Yesterday I talked to a friend of mine who has studied germanistics and knows a lot about phonectics. I mentioned that when I hear Spanish speakers speaking English or German I often have trouble understanding them due to the "melody" with which they speak; she explained that English and German are languages that - she phrased it in more scientific terms, but I don't quite recall them - use the syllables very differently from languages such as Spanish, and that for this reason Spanish people tend to "blend" the syllables in other languages, making the speech sound more "fluid", while I, as a German native speaker, probably sound "chopped" to them when I speak Spanish.
Another example is how Richard Simcott demonstrated different accents when speaking English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bppUq5IKZrM (starts at about 11:15).
In this subreddit I learned that this is called prosody, but I feel like I don't know what to do specifically to improve. How do you make sure you get the prosody right? Are there materials focused specifically on that? What exercises do you use to improve? How do you even hear the melody or rhythm, how do you know what to do differently?
Somewhat related - I have trouble understanding people who speak German in any different way; for example, if they have an accent (not if it's a slavic one, interestingly, maybe because my family are slavs), speak a dialect, or mumble even slightly - to the point that I can't enjoy some TV shows in my own language. I really try, but it's very difficult for me, and I do tend to avoid people for this reason as I don't want to appear rude. I know no one with a similar problem, and I don't have it to that extent in either English or Spanish. Why could that be, can anyone relate and could I do something about it, apart from practicing listening? Is it possible not to have an "ear" for this, and if so, how can you train it?
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