3 tips for sounding like a native speaker


Hi again, welcome back to www.engvid.com. I’m Adam.
Today, I’m going to help you sound a little bit more like a native speaker, hopefully.
Students ask me all the time: “How can I sound like a native speaker?” Well, before I say
anything, let me just tell you that it will take time and a lot, a lot, a lot of practice.
The best way is to live in an English-speaking country, of course, but of course you can do
it anywhere, but it takes time; be patient, practice, practice, practice. So we’re
looking at pronunciation. Let me start with this word: “pronunciation”. Not: “pronounciation”.
It is not a pronoun. A pronoun is: “I”, “me”, “my”, “mine”. Pronunciation is
how we speak English. So I’m going to give you three tips that will help you sound a
little bit more like a native speaker. We’re going to start with connecting words.
Now, think about your own language, whether you’re speaking Spanish or Polish or Chinese,
you do this in your language as well. When you’re speaking fast, you’re taking words
and you’re squeezing them together; you’re connecting them, so one word flows into the next word.
That’s what we’re going to do here. You can connect consonants to consonants. What
this means: when a word ends in a consonant… A consonant is “b”, “c”, “d”, “f”, “g”, etc.
A vowel is “a”, “e”, “i”, “o”, “u”. When a word ends in a consonant and the next word
begins with the same consonant, drop the first one. So for example: we do not say: “black
coffee”, we don’t say: “ke, ke”. There’s only one “k”: “bla coffee”, “bla coffee.” Okay?
Practice that. Now, “t” and “d”, these are two different
consonants, but according to the tongue and the mouth, they almost sound the same so we
do the same thing. “Wha do you do?”, “Wha do you do?” But again, another thing you have
to keep in mind is when we say it fast, we also don’t really say “e”, we say like a… Sort
of like a small… We don’t say “o” – sorry -, we say sort of a small “e”. “Wha do ye
do?” Practice that. “Wha do ye do?” Strange, huh? No “t”, “wha”, “de ye do?”, “Wha de ye
do?” That’s how a native speaker would say it naturally. Now, another
thing is when a word ends in a consonant and the next word begins in a
vowel, make sure you roll it in. Right? Roll the consonant into the vowel and separate the
syllable before. A syllable is the vowel sounds in a word. Okay? So nobody, like native
speakers don’t say: “Not at all. Oh no, not at all.” We don’t say it like that. We say:
“Oh, not-at-all.”, “Not-at-all.”, “Not-at-all.” Right? The “t”, so this becomes: “No-ta-tall”,
“No-ta-tall”, “Not at all”. Okay? Say it quickly, blend the letters one into the next.
But again, practice it. Now, for those of you who are going to be
taking a test, an English test that involves listening; IELTS, TOEFL, TOEIC, if you’re
in Canada you’re maybe doing a CELPIP test. Okay? This is going to help you on the listening
section as well. This is one of the things they’re testing. Somebody on the recording
will say: “Not-at-all”, and you need to cut: “Not at all”, you need to understand the separate
words, that’s part of the test. So practice speaking it, practice listening to it. Another
thing we do is we squeeze some words. Okay? Certain words, we don’t say all the
syllables, we don’t even say all the letters. I’ve heard many students say: “Com-fort-able”,
“com-fort-able”, but native speakers, we don’t say this part, we don’t say the “or”. We say:
“Comf-ta-bil”, and notice the last sound is like a small tiny, tiny little “i” in there.
“Comftabil”, “comf-ta-bil”, “comftabil”. Okay? We don’t pronounce the “or”: “Comfortable”.
Nope, don’t do that. Another word like that: “Interesting”. “In-chre-sting”.
Find out what the syllables are so: “In-ter” – sorry, my mistake -, “In-ter-rest-ing”.
If you want to emphasize something, we have a word called: “enunciate”. When someone wants
to emphasize a word, then they enunciate each syllable; they say each syllable separately.
“Oh, that is very in-ter-est-ing.” Right? Because I want you to understand that the
word is interesting, but in every day speech: “Intresting”, “in-tre-sting”. “In-ter-est-ing”,
I have four syllables, when I actually say it naturally, it becomes three syllables and
the “t” and the “r” become like a “ch”, but that’s… We’ll talk about that next. Another
word: “every”. “E-vry”. I don’t say: “Ev-er-y”, I don’t say this letter “e”, “ev-er-y”.
“E-vry”, “evryone”, “evrything”, “evry”. Okay? Last: squeeze letters. Now, this is particularly
true for a few letters. When we have “tr”, “tr” together usually sounds like “chr” so
we don’t say: “country”, we say “cun-chry”, “cun-tree”, like a tree that grows but even
a tree is: “ch-ree”, “chree”. Okay? If you go out with your friends, you
go out for a “chreat”. Okay? Another one is “dr”, “dr” also doesn’t really
sound like “dr”. We don’t say: “Hun-dr-ed”. Okay? It’s too difficult for the tongue to
make the quick switch, so this sounds like “jr”: “Hundjred”, “hun-j-red”, “hunjred”. Now,
this goes with the first idea when you’re connecting words, but when you’re connecting
words and you have a “d” and a “y” together, it becomes like a “j” sound. “Di jou?”, “Di
jou?”, “Di jou?”, “Di jou do it?”, “Di jou do what I asked?”, “Di ja? Di ja?” Okay? So
we say it like that; very quick, very mixed and you have to practice these because it’s
more habit than anything else. Native speakers, we don’t think about doing these things; it
just rolls off the tongue just like that. Okay? But also, make sure you do a lot of
listening; listen to TV sitcoms, listen to the radio, lots of things on the internet,
ted.com for example you can hear native speakers all the time. And what you can do is you can
try to do dictation and try to listen and cut the words you hear into the actual separate
words that they are. Listen to individual words, and try to find their syllables. Okay? But
again, it’s just practice, practice, practice. And, of course, at www.engvid.com if you go
to the search box at the top of the site, we have a few more… We actually, we have
quite a few more pronunciation lessons. You can go there and become a more natural speaker of English.
Okay? Thank you for joining me today. Please go to the YouTube channel, my
channel on YouTube, subscribe. And I will see you again, really soon. Bye.

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