:06:26] Don't let somebody say a word or a phrase that you don't understand and just continue the conversation. That makes no sense. No sense. And it's the same thing when you're speaking, if you don't know how to say something, ask them how you say it. Just describe the idea, and ask them, “Is there a word to describe that?” “Is there an expression to describe that?”

[00:06:47] And then once they tell you, you can even go further and say, “Is that formal or informal? Is that considered slang? In which context can I use that? Are there any other meanings to this word? Is that rude?” You know, stuff like that. 

[00:07:00] So the simple, I said a lot, but the simple tip, in its essence, is ask more questions. Ask more questions. There's nothing wrong with that. If you don't ask, you will never know. You know what I'm saying? So many people make that mistake because they're just so afraid of what the other person's going to think, or the effect is going to have on the conversation. 

[00:07:22] But when you're asking questions, that means you are interested. And I've never seen somebody get upset or irritated because somebody was interested in them or what they had to say. That's a good thing. That means you're listening. That means you're paying attention, which makes the other person feel good. It makes them want to talk to you more. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:07:41] When you pretend like you understand everything that's going on, you're only increasing the chance that you're actually going to ruin the conversation, which is what you don't want. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:07:53] You pretend that you understand, you don't learn the things that you should be learning, you don't understand the other person. What's the point of that? You know? So stop being so afraid. I mean, you can't control how you feel, but stop letting your fear influence all of your decisions. 

[00:08:12] It's normal to be anxious or afraid, or get nervous when speaking to somebody in a foreign language and you don't know how to express yourself, it's frustrating at times. But so what? It's part of the process. You feel me? Everybody goes through it, you know? 

[00:08:27] But it's the ones that understand, “If I don't ask, if I don't try, if I don't make the mistake and get corrected, I'll never learn.” It really is that simple. And it's the same thing with speaking and I'm being redundant at this point, I think. I'm saying the same thing again and again, but it really is the same thing with speaking. If you don't ask somebody how you can express a particular idea or feeling, and in which context and things like that, you're not going to learn. That simple. 

[00:08:55] So you want to understand more natives, ask them questions when they're speaking, ask them what do they mean by that? What do you mean? What does that expression mean? Or if you hear a sound or a word just politely, “Oh, excuse me, one second. You said this, this and this. What does that mean? What do you mean by that? Oh, oh, I understand. So is that slang? Is that informal? When can I use that? Is there another way to say the same thing?” Stuff like that. That's good. That's positive. 

[00:09:31] That's going to help you learn and understand more when you're listening to natives and when you're speaking. So hopefully you can get the idea I'm trying to express here, and hopefully you actually take the advice and start to apply it. Because every day, man, so many people like my English students, people have done language exchanges with, it's like...

[00:09:55] The same way people think just watching Netflix is going to make them fluent in English, which it’s not, people also think, “If I just talk to people, then I become fluent.” But it's not that simple. You have to be intentional with your actions. You have to have a game plan, a method to the madness. You see what I'm saying?

[00:10:13] Just talking, of course, you'll pick up on things here and there. But asking intentional questions, searching for understanding, making sure you understand every single thing. Now that you have the human in front of you, why wouldn't you ask them everything that's in your mind? Like, people pay teachers for that and you have a language exchange partner and you're not even using them correctly. You see what I'm saying? 

[00:10:37] I don't know, just a simple tip, man. I don't want to take any more of your time. I think I got my point across. Pretty sure you understand what I'm trying to say. So if you haven't done this already, if you're not doing this at the moment, just give it a try, man. Ask more questions. 'Cause that leads to more understanding, that leads to better conversations, deeper connections.

[00:10:58] Everybody wins in that situation. You will never go wrong genuinely and honestly, and respectfully searching for understanding. How could there be a bad thing? You know what I mean? But so many people try to avoid it to protect their egos, to avoid uncomfortable situations, to avoid looking like an idiot or ruining the conversation, whatever it is. So many people try to avoid it, which is why they don't learn, or it takes them forever to learn simple things. 

[00:11:30] So you want to know more? You want to understand more? Ask more questions and ask better questions. That's it. Peace.

[00:11:41] OUTRO MUSIC

[END OF PODCAST]

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