3 tips for sounding like a Canadian

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If you want to be easier to understand, here are three tips to help you sound more like a Canadian.

  1. Speak more clearly

    The main way to be easy to understand is to speak clearly. This means you should say the words in a way that people can hear each part of the word. You don’t need to change how you talk! Speaking clearly is about the sounds you make when you talk. Saying some parts of a word more clearly than others is what we mean by stressing the right parts of words.

    Every language uses the mouth and tongue in different ways. Each word has different parts that you stress, but there are patterns. Speaking English is very hard because there are 44 sounds and 26 letters. This means that the same letter can sound different in different words. For example, think of the sound of the letter “o” in “home” and “top”. The same letter can be a long sound (h-oh-m), and a short sound (t-ah-p).

    Even with these hard parts, you can definitely make your English speaking better! When working on speaking, think about how you use your mouth and tongue. When you speak English, you need to move the tip of your tongue a lot. Your mouth is your tool for great speaking, and you have to train yourself to use it right.

    Practice with online resources such as the Sounds American YouTube channel or the Rachel’s English YouTube channel. Rachel’s English also has a podcast. Also, listen to Canadians speak on TV, in movies, or on the radio. Hoopla is a free TV and movie streaming service from the Winnipeg Library. Finally, work on the speaking of specific words with an online dictionary. The Cambridge Learner’s dictionary will say each word for you.

  2. Learn local words

    Learning more words is more important than trying to lose your accent. You can make your local words better by:

    • watching Canadian TV and, most importantly, using the phrases you hear in your life
    • reading and listening to North American writing
    • studying words.

    Here’s a list of thirty common Canadian phrasal verbs to learn this month. You can also use free online resources at your library, such as Active Reading.

    In this video, Canadian actor, Will Arnett, explains some Canadian slang:

    Will Arnett Teaches You Canadian Slang | Vanity Fair

    In this video, newcomer Marina Mogilko explains how she learns new words:

  3. English vocabulary study plan – 30-day English learning routine, linguamarina

  4. Be patient and keep going

    Learning more words and making your speaking better takes time – these are things you will do your whole life. Find a way to make learning fun, and remember to keep going! Spending 15 minutes twice a week is better than two hours once a month.

Don’t worry about sounding like a Canadian

You don’t need to worry about speaking like a person from Canada. In 2021, one person out of every four people in Canada was, or once was a Permanent Resident. This tells us that the most common way of speaking, from Ontario to British Columbia, is not the only way you will hear people talk. Paige Saunders, who was born in New Zealand, says in his video below, “some people in Canada talk like this.”

Learning about the Canadian accent, CBC

Sources: Immigrants make up the largest share of the population in over 150 years and continue to shape who we are as Canadians, Statistics Canada.

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