Improving Foreign Accent - Here’s How to Do It in 5 Languages
Want to wear out your foreign accent and speak like a native?
We all want to sound like native English speakers. That's the goal!
Some people find this last part of every language learning journey the hardest.
The part where you get to apply your knowledge, use that grammar you had to practice for so long, juggle with words, struggle when you don't know a word...
Well, these difficulties are common with foreign language learners.
We've all been there at least once, feeling embarrassed about our lack of vocabulary.
The first thing you need to do is relax.
No need to worry, no need to be stressed.
Ultimately, you are the winner because you are working on perfecting another language apart from your own native language.
You know how they say:
"Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language."
So true and so encouraging!
I always remember this saying when I struggle with my foreign languages. And it helps every time.
But the question is: How to improve our English speaking skills?
Apart from always having this motivational quote in mind, there are other things you can do perfect your skills.
We have prepared some suggestions that can help you with this.
Seat back and relax, because by the end of this article, your motivation will be boosted!
Surrounding yourself with English speakers is definitely the best way to practice speaking.
Although this is possible even in your country, there is still something special about practicing your skills doing everyday activities.
Bakery, shop, pharmacy, cinema... These are all places where your English speaking skills can blossom.
At first, it will be challenging; everything that's new is challenging. But no matter how hard it is in the beginning, this is the fastest way to improve your speaking skills.
Despite popular belief, it doesn't have to that expensive to travel or to go live in another country.
There are so many exchange programs online that you can apply for.
These can be short-term or long-term, students exchange or volunteering, paid or free.
The choice is yours! You only need to do some online research.
If you really want to live abroad, in an English speaking country, don't be lazy and go google it right now.
You can take part in language learning courses abroad which are usually a more expensive version, but I'd suggest you search for volunteer opportunities.
Personally, I've gone three times to France this way; three summers spent in volunteering camps so that I could practice my French skills. Don't let the word 'camp' scare you; we were not living in tents. Quite the opposite, I came back home 10 pounds fatter every summer! Let's leave that for another time when I can tell you more about this experience.
For now, it's up to you to choose how you want to work on your speaking skills.
If you want to travel, you will most definitely become fluent in no time.
But as you probably know, there are plenty of other silver linings if you choose to travel.
You will get to meet new people, make new friends, taste new foreign dishes...
The experience of a lifetime is guaranteed!
On another hand, if you are still not ready to take this step and go away for a month or more, then learning English with a tutor is the second-best option.
It's a way to surround yourself with English native speakers from your comfortable home.
So many people have already been in your shoes, and their way to overcome this difficulty was to hire a tutor.
Of course, you can always start learning English in your city by attending group sessions, but thanks to the internet you can start learning from home, individually, and at your convenience.
There are so many benefits of learning languages online and being able to find a native speaker online is one of them.
You and your tutor can work on your skills at your own speed.
One-on-one lessons are 100 percent more effective because if anything is unclear, you can stop and ask your tutor to explain it.
Native speakers can guide you and pass their natural language flow on you.
The more you speak with them, the better you will become.
With practice, you will stop asking yourself what's the correct form, is it 'he want or he wants' etc.
You will have a chance to learn popular slang, hear the correct pronunciation and then do the same until you become fluent and confident.
Another way to improve your English speaking skills is to make friends with foreigners in your city; they are always very open to meeting the locals and the local culture.
You can offer them a tour of your city and show them around, and they will certainly help you gain more confidence in your English skills and, most importantly, help you relax and enjoy the learning journey.
You can find them by attending international events, by joining international organizations or by hosting tourists while they are visiting your country.
Websites like Couchsurfing are an amazing and unique opportunity to host tourists. Very fun experience and a chance to speak in English for a few days while they are on your couch.
Explore your city a little bit more to find places that organize cultural gatherings, language nights, or similar events. These events are always exciting and full of interesting people.
It is completely understandable if you prefer to learn by yourself, or you are not ready to take that step in connecting with native speakers. Talking and reading out loud is a tip for you.
Start with reading the news out loud and really work on your pronunciation.
Read several times until you like what you hear.
Don't feel embarrassed! I can assure you we have all been there (at least I was).
