Lesson Transcript

When learning a new language, everyone should have an ultimate goal to work towards. Whether you want to be able to connect with a relative, easily order food while traveling, or go somewhere new, having an end goal for your learning can be very motivating.
A popular but challenging goal is being able to speak like a native speaker. It's difficult to measure exactly when you reach this goal, and it's not something you can pick up using textbooks alone. So how do you work on making your speech more natural? That's what we're going to look at today!
Here are 3 tips to help you practice talking like a native speaker.
1. Focus On Vocabulary
If your goal is to speak like a native, you might be really focused on speaking quickly or using as many complex grammar patterns as possible. But in our native languages, we're not always trying to speak as fast as possible, and we use complex grammar patterns when necessary, not to show off. Vocabulary, however, is extremely important to expressing ourselves naturally. Your choice of words can reveal a lot about you and your understanding of the language.
Most learners have had the experience of using a phrasebook or a dictionary to find a word they want to use, trying the word in conversation, and getting a look of confusion from the native speaker. In some cases, although your word choice may be grammatically correct, the word may be inappropriate for the situation or totally unnatural. This is especially important in business and other formal situations, where the right level of formality and professionalism is key. Being able to understand nuances and vocabulary words can also help you understand relationships between people (just by listening to the conversation). Try to listen to many different types of conversations - listen to how people talk to their friends, their superiors, and in customer service situations. This will give you a better idea of how to talk to others naturally.
In some languages, you can omit words from sentences or use more direct communication styles. It's important to be aware of these things so you can apply them yourself!
Colloquialisms and slang are also commonly used in most languages. As this sort of vocabulary is always evolving, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest words. Talk with native speakers and consume media in your target language to make sure you pick up these kinds of expressions. Media is a great resource for your learning!
Ultimately, knowing the appropriate vocabulary to use for each situation will really help you sound more knowledgeable.
2: Perfect Your Accent
With every language, there are unique pronunciation and intonation challenges. Some languages are tonal languages, and a change in pitch can completely change the meaning of a word. Then there is the fact that most countries have multiple dialects, and so people from one area of the country may sound different from those in another. So, what is the best way to listen to a wide range of accents and different pronunciations?
Video and audio resources are a great way to do this. YouTube is a perfect place to start because people from all kinds of different backgrounds upload videos to the platform. You can watch educational videos, daily life vlogs, cooking shows, a travel series -- whatever interests you! Pay attention to the different ways people speak - everyone is unique! And then, practice speaking like them! This kind of practice can help you sound more natural.
One note: Please be aware of the type of resources you’re using. For example, if you find a video where a speaker uses a rare dialect, it might not be a good idea to use that for your pronunciation practice (unless you have a special reason for studying a specific accent). As a general rule, it's best to try to search for practice resources that use a standard form of the language you're studying.
3. Copy What You Hear
Do you remember how you learned to speak as a child? We rarely learned new words just listening to them (or reading, after we learned how). When we were little kids, we imitated the sounds we heard by repeating the sounds out loud. While you are talking to a friend, watching videos, or listening to audio in your target language, you can do this to try and replicate the way they speak.
Doing this will help you work on mastering the flow of the language, your accent, intonation, and pronunciation. Of course, you might also pick up some new vocabulary this way. Make sure to repeat new words often! It's a great way to make sure you remember them.
Try doing this using a number of different mediums and sources. That way, you’ll be exposed to the diversity that the language offers and master the fundamentals of pronunciation. For example, you can watch and imitate several different YouTube videos and audio CDs, but try a few different sources (like different creators or different audio types) to make sure you experience a wide range of communication in your target language.
If you're using our language learning program, you can even get your own teacher with Premium Plus. Your teacher can answer questions, give assignments, and even listen to your recordings and give you advice on pronunciation. Completing these kinds of lessons with a native teacher can really boost your confidence in your speaking skills.
Becoming able to speak like a native is a popular goal for many people learning a new language. It feels great to be able to communicate smoothly -- especially when the people you're talking to expect basic-level sentences or broken communication. Try using the tips we've shared in this video to work on improving your speaking skills!
Of course, it will take time and persistence, but the reward will be more natural communication!
And for even more tips on speaking check out our complete language learning program. Sign up for your free lifetime account by clicking on the link in the description. Get tons of resources to have you speaking in your target language. And if you enjoyed these tips, hit the "like" button, share the video with anyone who's trying to learn a new language, and subscribe to our channel. We release new videos every week! I'll see you next time. Bye!