Why NOT to speak English faster in America as International ?

In What NOT to Do in US by Kumar4 Comments

Many of the internationals, especially Asians from the sub-continent,  tend to speak English so fast that the American counterparts may not understand a thing.  It may sound quite normal for the person speaking, but Americans may not comprehend much as you are speaking fast.  Lets see why it is important to speak slowly and how can you fix it.

Why do many Internationals speak at a Fast pace ?

It is an interesting question. The simple reason is that the mother tongue of internationals would not be English and they are used to speaking fast in their mother tongue.  When the same is applied to English, it gets tricky. Also, the fact is that, in their respective countries, the pace of their English may sound normal as many of them around speak at the same pace and comprehend the same.

Why NOT speak faster ?  Why Don’t Americans Understand when we speak faster ?

As internationals, we all tend to speak faster due to the nature of our general speaking habits. Second thing is that when we get excited or worried, we make it even worse and speak like someone is chasing us.  I remember my boss mentioning to me after the meeting, why were you speaking so fast, I could not understand much, please slow down next time. I felt bad, but that was good she told me.  Americans may not say it on your face, they will politely ask you to  repeat the sentence, if they did not understand.

The biggest challenge why Americans cannot understand, when we speak faster is because of couple of reasons. Firstly, the accent with which we all speak and secondly the speed at which they are presented to them.  It gets very hard when the accent is mixed up with the speed.   Also, many of you maybe from the British English background, it may be slightly different, nonetheless it also can play a role.

If you are a student, it may not impact you much, the professor or students will ask you repeat it again. But, if you are working and in a customer facing role, it really impacts your reputation for not being able to communicate well.

Speak Slowly – Practice – Get feedback

It may sound simple to tell someone to slow down, but the fact is that it is not very easy.  As internationals we all are used to speaking fast. It takes some effort and constant practice.  One of the ways to practice is to think of yourself telling a story to small kid.  When you are speaking to a small kid, you tend to slow down and speak very slowly….Apply the same principle and start to speak slowly.  Avoid being too excited or nervous when you are presenting or speaking to people.  Calmness of mind and emotion, will let you speak in control.  Always, get feedback from your listeners.  There is nothing wrong in checking with your listeners. Have a mentor like your American boss or your American friend, who can give you feedback on your English speaking skills.

What has been your experience in America speaking fast ?  Any other tips to slow down ?

 

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Comments ( 4 )

  1. Jun Nobles

    In the US for Asian born migrants, there are 2 kinds of English communication, 1. is the household English were American born used, they have these fancy words that you may encounter for the first time. 2. Is the Formal English which we learned from the textbooks we read and other reading materials we use for Education and paperbacks.

  2. AskMe

    Good advice ! America is land of immigrant and you will be surprised that you can survive in USA without knowing or speaking English whole life, may be that is another reason that you should speak slow to get other to understand you.

  3. Trevor Khurana

    A good point. However, a word of CAUTION when someone tries to speak American English “like” a born American. Speaking slowly is one thing, but trying to show that he or she was a born English speaker, when they in fact just sat on a transcontinental flight for the first time, it is so embarrassing to see such made- up accents.

  4. Dr. Sandeep Shankar

    Very helpful article. I always thought my English was very good. I learnt the hard way in the US that my colleagues could not understand a word or only half of what I was saying. Accent reduction and pace moderation are so important.

    Thank you!

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