Have you studied English a lot, but feel unnatural when you speak as if you’re just translating from your native language word for word?.
With just a few modifications to your spoken English, you can sound a lot more natural and fluent in no time.
Throughout my time living abroad teaching English, I have noticed that a lot of people, especially those who haven’t had the opportunity to travel abroad, speak alike, and tend to make the same errors.
This is very common, probably due to the fact that the English learning culture here is very traditional and rarely diversified.
In this guide, you will learn the most efficient ways to improve your English and sound a lot more like a native speaker. I’m going to give you some great tips for many situations, and with just a few minor adjustments you will see how much your English improves.
Being able to speak English like a native doesn’t necessarily mean you have to speak with an English or an American accent. You can have perfect pronunciation, whilst still speaking with your native accent.
One of the most common mistakes made by non-native speakers is the “ED” used with regular verbs.
With verbs that end with a /T/ or /D/ sound, we fully pronounce the /ED/ sound for example: Want- WantED, Fade- FadED
All the rest of the verbs have just a single /D/ sound, for example:
Played/ PlayD Robbed/ RobD
For more tips on Pronunciation tips, take a look at a few popular articles on pronunciation.
- 7 Tips to Drastically Improve Your Pronunciation
- How to Reduce Your Accent in English
- Top English Mispronunciations mad by Brazilians
2 Rhythm and flow
Another great way to improve pronunciation and make your English sound more natural is through what we call the Mimic Method, created by fellow blogger and language teacher, Idahosa Ness. This method is based on learning English through memorizing and repeating songs in order to familiarize yourself with all the different sounds that make up the language.
[media url="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9hij0H8jp0" width="250" height="200"]
As we have explained in a previous article, How to Learn English with Rhythm and flow, you can learn a lot about the phonetic structure of a language just by singing along and repeating the lyrics of your favorite band or artist.
Read about and discover some other methods of learning through music with previous articles.
ENGLISH FOR BRAZILIANS
Vocabulary is another area we all have problems with when learning a new language. How many times have you been sure that you were using the right word and later realized you were wrong all along.
From a teachers perspective, I have targeted three very commonly mistaken areas in vocabulary which Brazilian have a tendency to have problems with.
1. False cognates- These are the words which look identical or very similar in both languages but have a different meaning. Learn more about false cognates here
2. Listen and hear- Brazilians tend to confuse these two words a lot. Never make that mistake again and learn how to use listen and hear here
3. Say Tell Talk Speak- Even as an English teacher these words are often confusing. Learn how to use Say Tell Talk and Speak here.
4 Discourse Markers
Imagine trying to speak Portuguese without using words like tipo, sabe, entende, ou seja and quer dizer. These little words are called discourse markers, and if you’re like most Brazilians you frequently use them while you speak in order to accentuate what you are saying, give yourself more time to think about what you will say next and to add a more natural flow to the conversation. You use discourse markers unconsciously when you speak Portuguese, but do you use them when you speak English?
Example of some common discourse markers used in written and spoken English:
- On the other hand
I know what you’re thinking, “get” is a bitch! Now it is time to make it your “BITCH.” You’re probably saying, in English get is used for everything, well, you’re right. “Get” has many uses, which we have explained the article how to use get, but in this article you’re going to memorize and never again forget the 2 most important ways to use get.
1. GET for ARRIVE – Chegar
2. GET before adjectives – “Ficar” antes de adjetivo
- I got tired at the show.
- I get angry when I have to wait in line.
- She got really excited when he her ex-boyfriend got arrested.
There is also a large amount expressions and phrasal verbs that we use with the word get, take a look and memorize them all here.
CALL TO ACTION
Now is the time to take your English to the next level. By making these quick and not so difficult adjustments, you can give your English a much smoother and more natural feel. Start doing this now and I’m sure you will see the benefits in no time.
For further information on this topic or others, please contact us at the Real Life English facebook page. If you aren’t already part of our international community don’t miss out on this opportunity to have constant contact with English speakers from all over the world for free
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