There are many studies about this topic, and, of course, all of language learners think about it at the moment they are learning a new language. Here we have some points to consider:
How Can You Sound More Like a Native Speaker?
You don’t need a perfect accent to communicate well with native speakers, but the more you sound like a native speaker, the easier it is for them to understand you. And the easier it is for people to understand you, the more they enjoy talking to you. Then, you need to talk to people in order to learn their language.
So why do we have accents in the first place? And what can we do about them?
Why do we Have Foreign Accents? There are sounds that don’t exist in our native language, and, other languages can have sounds that require us to use our mouth muscles in a new way.
With the method minimal pair training, we can be able to pronounce the different sounds, listening to a word that has the sound difference you want to learn, deciding which one you think it is, and getting immediate feedback about whether you were right or wrong. After a few sessions, you’ll hear the difference more easily and be able to pronounce them better.
Regarding the new mouth positions, it’s absolutely possible to train your mouth muscles to pronounce sounds more like native speakers.
To do this, you need to learn a little about articulatory phonetics (which is basically just a fancy-pants way of saying mouth positions) to find out exactly where the tongue, teeth and lips should be in the sounds you want to learn. Then practice them regularly until your mouth naturally moves to that position.
What’s the Fastest Way to Learn New Words in Another Language?
Memorising words, or picking them up naturally through reading and listening? Both techniques are useful for different reasons and if you can balance the two, you’ll be onto a winner.
Also, it is important your “N400 Signal”: How to Learn Words in the Natural Way.
You may not know it, but your brain is already an awesome vocabulary learning machine. When you read or listen to something, your brain doesn’t take each word at face value: it’s constantly taking statistics about which words appear together regularly so that it can anticipate what’s coming next and process speech faster.
To get better at this, we need to flood our brains with bucket loads of natural content so we can build up a picture or which kinds of words usually appear together. Reading is a great way to do this and there’s lots of research that shows that reading works wonders for your vocabulary skills.
Do You Really Need to Study Grammar?
Can’t we just pick it up with the natural method, that is, through reading, listening and talking?
Knowing the grammar certainly helps, but spending the majority of my language learning time memorising complicated grammar rules doesn’t feel like the most effective way to learn.
What’s the Best Way to Stay Motivated in Language Learning?
- You can know all the best ways to learn pronunciation, words and grammar, but if you can’t be bothered, it’s never going to happen.
- Find a Friend or Language Partner to Study With
- Studies show that people who feel like they’re working as a team accomplish more.
- Break Down Your Big Goals into Mini-Missions
- Research shows that people who break down big tasks into little chunks get more done in the long run.
Article by Katie Harris,