How to get rid of a foreign accent in English : 5 easy steps


How many times have people been able to guess where you're from just by listening to your English accent? While there is a certain charm in, say, an Italian or French accent in English, it can be remedied! We give you 5 tips to learn to speak English with a native accent.

1. Choose your accent

Think about the accent you like the most, and that best suits your personality. There are many accents to choose from: chic British, cool American, laid back Australian and so on.

Once you've made your choice, stick to it and be consistent as you speak. Also use the correct vocabulary that goes with it. If you decide to have an American accent, try to avoid saying things like "mate" or "trousers", the British version of "dude" and "pants".

2. Watch and listen to everything in English

It may seem obvious, but seeing everything in English is one of the most helpful things you can do to learn faster and develop your accent. Force yourself to watch any program, TV series, movie or YouTube video in English. Learning new words is of course very helpful, but it also helps you improve your English accent.

Personally, I like looking at things in the original language, rather than the dubbed version. You can start watching movies or videos that you have already watched or know very well. It might be hard at first, but if you help yourself with subtitles, it gets easier every time.

3. Listen carefully

English is a very musical language, so it's really important to work on perfecting the correct pronunciation if you want to sound like a true native. I'm Italian and in Italy we pronounce every letter so English can be difficult for us. I first realized this when I started watching Gossip Girl in the original language. I was surprised by the way Manhattan was pronounced (mænˈhæt(ə)n) and hearing how different it sounded from my native language made me want to learn more.

It's also worth paying attention to words that are pronounced differently in English, such as "spaghetti" or "gelato." Even if saying spaghetti the American way (where the double t is pronounced like a "D") hurts my Italian heart, it's a good way to improve your accent.

4. Say everything out loud

The more you practice your English, the better. If you don't have anyone to practice with, don't be afraid to talk to yourself. The mirror can be your new English partner. And.. Trust me, it works! One of the things that helped me improve my accent was reading English books out loud so I could practice my pronunciation. If you like a specific movie quote, make sure you repeat it the same way the actor did in the movie.

Memorize the lyrics of your favorite songs and repeat them out loud over and over. Learn and repeat phrases you enjoy from your favorite TV series, such as the famous Joey catchphrase "How you doin'?" from Friends. It may be a strange tip, but it works!

5. Take every opportunity to talk

Since I had no foreign friends to practice my English at home, I created opportunities for myself at school. I always raised my hand when the teacher needed volunteers to read a text or answer questions. The more active you are, the more you'll learn and the faster your English accent will develop.

Another useful way to improve your English is to go abroad and practice it in real life! This is the ultimate experience in learning English and getting rid of your foreign accent. You just need to determine which English accent you like to know where to go. I've been fortunate enough to work with EF as a Global Intern for the past few months, but I've traveled with EF before and made huge strides in improving my English accent. I'm also still friends with many students I met there, so I can keep practicing.

If you want to make rapid progress - with your English skills - and improve your accent, there is simply no alternative to the effort and just do it!

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