Does a native accent guarantee ultimate confidence and freedom?
Recently I’ve been getting a bunch of questions from people who want to speak with a native accent because they don’t feel confident in English.
But is that the solution?
In this video I’ll answer that!
In this episode I’ll break down this misconception that ties native accent and confidence and fluency together. l’ll also share with you what has REALLY helped me and thousands of my students reach limitless fluency)
Hint: YES it’s about pronunciation, and NO, it’s not about sounding native!)
Hey, welcome to the InFluency Podcast. I’m your host, Hadar. And this is episode number 204. And today we’re gonna talk about ‘speaking like a native’.
Hey everyone. Thank you so much for coming back to the podcast and listening again. I appreciate it and I appreciate you. Today I’ll be answering a question I often get on my ‘Ask Hadar’ platform. If you don’t know, you can go to my website and click on ‘Ask Hadar’ and send me a video or audio. And I might answer your question on the podcast or on my YouTube channel.
So, I got a bunch of questions from people asking how they can sound like native speakers. And usually, they tie this need to their confidence levels. They say that they don’t feel confident in English and they really wanna work on their pronunciation so that they could become more confident. And if you’ve been listening to me for a while, you know I have a lot of things to say about that. And it might not be the conventional answer.
So, in this episode I’m gonna talk about that. And I’m going to share with you what I have seen to be the most effective strategy to own your voice and to feel confident. And in fact, if what I say resonates with you here – I’m also going to talk about it later on in the episode – but if what I say resonates with you here and you want to understand what is the system, what are the steps that you need to take to feel that freedom and that clarity, where you don’t get stuck or feel uncomfortable with how something sounds in your mouth, so I invite you to join my upcoming masterclass called ‘The five-step plan to own your voice in English’. It’s absolutely free.
I’m going to have four masterclasses: two on Thursday, the 24th of March, 2022; and two are going to be on Sunday, the 27th of March, 2022. So if you’re listening to this after we broadcast the episode, then it’s probably not relevant anymore. But you’re invited to still click on that link to get some useful links for you to build your confidence and pronunciation.
So again, the masterclass is absolutely free. And I would love for you to join it because it has a lot of value, jampacked with value for you. So you’ll at least have clarity around what it is that you need to do. And I also talk about what are the common mistakes that I see English speakers as a second language make when trying to improve their English. So, I think it’s going to be really interesting for you. All right? So click the link below, or just go to hadarshemesh.com/masterclass. That’s hadarshemesh.com/masterclass. And now let’s listen to today’s episode.
Hey everyone, it’s Hadar. Thank you so much for joining me. Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from followers about how they can acquire the American accent so they can start feeling more confident in English. They want to sound like native speakers.
– My name is Aisha. I grew up in North America, in Canada. And I can tell that I still have my accent and I’m not very much confident sometimes.
– I’ve been trying to sound like a native English speaker, and for a long time now. But I don’t think I’ve been able to achieve that.
I’m an English teacher, I teach international students. I have students from the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, etc. I want to sound like a native speaker. It’s my dream. I have been learning the American accent for eight months now. It’s my passion and I’m crazy about it.
As you can see, my accent is all over the place. So how can I tone it down? And how can I neutralize my accent, become more comprehend?
– Could anyone get the native-like level if they put in the work, or it is limited to certain people?
Now, I’m listening to these students, these people, and to me, they sound clear, they sound powerful, they sound engaging. And at the same time, their individual experience is that their English is not good enough. And that compromises their confidence when communicating in English.
So, I wanna bring back this conversation about accent and ‘sounding like a native’ versus ‘owning your voice in English’. Because I believe that these two things are not exactly the same. Meaning: acquiring an American accent or speaking without a foreign accent does not guarantee full confidence. It does not guarantee ultimate limitless fluency. And I can tell you that because I have been there myself.
I have trained as an actress. And the first thing I worked on was my accent, was my pronunciation. And even though I was able to acquire an American accent and speak like an American, I did not feel confident. In fact, I felt less confident in many of the cases because on the outside it sounded like I’m a native speaker, but from the inside I wasn’t. And I knew that I’m still making mistakes or I still get stuck. And that made me feel more like a fraud then someone who masters a language.
And I also felt that dealing with the nuances and always making sure that it all sounds just right, really limited my experience when communicating in English. I was focusing on how it sounds rather than what I wanted to express. So, owning that accent did not provide me with that ultimate fluency that a lot of my students are looking for. And this is why it’s important for me to speak about this.
