Do English speakers have trouble listening to English movies?

i am not English native but I spent over 8 years growing up in England so I have no problem communicating and understanding the English language whatsoever, the only problem is when I watch English movies and when the actors are speaking in a whisper or low voice, most of the time I can't hear what they are saying so I have to use subtitles.

just curious, do native English speaker manage to hear every single word in a movie even when they are whispering in that scene?


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Yeah, sort of... The problem is that sound in movies these days has a very wide dynamic range - so the loud bits are louder and the quiet bits are quieter (both compared to older movies and to television) - making it difficult to hear quiet whispers without turning the volume up so high that louder noises become deafening. Watching movies at home on DVD or Blu-ray makes it even worse, due to the difference in the acoustics between a small front room and a big cinema. You need to use a player with a feature called "dynamic range compression", which will even out the volumes.

    Unfortunately, it's just one of those annoying trends - music is becoming louder and louder at the expense of quality ( link ), and most modern hifi systems / headphones have a greatly exaggerated bass and treble response that drowns out the midrange.

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What Girls Said 1

  • yeah sometimes I have a hard time understanding what they're sayin especially if they have a British or Austrailian accent or anything non-North American. sometimes I have no clue what's going on. especially if the background music is loud and annoying.

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What Guys Said 4

  • I am American so I speak American English, and I do often have trouble understanding some Britts in films. I'm sure Britts have trouble with some American actors, too...especially with southern or northeastern accents.

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    • it's not about the accent or the actual words they use but rather the simple fact that they speak so quietly or the background noise is strong loud that you can't hear what they are saying, that's my problem.

  • I am not a native English speaker and I don't have that problem. When I can't understand them sometimes is when there are loud sounds in a movie and they are talking, but when I have surround sound with a center speaker, where the dialogue usually is, I have no problem understanding. I don't know if native speakers have trouble understanding movies with dialogue garbled among loud noises.

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  • I've never had a problem with it ,no.

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  • I feel it is safe to say that one has to specify English as either British English or American English. Yes, they are slowly drifting further away from each other.

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