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by Roger Easlick on July 1, 2014

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I would like to share with you three secrets to sounding like a native speaker when speaking a foreign language.

The first secret is that you want to imitate sounds and behavior of the person in the foreign language because the more that you imitate the sounds and not just the words, you’re going to pick up the intonation and the inflexion and you’re going to sound much more like a native speaker. But beyond that, if you pick up the gestures and the movements and the way that a native speaker holds him or herself, you’ll notice that that will actually help your ability to speak and make the sounds and have the intonation of a native speaker which brings us to the second technique which is imitating rhythm.

Listen to somebody talking a foreign language as if they were singing. Try to find the rhythm in the music behind the speech. If you imitate the rhythm then that will even if you mispronounce the word, you will sound much more like a native speaker than if you get the words right but it don’t have the correct rhythm.

The third thing I’d like to say really has to do with native English speakers. One of the biggest problems that native English speakers have is the R. The letter R is very unique within the languages and becomes a flag to other people from other countries to identify a native English speaker when he’s speaking a foreign language. But there is a trick in a way that you can eliminate this flag and speak a foreign language in a way that people won’t instantly recognize that you are of an English speaker and that is to make your R’s more like a D.

For example, in the Spanish word “pero” which means “but” is in the sense of “I would like to go but,” instead of saying the R normally, try to put your tongue at the top of your mouth or at the roof of your mouth and make it sound more like a D, pero. If you do that especially in languages like Spanish where you need to roll your R but you’re not able to it just like I’m not able to roll my R’s correctly, people will not recognize that you are an English speaker. They may think that you’re a foreign but at least they won’t think that you’re a native speaker and in doing so overall your speech will sound much more like a native speaker than if you said your R’s with an American accent or with an English accent.

Roger Easlick is passionate about languages and would like to share his techniques for learning languages with you. Please visit www.CrushALanguage.com.

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