Because limitless fluency, which means an experience where you speak in English without second-guessing yourself, without thinking twice about what to say, with feeling like you’re speaking and you’re not sure if it’s English or your native language, right? That is what I call limitless fluency, where you actually enjoy communicating in English. And even you enjoy it more than communicating in your native language, right? That is limitless fluency. Regardless of the result, limitless fluency is the experience of you speaking.
So, to reach that it requires a series of elements that you need to take into consideration. And yes, pronunciation is definitely one of them. Actually, it’s a big component of the work. But it’s not the end result – to sound like a native. Because that will not guarantee you that experience that I’m talking about. Without the internal work, working on the external features, will never get you to where you want to be.
And this is why internal work and a very clear plan is what you need to reach that limitless fluency, to reach a transformation, to own your voice in English. To not care about what people think, to not care about how you sound and more about ‘Did I get my point across?’, right? ‘Am I getting what I want when I’m speaking?’ To understand that you belong in English and you deserve to get stuck and to make mistakes, and to have someone wait for you until you figure out what you want to say. You deserve all that. And you belong in that language, just like any other person who happened to be born into that language. This is so incredibly important for you to understand.
And I’m going to keep talking about it and keep repeating it over and over again. Because I still get these questions and I want to change that paradigm, that no accent means freedom and confidence. Because I can tell you firsthand – this is not true. I have trained my students in the first few years of teaching, when I also wanted to have my students sound like a native, to get them to sound like a native. And I realized how insecure they still were.
Whereas when we started doing additional work – internal work – a very specific pronunciation work that is designed to free up the muscles and create more ease. And of course, create clarity with awareness and giving students the power to know if they’re on the right track or not, right, taking ownership over their English. That has turned their experience around and that has given them a lot more freedom than the right pronunciation.
– Before, I used to think my English was good, but not good enough. And I used to feel so afraid and ashamed of using it. But I started noticing a lot of changes, starting with gaining confidence. And I have also noticed many other improvements, you know: in my pronunciation, in my fluency, and many other aspects.
– I’m more confident now. I feel free. And now I don’t think that my English is not enough.
– Now I just stand up in the middle of the circle and I just can speak. And people give me positive reviews and people understand me.
– I feel more confident. And now I talk, and I said what I thought. I spread my feelings.
– I’m feeling confident enough to speak English to people. And my life has improved a lot.
So, if I can offer you anything in this episode, is that mindset shift around what it means to be fluent, what it means to have this free experience communicating in a second language. And while pronunciation work is a part of it, it is not the ultimate goal. Sounding like a native is not the ultimate goal.
Now, I’m not a fool. I know that people experience discrimination once they open their mouth. I know that that’s the case for many immigrants and many non-native speakers around the world, working in global companies or trying to apply for a job that requires English. I know that. But you cannot change how people perceive you. You can only change how you interpret that situation and how it affects your perception of your self worth.
Because if you let that situation be a confirmation to the negative thoughts that you have about yourself and about your English, it is not going to serve you. You are not going to reach your goals and you are not going to break free from those barriers.
But if you choose to interpret it as not validation for your incompetence, but as validation for their incompetence and their lack of understanding of how the world works and what it means to speak a second language, right? If you use that as validation that you are on the right track and you know what’s right, and you’re not gonna let it deter you from where you want to go – this is when you reach real freedom and real transformation. Okay?
So, I want you to remember that. And at the same time, I do believe that there are things that you can do to help you own that voice in English. In fact, in just a few days, I’m hosting a brand new masterclass that is totally free, where I will be teaching you those five steps that are needed for you to reach a real transformation in English and reach limitless fluency. And yes, pronunciation is a big part of it, but I will be teaching you how to use pronunciation work to find that freedom. Rather than just the change how you sound and sound like an native. Okay?
So, I’m gonna be sharing with you all of that there. I promise that you’re gonna learn new things and gain new insights as to what needs to happen for you to finally see that change and feel free. It’s absolutely free. Seats are limited, so I invite you to click the link below. If you’re watching this after we host the masterclass, then I still invite you to click the link. And I’m gonna be sharing with you some useful links to do this work on your own.
All right. So, thank you so much for being here. I hope this was helpful. Please let me know in the comments how this lands and how this resonates. And I can’t wait to continue this conversation here or over on Instagram at @hadar.accentsway.
Have a beautiful, beautiful rest of the day. And I’ll see you next week in the next video. Bye.