If you are an English learner and have mastered your English quite a bit, but want to sound more like a native speaker, the ideas in this blog can help. Part of sounding like a native English speaker is about imitating the inflection in words and sentences. Once you get a handle on that, you will move closer and closer to your goal. And this work does not have to be difficult. Here is an easy way to learn English inflection.
How to learn English inflection
Use your learning style to be more effective
First, find out your preferred learning style. Some people learn really well just by listening. And some do better visually. There are researches that suggest combining the audio and the visual can increase the desired outcome. You can experiment to find out what is true for you. Everyone is different. And there are more learning styles than just these two.
What to do if you are an audio learner
If you are predominantly an audio learner, you can do this while you are driving, when you sit by yourself in a coffee shop where others are chatting nearby. Before you begin, set the intention that you are listening only for inflection. It’s okay if you don’t know what they are talking about. Even if you don’t understand what they are talking about, it’s fine. You are listening for where the voice goes up, and where it goes down. The article Advanced Techniques To Fine-tune your spoken English goes into depth on this topic.
What to do if you are a visual learner
If you are more of a visual learner, or prefer to combine the audio with the visual, then the following technique might work better for you. Find a YouTube video of your favorite speaker. Maybe it’s a journalist, a celebrity that speaks clearly, a business leader. Commencement speeches work really well because there will be transcripts of the speech. You can read the text while you listen to the speaker.
Combining learning styles
While you are listening, you can make notes on the text where the inflection goes up and where it goes down. Actually, adding this (kinesthetic learning) can also add to better results. You are using 3 senses instead of just one. But again, experiment to find what works the most effectively for you.
Go over the same speech until you are able to anticipate where the inflection will be. When you are able to do this mentally, you have done quite a bit of training mentally.
If you would do this with more than one speaker, you’ll expose yourself to a variety of styles. You’ll intuitively come to anticipate where the inflection should fall when you listen to new speakers, or anyone you talk to.
A simple and powerful technique
This is a powerful technique. It seems simple. But often simplicity, with consistent effort, brings lasting effects. Please experiment with this imitation method, whether you are an audio, visual, or kinesthetic learner. When others stop asking you to repeat, you’ll feel great satisfaction and pride of the training you’ve given yourself.
If you find this blog helpful, here is one on Ways to learn English by yourself.
Estrella Chan coaches immigrants and international professionals in English fluency, interview skills, and public speaking. To schedule a session with her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org