Hello my foreign-speaking friends and English learners and improvers from all over the world!
Does the headline sound too ambitious and you think this time around I’ve definitely gone overboard with my hyped-up promises?
You may think – “Well, it’s conceivable to develop one’s English fluency to a degree when one speaks quite similar to a native English speaker, but to speak even MORE fluently than a native speaker… It’s definitely not possible!”
At first glance the above statement seems valid, and a couple of years ago I would have also been quite skeptical about anybody’s claims that it’s possible for a foreign English speaker to achieve more-than-native level of fluency.
I mean – how is it even remotely possible to speak MORE fluently than a native English speaker if it’s their level of fluency that actually determines the standards?
It’s the same way it’s technically not possible to do something at 110%, isn’t it?
When you’ve done EVERYTHING there is to do, you’ve accomplished 100% of the job, and the very same way if you’ve developed your English fluency to the very highest standards, the best you could hope for is to speak JUST LIKE a native English speaker.
Well… Assuming the native English speaker ALWAYS speaks at a 100% of his or her ability!
And this is the key, my friend.
Not even a native English speaker’s fluency is hitting 100% at all times.
Even a native English speaker has bad fluency days. Even a native English speaker WILL struggle to get the message across on certain occasions – especially when they’re not familiar with the subject.
That’s the perfect opportunity for you to surpass their level of fluency when speaking about something you know A LOT ABOUT, and here’s EXACTLY how it’s done:
Factor #1: Vocabulary
It only makes sense to say that if you want to rival native-like fluency and even surpass it, you have to make sure your English vocabulary is more than adequate for discussing ins and outs of the topic in question.
You have to be able to describe intricacies of the topic at hand by choosing the right words to describe specific concepts, and it’s totally possible for you to know a lot of vocab and industry-specific terminology even a native English speaker wouldn’t know if they’re not interested in that particular discipline!
If I were to discuss running websites and blogs with the average native English speaker on the street, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t be able to use words such as:
- Content creation
- YouTube video production
- Mailing list
… the very same way I would!
Yes, many people would probably have some degree of understanding, but many would be completely perplexed by those terms, and it only goes to show that it wouldn’t take much for a non-native English speaker to impress a native one – provided you can actually USE all that vocab in your speech as opposed just being able to RECOGNIZE it.
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Factor #2: Familiarity
It’s also of the utmost importance that you’re very familiar with the subject you’ll be discussing – so it goes without saying it’s going to be something you do on a regular basis.
Your current job.
Your previous jobs.
Your areas of expertise.
Your educational background.
All these aspects of your life are potentially the topics where you can overdo native English speakers in terms of fluency, so quite obviously the more such and similar items you can list, the bigger your chances are of being able to speak very fluently about them.
Provided, that is, you’ve been USING the English language when engaging in those particular activities – otherwise you just won’t stand a chance to beat a native speaker when speaking about those subjects no matter how unfamiliar they are with them!
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Factor #3: Correct Speech Patterns & Grammar
You may be very familiar with the subject being discussed.
You may have acquired a lot of relevant vocabulary words and technical terms.
Yet if you can’t put it all together in a coherent and fluent speech, any native English speaker will beat you hands down!
You see – it’s totally possible to spend a lot of time involved in a specific activity in English and not be able to discuss the related matters fluently simply because you haven’t acquired the related speech patterns and English grammar.
My blogging-related English vocab may be brilliant, and I may have been running websites for years, but if I can’t say things like:
- “I’ve been publishing 2 articles a week for the last 2 years week in, week out”;
- “It’s often argued if frequent blog posting has any advantages over random, less regular content publishing”
… my English fluency simply won’t stack up to that of a native English speaker!
You have to be able to say these things without a moment’s hesitation during a conversation – “I’ve been… for the last…”, “Week in, week out…”, “It’s often argued…”, “Has any advantages over…” – and that’s where correct English grammar also comes into play.
If you get all the aforementioned factors right – vocabulary, familiarity and correct speech patterns – then your chances of speaking more fluently than a native English speaker who hasn’t been really involved in that particular activity are really looking good!
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Factor #4: Practice
This factor goes hand in hand with the previous one, but I decided to separate it out because of its importance.
You may know all the English vocab and speech patterns in the world and you may also be the most diverse person around, but if you haven’t spent LOADS of time practicing your spoken English, all those other factors will count for nothing.
Native English speakers have been speaking in English since they were toddlers, so you also have to put in LONG HOURS of spoken English practice if you want to speak even better than a native English speaker one day.
Sure enough, you’ll probably never catch up with any native speaker in terms of the sheer amount of words spoken over one’s lifetime, but it’s not necessary if you speak a lot over the course of a few years.
Now, if you’ve been speaking for years (factor #4) with your English speaking work colleagues about specific IT related matters (factor #2) and you can use plenty of technical terms (factor #1) in a correct, fluent speech (factor #3), you stand a very good chance to speak MORE fluently about IT than the average native English speaker who’s not experienced in the field.
Provided, that is, you possess something called CONFIDENCE.
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Factor #5: Confidence
Confidence is actually hard to define.
I’ve tried to use the concept of ignorance in the past which I think comes quite close to describing how one feels when one is totally confident.
100% familiarity with people you speak with is another pre-requisite to confident behavior for some people – more often than not, foreigners find it easier to speak in English with people they know!
One way or another, the lack of confidence is the factor that will easily kill your English fluency even if you have all the other boxes ticked from the article above.
If you aspire to match up with a native English speaker in terms of fluency, you HAVE to be 100% confident in yourself.
You have to actually believe you’re good enough to speak with a native English speaker on an equal footing and that belief in yourself has to be unshakeable.
I would even call it BLIND FAITH in yourself, and it’s something that will make it so much easier for you to do all the previously mentioned – learn vocab, grammar, practice and enjoy life through English so that one day you can blow native English speakers away with your ability to speak English fluently!
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On the finishing note, let me tell you, my friend, that beating native English speakers when discussing subjects that fall under your areas of expertise shouldn’t be your end-goal.
Yes, it’s nice to experience moments of complete fluency, but at the same time if you become too arrogant, you run the risk of damaging your fluency by starting to speak too fast and by trying to say something so super-smart that your tongue gets tied.
Basically the point I’m making is – yes, it’s possible to speak even more fluently than native English speakers, but we shouldn’t make it into a competition.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!
P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!