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  • A lot of people ask me if it's possible to sound like a native speaker if you weren't

  • born in the US. They want to know how long it will take. That, of course, depends entirely

  • upon the individual. Really focused pronunciation practice can yield great results. In this

  • video, I'm going to go over two different ways to study English to perfect your pronunciation.

  • All you need is the audio or video of a native speaker speaking.

  • First, we're going to do a Ben Franklin exercise. This is when you write down everything you

  • can about what you hear: whether or not you hear words being linked, or if you hear something

  • being reduced, for example. Now, we'll do this together to help you get

  • an idea of how to listen to and analyze what you hear. "A lot of people ask me if it's

  • possible to sound like a native speaker-- A lot of people ask me." So the first thing

  • I notice is that this T is a flap T, it sounds like a D, "a lot of," that's because it's

  • coming between two vowel sounds. I also notice that I hear these three words as one unit:

  • "a lot of, a lot of," with the stress happening on the middle word. "A lot of, a lot of people

  • ask me--" I also notice that this word ends in a consonant, this word begins with a vowel,

  • there's no punctuation in-between, "a lot of people ask," and I do hear that L as really

  • linking to the beginning vowel sound: "people ask." Another thing you'll want to note as

  • you listen is any sounds that you know are difficult for you. For example, many of my

  • students have problems integrating the AA sound into their speech. They know how to

  • do it, but they just don't use it in speech. So I would definitely, if was one of them,

  • mark this AA vowel, so that I'll be sure to note it, and then will hopefully begin to

  • integrate AA into my speech when I see this word 'ask.' "A lot of people ask me." Let's

  • keep going. "A lot of people ask me if it's possible to

  • sound like a native speaker-- if it's possible to sound, if it's possible to sound--" So,

  • I notice the stress here: possible, first syllable is stressed, "to sound," I notice

  • that has stress too. "--if it's possible to sound--" The word 'to' is definitely reduced

  • to the schwa, so I may mark that so I don't forget to reduce it. "Possible to sound."

  • "If it's, if it's." Here's another case where one word ends in a consonant sound, the next

  • word begins with a vowel sound, "if it's, if it's," and I do definitely hear those connecting

  • together. "If it's possible to sound." "A lot of people ask me if it's possible to

  • sound like a native speaker-- like a native speaker--" I notice my voice goes up at the

  • end here, "speaker." That's because the sentence isn't over, the next word is "if." I also

  • notice the stress is big, small, big, small, big, small. "Like a native speaker." DA da

  • DA da DA da. "Like a native speaker." Also, again here we have ending consonant sound/beginning

  • vowel sound: like a, like a. I hear the K linking to the schwa. "Like a. Like a native

  • speaker." Native -- I hear this T as a D because again, it's a T coming between two vowel sounds:

  • will be a flap T, sounds like a D. "Like a native speaker." In the entire sentence, I

  • don't hear and gaps or pauses between words. So in some cases, there's a very obvious link,

  • like when one word ends with a consonant and the next word begins with a vowel. But even

  • when there's not a very obvious linking sound, there's never a gap between the words.

  • "A lot of people ask me if it's possible to sound like a native speaker--" We've been

  • working for several minutes, and here we are only half way through one sentence. This is

  • just an example of how you might take notes from the audio or video clip of your choice.

  • After you've listened several times and taken thorough notes, you then put the audio or

  • video away and, from your notes, try to speak the way the native speaker was speaking. If

  • you can, record yourself, and then compare this to the native speaker. This is how you

  • can figure out where you still need to work. And now we'll do an imitation exercise. In

  • this video, you don't look at the text. You're not concerned with the actual words because

  • you do already have ideas about how words should be pronounced. So in this exercise

  • you're just listening. And I loop things three times in an imitation exercise so that you

  • begin to think about the pitch changes and the musicality of the speech, rather than

  • the individual words themselves. Repeat it back exactly as you hear it, even if you're

  • not sure of the individual words. It's ok, that's not what we're going for in this particular

  • exercise. A lot of people ask me [x3]

  • A lot of people ask me if it's possible to sound like a native speaker [3x]

  • if it's possible to sound like a native speaker

  • if you weren't born in the US. [x3]

  • Because of the internet, there really is an

  • endless supply of audio and video where English is being spoken by native speakers. I know

  • looping something over and over, as in the imitation exercise, can be more of a hassle

  • on your own. That's why, on my website, I do have both Ben Franklin and imitation exercises

  • ready for you. So I encourage you to take a look at these, or any other audio or video

  • clip that interests you, and turn it into a pronunciation exercise: study it this way.

  • It will really take you far in your practice. That's it, and thanks so much for using Rachel's English.

A lot of people ask me if it's possible to sound like a native speaker if you weren't

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A2 native speaker native speaker sound vowel lot

How to Improve Spoken American English - Sound like a Native Speaker

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    Zenn posted on 2013/04/02
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