How to sound natural in English

How To Sound Nat­ur­al In Eng­lish

While there are lots of ele­ments to sound­ing nat­ur­al in Eng­lish, I’m going to talk about 4 things that I think are key ele­ments that you need to work on and mas­ter. These 4 ele­ments of how to get nat­ur­al Eng­lish, focus on supraseg­men­tal ele­ments of Eng­lish. That is stress, rhythm and into­na­tion.

1) Nat­ur­al Eng­lish- Right Syl­la­ble Stress in words

Because Eng­lish is a stress timed lan­guage, get­ting the stress pat­terns right in longer mul­ti­syl­lab­ic words is real­ly impor­tant to sound nat­ur­al.  You need to 1) attune your ear to hear which syl­la­bles in a word are stressed, and which de-stressed. In the de-stressed syl­la­bles the schwa vow­el replaces the writ­ten vow­el. 2) prac­tise say­ing the word with the cor­rect stress pat­terns. Often that means learn­ing to use the schwa vow­el in the de-stressed syl­la­ble. For exam­ple, it isn’t Around /raʊnd/ , but around /əˈraʊnd/. The ‘a’ becomes de-stressed .

You can find more in depth train­ing on this here.

2) Nat­ur­al Eng­lish- Right Word Stress in Sen­tences

Again because Eng­lish is a stress timed lan­guage, to speak with nat­ur­al Eng­lish, you need to learn to mim­ic the prosody (pat­tern of stress and into­na­tion), of Eng­lish in sen­tences.  In this case, this means stress­ing the words car­ry­ing the main mean­ing in a sen­tence, and often de-stress­ing the vow­el in the words that are unim­por­tant to the mean­ing.

For exam­ple, in the sen­tence ‘I was walk­ing to the kitchen with a heavy bag of veg­eta­bles.

The words car­ry­ing the main mean­ing are: I, walk­ing, kitchen, with, heavy, bag, veg­eta­bles.  These words are empha­sised.

The unstressed words in the sen­tence are: was, to, the, a, of. These words become un-stressed by replac­ing the vow­el with the de-stressed vow­el, the schwa sound /ə/.  So we say wəs, tə, thə, ə, əf.  Lis­ten to how I say the sen­tence and use the schwa vow­el in the audio below.

3) Nat­ur­al Eng­lish- Link­ing and Eli­sion

This is anoth­er impor­tant ele­ment to sound nat­ur­al in Eng­lish.

We don’t say ‘It is a brown cup’. We link, and say “it’sa brown cup” It’s like ‘it’s’ and ‘a’ become one longer joined up word. Your Eng­lish flows and sounds nat­ur­al when you do this.  Anoth­er exam­ple is ”  Can I come?” Becomes ” CanI come?”  ” I want a cook­ie.” Becomes, ” I wan­ta cook­ie.” etc

Have a look at this link here for more train­ing in this.

4) Nat­ur­al Eng­lish- Mim­ic Eng­lish Into­na­tion

Lit­er­al­ly lis­ten to and mim­ic the melody of native Eng­lish speak­ers or to our train­er in our cours­es.

Mim­ic so that where they go up in pitch, you go up in pitch, and where they go down in pitch, you go down in pitch.  Also mim­ic how the speak­er groups or phras­es the words togeth­er in a sen­tence. You need to work on the melody and phras­ing of Eng­lish and attune your ear to hear it.

You can use the sen­tences in our train­ing cours­es, and you can also use poet­ry and mim­ic the rhythm and stress and  melody pat­terns. You can find poems being read online if you look up Eng­lish audio poems. Just make sure it’s the Eng­lish accent you want. I’ve also put 2  poems in the audio below.



Poem 1

Dance with the waves, move with the sea.

Let the rhythm of the water.

Poem 2

Related image

Best wish­es, Esther

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