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

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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, …

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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  • 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. 1 Dig 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. 2 Get 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. 3 Study 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. 4 Use 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. 5 Brush 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. 6 Keep 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. 7 Observe 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? f t in Choose from 90+ languages and start learning now! Get more language- learning advice! SIGN UP FOR A FREE TRIAL OF TRANSPARENT LANGUAGE ONLINE SUBSCRIBE TO THE LANGUAGE NEWS BLOG