I'm fluent in French and Russian - by which I mean that I don't have any trouble reading novels and can easily converse in either without making grammatical errors or feeling uncomfortable - and have been learning them for 2 and 3 years respectively.

Yet whenever I speak either with a native speaker (which, I should add is a rather rare occurrence) I am told that I speak like a foreigner, i.e. I don't use the right slang, etc.

Now it's hardly surprising, but something I feel rather uncomfortable about.

So, given that conversing with native speakers is a rather rare luxury for me, what can I do to make myself sound less 'foreigner-y'?

  • What is your native language, and do you care about accent reduction, too?
    – AML
    Jul 3, 2018 at 18:40
  • @AML My native language is English, and I'm not really concerned about my accent. Jul 3, 2018 at 21:52

1 Answer 1


I think this article has a lot of good tips for you. Even though some of the tips are about accent, many of the tips aren't. And frankly, if you want to sound like a native, then accent is absolutely part of the equation, so I wouldn't disregard it if I were you.

In addition to your clear need for speaking to a variety of natives in order to increase your exposure to the language, you should also:

  1. Analyze spoken language and figure out how natives say the things you want to say
  2. Use connectors
  3. Use French and Russian-specific fillers
  4. Make sure you speak in the correct register/level of formality, i.e., don't speak formally all the time.
  5. Learn and use age-appropriate slang

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