It happened so that I recently attended the criminal trial. What particularly amazed me there is how many people can't comprehend spoken English. DA asks questions in a very slow, clear, monotonous voice without any emotion, and questions are all grammatically correct. He obviously does this as a job for years. Yet, about half of the witnesses, one after another just don't understand his questions. They kept asking "Can you repeat the question?" And I could see the struggling expression on their face. Most witnesses were in 20-25 age range, all studied in the US high schools, and most have BA degrees of some kind.
The factor that triggered this, I think, is that questions were a bit more complex than usual, for example: When was the first time you met the defendant or anybody related to him in any way?
I didn't even go to English language high school, my school was in completely different language, and while seating in the last row in the audience, I still understood every single question, and I think almost every nuance of every question.
My question is:
- Is there an English word describing a person who can't comprehend the correct and clearly audible speech?
I can only wonder how much would they be able to comprehend when somebody would speak very fast and not very clearly.