How to Impress, Amaze and Awe Natives: 8 Clever Tricks to Seem Fluent


​There will be times when you need to bring your A game when it comes to your foreign language skills. Be it an interview, oral part of a language examination or just wanting to impress the right person for the right opportunity, here are some tips that may help your language skills seem effortless:
  1. Become familiar with the most commonly used words. It’s widely understood that each language has a core set of vocabulary words that are used daily. Keep in mind that it varies from language to language (for German, it could be anywhere from 1500-5000, for English around 3000, etc.). Learning these words will not only increase your effectiveness in communication, but it will also fast-track your learning. Bonus, (especially with languages like English & German), is that you can create and understancompound words.  
  2. Use natives’ words against themrephrase or paraphrase what they say. Another trick that will help, is playing off what natives say to you, by rephrasing or paraphrasing what they are saying when you respond. It gets you thinking quicker on your feet, understanding the proper context usage of new words AND you come across as fluent.
  3. Pay extra attention to context clues. Sometimes natives will use words or expressions that you are not used to. But if you pay attention to the context in how they are using the word and the intended meaning of the sentence, you usually can make out enough of the meaning to keep the flow of the conversation going. Make sure look it up in the dictionary in private later to cement the meaning into your mind.
  4. Speak confidently and continue to talk through errors. People tend not to notice errors as much when you talk through them confidently. Especially if those errors are negligible and ESPECIALLY in countries that have too much going on in the language already (e.g. considerable amounts of dialects, accents, regional slang, etc.).
  5. Be friendly and agreeable. Being friendly and agreeable will instantly make you likable. When people like you, they are more likely to judge your language skills favorably and less likely to notice or mentally pick apart your errors.
  6. Memorize a few of universal quotes in the target language. Memorizing universal quotes that can apply to many situations, will make it seem as if you have a more advanced understanding about the culture and language when you use it.
  7. Learn a few facts about the regional history or current political climate. Knowing a few fun facts or at least something about the country will impress natives. Knowing how to speak about these facts in the target language will make them ├╝ber-impressed.  
  8. Be strategic about what you say. Struggling with communication by using sophisticated words you’ve never used before because you think you will sound more cultivated is not sexy. Finding a similar way to convey what you want with ease by using vocabulary you ARE comfortable and familiar with? Now that is sexy.

These tips have helped me tremendously when speaking to natives. I have impressed so many natives and I have gotten many compliments on my fluency level. I owe it all to being strategic enough to maximize my existing vocabulary. Try these tips when talking to a native and let me know if it helps you!

Already used some of these tips? Let me know how it worked out for you in the comments below!

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