It is difficult to achieve a native level of English speaking. Language students spend years improving their speaking skills in order to speak like a native speaker, or at the very least, to achieve an advanced level of English. There are some tricks to speak effortless English just like native speakers do.
There are several benefits of sounding like a native speaker. The more you speak like a native speaker, the more easily locals will understand you. You can be less concerned about misunderstandings.
Be more confident when using English at work: If you use English at work, you will be much more confident if you sound like a native speaker. It is not only the language skills that are important but also the dedication and hard work required to get there. You will demonstrate to your colleagues that you know how to get results by becoming a native-sounding speaker.
If you can speak English like a native speaker, you will have more opportunities. Jobs requiring a native level of English will be available to you and the few others who achieve the same level. The competition is less fierce, and higher-paying jobs are more common.
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Familiarize yourself with different accents
Native English speakers have a wide range of accents. Someone from New York sounds different than someone from Texas. Go to YouTube and look for videos of people attempting various English accents. Not all are correct but they will give you an idea of how many different English accents exist. Here’s an excellent starting point.
Now analyze what kind of accent are you looking for. Consider the regions you want to visit and the cities you want to work in. Practice English speaking by focusing on your desired accent. This is pretty important to decide as it will make your study and practice more focused.
Replicate native pronunciation
Watching and imitating authentic English videos is a great place to start. You will be exposed to authentic English pronunciation and speaking styles. They also allow you to study the speakers’ mouth and lip movements in order to imitate them. After someone speaks, pause the video and repeat what they said. Subtitles can help you keep track of what you are saying.
There are tutorial videos (for example, BBC Pronunciation or Rachel’s English) and software that demonstrate the English lip and tongue positions for each letter of the alphabet and all combinations. We agree it is time-consuming, but learning them will help you pronounce words correctly, especially those with sounds that don’t exist in your native tongue.
So study them and practice them in front of a mirror. Repeat the process until it becomes muscle memory. You could even try videotaping yourself to track your progress. Examine your mouth and lips to see if you make any mistakes or struggle with any specific words. Repeat the difficult words until your mouth movements feel natural.
Master the flow of English
Pronunciation is important, but it isn’t everything. You can pronounce every single word correctly but still not speak like a native speaker. This is due to the fact that you must also have the proper flow. So, what exactly causes English to flow?
“Connected speech” is an important component. In English, this refers to the way the end of one word and the beginning of the next word sometimes interact. You need to:
Combine two sounds. When a word ends in a consonant sound and the next word starts with the same consonant sound, the two sounds are pronounced as one. For example, I’d decide later.
Connect two sounds. A native speaker would connect the consonant with the vowel if the first word ended with a consonant and the second word began with a vowel. For instance: I’d like a cheeseburger.
Get rid of a sound. When the sounds “t” or “d” occurs between two consonant sounds, they’ll often disappear completely from the pronunciation. For example: See you nex(t) month darling!
To speak faster, native speakers almost always use contractions (short words formed by combining two separate words). Common examples include:
– I + am = I’m
– I + will = I’ll
– do + not = don’t
– I + have = I’ve
– I + would= I’d
Listen for stress and rhythm in native English speakers. Native English speakers typically raise their voices and make a longer sound for the most important word. The up and down of the pitch of each word in a sentence is the musical feature of English.
The best way to learn English and its flow is to imitate native speakers. It is something you really need to hear and imitate over and over. According to research, we sometimes subconsciously imitate the behavior of others (without realizing it).
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Find a famous speech, a TED talk, or a song to mirror. Rap songs are ideal for this purpose. Take note of how a speaker emphasizes different words in a sentence, which results in a distinct rhythm.
Use slang often
Slang words and phrases are informal words and phrases. Slang is more common in conversation than in writing. Slang is also typically different in different communities, for example, slang in the Southern United States differs from slang in England.
But there are some examples of slang that a wide range of English speakers use, which you can learn. For instance:
– Wanna (Want to)
– Hang out (Spend time together)
– Gotcha (got you)
You will sound more fluent and native-level if you master this type of slang. Don’t look for slang in the news or formal speeches. Watch current TV shows or search YouTube for vlogs (video blogs). Because slang is regional, look for shows/videos set in the region with the English accent you want to learn.
The best way to learn slang words is to use them but remember the context. They should be used in informal settings only.
Learn idioms in English
Idioms in English are phrases whose meanings are not obvious from the individual words. Idioms may not be as common in informal speech as slang. However, native speakers may use idioms that confuse you at times.
If you are in a meeting and your colleague says, “You can’t see the forest for the trees,” you might be confused. Your conversation has nothing to do with trees or forests. This is due to her use of a common idiom. “You can’t see the forest for the trees” indicates that you are too involved in the details of a problem to comprehend the overall picture. Perhaps you focus too much on logistics and not enough on larger issues such as budget or deadlines.
It is also a good idea to keep a journal of the idioms you learn and their equivalents in your native language. This can help them stand out. If you hear an idiom but forget what it means, you can look it up in your diary.
Don’t be afraid to put them to use. You may not get them right the first time, but a kind native speaker may assist you with proper usage, which you will remember.
Q. How long does it take to sound fluent in English?
A. If you already have good clear English, you should expect to put in approximately 6 months of practice to sound like a native English speaker.
Q. Is it possible for native English speakers to make mistakes?
A. Because English is a difficult language, there isn’t always a direct correspondence between phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (written letters). As a result, spelling is one area in which native English speakers may make errors in written work.
Q. Do native speakers know grammar?
A. Most native English speakers do not learn English grammar. It is absorbed naturally by listening, imitating, reading, writing, and so on. But, if you are an English learner you need to learn English grammar.
Everyone wants to sound like native speakers. It may seem difficult but with the use of the right strategies, you can achieve this goal. While engaging in different English dialects look for the ways in which native speakers converse with each other.
There is plenty of English content available online. Learn through YouTube, have live conversations with native speakers, and most importantly, get yourself enrolled with italki if you want to learn English and become a fluent English speaker.