7 Ways to Blend in with Native Speakers (Even if You Don't Sound Like One Yet)


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Many language learners dream of being mistaken for a local. For most, that means working tirelessly to sound like a native speaker. But, when it comes to blending in with a new country and culture, it’s not just about your accent. There are plenty of ways to act like a native speaker, even if you don’t quite sound like one yet.

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7 Ways to Blend in with Native Speakers (Even if You Don't Sound Like One Yet)

  1. Ways to Blend in with Native Speakers (Even If You Don’t Sound Like One Yet) 7 Image © Baynham Goredema | Flickr
  2. It is the goal of many-a-language- learner to sound “like a native speaker”.
  3. That is a very respectable goal, of course. But…
  4. That is a very respectable goal, of course. But…
  5. That is a very respectable goal, of course. But… Sounding like a native speaker means mastering pronunciation, which takes a lot of time and practice.
  6. “Perfect” pronunciation is not the end-all-be-all of language learning. Accented speech can be perfectly intelligible.
  7. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to improve your language skills and blend in with native speakers, even if you don’t quite sound like one.
  8. 1Dig in to idioms
  9. Next time you hit the books to study a language, take some time to learn commonly used idioms. Image © snow0810 | flickr
  10. Without learning these expressions, you’ll have barely scratched the surface of a language.
  11. Idioms are ever-changing, and not easily learned from a textbook. Employing them in daily conversations is sure-fire way to give your language skills an edge.
  12. If you properly use idioms in the target language, blending in with native speakers will be a piece of cake. Image © DoremiGirl | Flickr
  13. 2Get the hang of slang
  14. Studying formal language use, such as proper verb conjugations or case marking, is important to reach an advanced level of proficiency.
  15. But, without a working knowledge of slang, your daily interactions with natives will often leave you confused. Image © Jonny Wilkins | Flickr
  16. If you’re abroad, simply listening to conversations around you is a great way to pick up on the current slang.
  17. If you’re not in-country, take to social media to find the current slang. Follow native speakers on Twitter and observe unfamiliar terms or expressions they use.
  18. Learner, beware! Slang terms come and go, so be careful not to pick up outdated expressions. That would be way uncool, man.
  19. Slang is unavoidable, no matter the language, so it’s best to get with it.
  20. 3Study synonyms
  21. An easy way to beef up your language skills? Build your vocabulary by studying synonyms! Image © Ian Britton | Flickr
  22. You can only describe something as “good” or “nice” so many times.
  23. Synonyms add color to what you’re saying. Instead of “good”, you could describe something as… great amazing fantastic breath-taking unbelievable wonderful …and so on!
  24. Invest in a thesaurus (or find one online) and get to memorizing!
  25. 4Use modifiers
  26. So, you’re tired. But are you really tired, sort of tired, wicked tired, or maybe just a bit tired? Image © Jared Wong | Flickr
  27. Modifiers allow your language to take on a more nuanced form, letting you express yourself more specifically and clearly.
  28. Study both intensifiers (words that emphasize adjectives like very or extremely) and mitigators (words that dull down adjectives, like somewhat or slightly).
  29. Modifiers will take your language skills from good to unbelievably good, and native speakers will take notice.
  30. Modifiers will take your language skills from good to unbelievably good, and native speakers will take notice.
  31. 5Brush up on linking words
  32. And then… and then… and then… and then...
  33. Tell a story like that and then everyone will know you’re not a native speaker.
  34. Image © Ruby Gold | Flickr Study linking words to help the flow of your speech in the target language.
  35. Add variety to your sentence transitions with linking words like… additionally nonetheless although while on the other hand consequently thus since …and so on!
  36. 6Keep up with pop culture
  37. Pop culture references dominate casual speech.
  38. No American can say the phrase “I’ll be back.” without at least being tempted to bust out their best Arnold accent. Image © Zero Emission Resource Organisation | Flickr
  39. Keeping up with movies, music, TV shows, and so on will not only help you pick up on references, but also give you something to talk about with native speakers!
  40. 7Observe body language
  41. We can’t discuss ways to seem like a native speaker without sounding like a native speaker without mentioning body language. Image © andrej | Flickr
  42. The ability to use and react to visual cues will separate a serious language learner from an amateur.
  43. Pay careful attention to how people interact with each other in different situations, including their posture, hand gestures, and facial expressions.
  44. But beware! Gestures and signals are NOT universal. A thumbs up in the United States is a-okay, but abroad, that may not be the case! Image © Sarah Reid | Flickr
  45. So there you have it. There are other facets to mastering a language beyond achieving the coveted native-like accent.
  46. Ready to sound more like a native speaker? Practice your pronunciation in 100+ languages with Transparent Language Online. FREE TRIAL