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My friend is going to pay me a visit in a few days. He comes from another city (Shiraz, I live in Isfahan). The problem is that he is heavily accented (I don't know if heavily word is correct here or not). I had trouble with understanding the voice messages he sent me, so I ask him to send text messages ever since.

I'm afraid that when we meet, I might be unable to understand his words. How do I deal with this situation?

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    heavily accented is a good way to describe this. – Bryan Turriff Dec 6 '17 at 17:52
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The best way to broach this is to be honest and tell him that you have a hard time with accents - make it clear that you are not criticizing his way of speech or his accent in particular, but rather you have a difficult time with accents other than your own. This is important so that he knows you are not making fun but want to understand him more clearly.

Once you've established this, you should repeat phrases you are not sure of to be certain you understand (it is just as rude to nod along like you understand when you don't). You can ask him to repeat or speak slower - always putting the deficiency back on yourself.

Having lived in multiple parts of the US, with a wide range of accents, and traveled worldwide, I know that I can sometimes be hard to understand - set the expectation that they may need to be patient with you and you should be in good shape.

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