Another way to go is to read a few paragraphs of your favorite book out loud and then to find an audio version of the same book.
Compare the narrator's pronunciation with yours. Note down your mistakes and repeat until you achieve perfection.
Apart from reading out loud, you could try to narrate your daily activities, for example: ''I am brushing my teeth.'', ''I am watching a movie'', ''Should I grab something to eat now or later?'' etc.
Tell yourself out loud what you are about to do. If you don't know how to say it, this is also good for learning new expressions that are daily necessities.
Whichever chance you get during the day to say something in the English language, seize it.
It's even better if you have friends who also want to practice speaking.
Go ahead and arrange a get-together. It might be a good idea to agree on a rule: you are allowed to use English and nothing but English - although it will seem odd in the beginning, this is a very fruitful way to improve your spoken English.
Those get-togethers might be in the form of movie nights so that they can get you in the right mood.
We mean movies in English, of course.
Turn off the subtitles, watch the whole movie in English and then talk to each other about it.
You would discuss the movie anyway, why not do it in English?
Any thought that goes through your mind can help you with your English skills. Translate it and say it out loud.
Use Google or your dictionary if you need help with translating. Really invest yourself in it, so that the translation is good and that it helps you improve.
Doubts like 'he want or he wants' will vanish.
The insecurities will vanish. You will stop making grammar mistakes.
The next time you have the same or similar thoughts, you will need less time to translate it.
And the best thing is that you will be 100 percent ready to talk to natives.
Also, try to talk to yourself spontaneously.
Make up a situation and act it out with yourself.
This is a great method to learn the usual conversation starters and greetings because they are practically always the same and with practice, you will be ready to use them in real life.
If you repeat this frequently enough, thinking and talking in the English language will become your routine. And when you think in English, you know English.
There was a reason somebody came up with tongue twisters, not just to torture students.
They can help you enhance your English pronunciation, learn vocabulary, have fun and improve your spoken English, all at the same time.
Try this one: ''She sells seashells by the seashore'' or try repeating this one ''Can you can a can as a canner can can a can?'' - not so easy, right? Well, practice leads to perfection, especially with language learning.
Tongue twisters are a great way to practice because you have to say them as quickly as possible.
If you master the quick pronunciation, the slow normal talking will be a piece of cake for you.
Again, I cannot repeat this enough, we are so lucky the internet exists!
There are so many resources online that can help you improve your language skills, like movies, TV shows, podcasts, audiobooks...
It might not seem that important and not directly speaking, but with all these resources you learn new words.
And as you enrich your vocabulary, you enrich your dialogues.
Don't think of this as studying. This is something you already do on a daily basis, but try to choose English speaking shows rather than your local shows.
Focus on what expressions they are using, google it if you are unsure and definitely repeat out loud.
If your country uses dubbed audios on movies, turn those off. Subtitles are the way to go!
With them, you won't miss any new or unfamiliar word.
You can pause whenever you want and check the meaning.
But what is important is that you will hear native speakers and learn from them.
Listen to how they apply every grammar rule that you've learned.
Listen to the words they are using.
How they talk to each other.
These are the things that you can later implement in your conversations.
If you have a favorite TV show (preferably a sitcom, like Friends), watch it on repeat.
You already know what's going to happen, so you can focus on their English and your knowledge.
I've learned so many new expressions thanks to repetitive binge-watching of Friends.
Another fun way to improve your skills, but highly effective too!
If you don't already know every word of your favorite song, stop reading right now and go find the lyrics to it.
Once you have learned every word, go and find an online video with lyrics so that you can sing along.
Not a fan of singing? Perfectly fine, you can read it out loud too.
Given the fact you will be repeating after the singer, you will have a good base to learn from.
Just like you've managed to overcome all those difficult grammar rules, perfected your writing skills and learned all those complicated words, you will manage to learn how to improve English speaking skills as well.
You will speak English fluently and confidently.
The most important advice to live by is: don't give up!
Never ever give up.
English is a wonderful language and having good speaking skills will make you stand out.
In your career and personal aspects.
Start with our tips and watch where they will take you - you will see huge progress in no time!
Let us know which one was the most beneficial and share your experience in the comment section below.
Good luck and enjoy the journey!
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