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What does it take to sound like a native in a foreign language?

by Emma Cooper

Nowadays acquiring new skills is the key to success in every area of human life. In order to be successful and happy, to be able to reach goals, fulfill plans and improve the standard of living, modern person needs to learn not only those materials that are given at schools and universities but also master public speaking, time management, psychology, etc. Together with these skills, many people improve memory, creative thinking, leadership skills and the ability to read and write fast. And of course, there is a category of people for whom learning of foreign languages has become a real passion.

The popularity of learning of foreign languages is growing with every day. People want to be better educated, and the knowledge of the language is an integral of a good education. What is more, now almost every person has the ability to travel abroad for vacation, work, in order to broaden the mind or learn a new culture. And how is it possible to communicate without knowing a word from a foreign language? That is one of the reasons this skill is so important today. Another reason is that many companies send their employees abroad to get experience and for advanced training and very often knowledge of at least one foreign language is required to get a position. And of course it is better when a person sounds like a native speaker, but all languages have got so many different peculiarities so that that accent can extradite us.

First of all, it is important to understand that there nothing to worry about the accent. The main thing is not to distort words and speak clearly. This is especially true about English, where many people speak with an accent, even more often than without it. This does not mean that one should not strive to pronounce words in a foreign language correctly. Good and fluent speech is one of the distinguishing features of an educated person. Almost every person wants to be the best at what he or she does. So, who will not like to sound like a native? How can one learn to speak without accent or at least reduce the emphasis to a minimum? First of all, every skill requires lots of practice and here are a few useful tips.

1. Repeating

While learning language repetition is very important. The learner should repeat everything he hears in the literal sense. For example, repeat after actors in the movie, after speakers in the exercises, after his favorite singers in their songs. At first, it may seem to be stupid, but this discomfort will pass with time, but a useful skill will remain. The most important is to repeat all the words aloud.

2. Watching for stress

A significant part of the language consists in a certain arrangement of stresses. In different languages, stresses are put differently, and that affects the pronunciation greatly. People are often accustomed to certain repetitive patterns of accent in their native language and unconsciously reproduce these schemes while speaking in a foreign language. It is necessary to get rid of this consciously, paying attention to where the emphasis is placed on the language under study.

3. The usage of the mirror

Sometimes it is not possible to reproduce the correct sounding of language aurally; some sounds are completely missing in the native language. A mirror is very useful in this situation. Lips, tongue and teeth and involved in pronunciation. That is why practicing pronouncing words in front of the mirror, making sure that the lips and tongue move in the same way as the foreigner is also very useful. It's best to do this with a teacher or a native speaker who can show you how to do it correctly, but videos, for example, from YouTube are also good for this purpose.

4. Learning how to pronounce phrases

Many words in combination with others are pronounced differently than separately. Therefore, when training pronunciation, it is good to work not only separate words but also the whole phrases. Another reason is that accent is recognized not only in words, but also in sentences, and one of the key components of natural, fluent pronunciation is the correct rhythm of speech.

5. Recording the speech

Many mistakes in pronunciation are made unconsciously. They are not connected with insufficient knowledge, but with a deep-rooted habit of speaking in the mother tongue. To fix this kind of problem, it is recommended to record the voice on audio. One method is to read and record a small piece of text, and then listen and compare it with the variant where the native speaker read it. Nowadays, with the help of the internet, it is not a problem to find audio files in different languages. After doing it person pays attention to your most frequently repeated mistakes in pronunciation, and it helps to correct them.

About the writer

Emma Cooper is a blogger and works as an editor. She has a Master's Degree in literature and loves both reading and writing about books and literary topics. She also helps students with their literary assignments - articles, essays and summmaries of books, you can see her works at the freebooksummary website.

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