I have difficulty understanding dialogue in movies when the characters speak fast.

For example, I was watching The Lord of the Rings and became frustrated with my listening comprehension. I could not understand many sentences Gandalf said; when I turned on the subtitles there was not a word I did not know, but when he said it I just could not understand it.

This happens in other movies and even daily conversations. I tend to be better at catching the end of a sentence than the beginning. I’ve been in the UK for ten years now, so I don’t know what could be causing this, and since I don’t know its cause, I have no idea what to do to fix or improve it.

How can I improve my comprehension of rapid dialogue?

  • 1
    So do I, a native speaker. Dec 27, 2013 at 15:30
  • I don't mean to be alarmist, but you might be a little deaf! Deafness tends to present as 'fuzzy' hearing more than an inability to hear, things sound muddled or indistinct. If it's really happening all the time, maybe ask your doctor to administer a hearing exam.
    – Abernasty
    Dec 27, 2013 at 17:09

2 Answers 2


It may not have anything to do with you. It could just be the characters speaking very fast, or having an accent which makes it hard to understand. Perhaps it could be the background noise.


Watch movie in your native language subtitles....


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