How to sound like a native speaker: THE SECRET
How to sound like a native speaker: THE SECRET

Hi. Welcome again to I’m Adam.
Today’s lesson is about pronunciation and phonetics. Now, I said there’s going to be a
secret on how to improve your pronunciation in English – here’s the secret. Are you ready?
There is no secret. It takes hard work, it takes practice, it takes perseverance. You have
to do things, you have to practice things, you have to use your dictionary. You always
have to keep working at it, that’s the secret. But I’ll give you a little bit of a tip on how
to make this a little bit easier for yourself. Okay? What we have here is a list of words, each one
looks very similar, but it has a different phonetic sound. Now, “phonetics” means the sound
of the syllables in the word. “Syllables”… I’ll just write that word here. A “syllable”
is the sound part of a word. For example: the word “cat” has one syllable. The word
“beautiful”, “beau-ti-ful” – three syllables. Okay? So we’re going to learn how to look at
syllables, how to find the sound for each syllable in a word to know how
to pronounce the full word. So we’re going to start with these words because,
again, these are very common words. These are words that all sound very similar, plus I
had a request on in the comment section on how to pronounce these. Let me say all these words first. “Look”,
“lock”, “luck”, “lack”, “lake”, “like”, “lick”, “leek”, “Luke”, “bloke”, and “let”. Now, “bloke”
and “let” are obviously different words, but there’s no such word as “loke” and there’s no
such word as “lek”, so I had to improvise. But we have a bunch of other ones. Now, for
some of you, a lot of these words sounded exactly the same I’m guessing. Right? They’re not.
They’re very different. So “lock” and “luck” have completely different meanings.
They have no relationship to each other except that they share one, two, three;
one, two, three similar letters. “Aw”, “ah”, very similar vowel sound as well. So, what
you notice above each of these words is the phonetic symbol. Now, there are different phonetic lists. Everybody
has their own list. Find one that you like. I took these symbols from the Merriam-Webster
Dictionary, that’s the American dictionary. If you want to find it online:
It’s a good dictionary and that’s where I got these symbols from. Once you start studying
phonetics, stick to one list. Okay? If you want to study British English, use a British
dictionary; American English, use an American dictionary. Most of the words are going to
be the same or similar; some of them will be completely different. So choose your
dictionary, stick to it, practice. Now, if you look at these words in the dictionary
on Merriam-Webster, you will find the phonetic spelling. The “phonetic spelling” means they
spell the word according to its sound. So this “u” with a dot-I hope you can see that
dot-“look”, “uh”. “Book”, “took”, “bull”. It doesn’t matter what the letters on either
side are, the vowel sound is going to be the same with this symbol. With “lock”, you have “a” with two dots on top of it.
“Lock”, “rock”, “sock”, “font”. If you’re not sure what a font is, if you
have Microsoft Word or whatever typing tool you use, there are different fonts; Times
New Roman, Agency, and Calibri, or whatever they’re called. These are
font, but the sound is “aw”. “Luck”, “ah”, sort of like an upside down,
an inverted “e”. “Luck”, “truck”, “duck”, “brother”. “Lack”, just a regular “a”,
“sack”, “pack”, “apple”. “Lake”, “a” with a line across it makes it a
bit longer, it’s called a diphthong because it’s “ae”, it’s like almost two vowel sounds in one.
“Shake”, “bake”, “trade”. “Like”, “i” with a long symbol on top of it, “i”.
It’s also a diphthong. “Bike”, “spike”, “flight”. All the same vowel sound. “i”, regular “i” with nothing on top. “Lick”,
“ih”, “stick”, “pick”, “little”. Okay? “e”, “e” with a long line on top.
“Peek”, “seek”, “freedom”. “Luke”, “Luke” is a man’s name, it’s also from the Bible.
“u” with two dots, it looks like a bit of a happy face with a little dimple.
“Fluke”, “hookah”. Now, before I continue – what is a “hookah”? How many of you have
read Alice in Wonderland? You know when Alice was walking through the forest and she sees
this caterpillar, this big worm smoking a hookah? Still not sure? Hold on. What do I have here?
A hookah. I’m missing the little smoking part of it, but this is a hookah.
It’s pronounced: “hoo-kah”. Okay. If you ever tried them, they’re actually quite
tasty, but we won’t get into that. “School”, “oo”. “Bloke”, now, I had to find a
word that had “ok” in it. “Bloke” is a British slang, it means guy, man – whatever. “That
bloke over there is a very well-dressed.” I don’t know why I used that example. “Spoke”,
“joke”, “lower”. “o”, also a diphthong. “o”, long line. And “let”, regular “e”, “eh”,
“jet”, “bet”, “arrest”. Now, why am I showing you these things? Like why
am I comparing different words? (A): because once you understand the phonetic symbol of a
word, any word that you don’t know how to pronounce – just open the dictionary, find the symbol.
Remember what other word you do know that has this symbol. All of you know
this word “pack”, I assume. All of you know the word “jet”. You see this word, “arrest”,
you think: “Okay, not really sure what it is. I’m not sure how to pronounce it.”, “Ah” like
“uck”, “luck”. “Arrest”, “e”, “eh”, “arrest”. You have one, two syllables. Find each syllable’s
phonetic symbol, learn how to pronounce it. Another good thing about the Merriam-Webster’s
site, online site, you can press a button and it’ll say the word;
you can hear it as well. Now, what do you do with this? So, let’s look
at these words. Now, remember English is the hardest language to understand in terms of
pronunciation because spellings don’t mean anything. This “ea” and this “ea” don’t sound the same.
If you look at the dictionary, you will find out that this word is pronounced: “feather”.
This “ea” sounds like this “e”, “eh”, “fea”, “feather”. This “ea” sounds like
“e”, “feature” like-where are we?-“leek”. “Leek”, by the way, is like the thick, long, green onion.
It’s very delicious as well when you cook it nicely. “Leek”, “e”,
“fea”, “feature”, “feature”. Now, this, you’re thinking: “Fasco”, “fiasco”,
no, it’s: “fiasco”. Again, the “e”, “fi-as-co”. Three syllables, “fi-as-co”. What is a “fiasco”? It’s a big mess
of a situation. The government tried to implement a new policy and it was a big fiasco; it was a
disaster, nobody bought into it. Okay? I’ll give you another example. How do you
pronounce this word? I’ll give you a chance. Separate it into the two syllables. This one
sounds like this one. This one sounds like this one. So, “bull-et”, “bullet”. “Pew”, bullet.
Right? Okay. Again, this is just an example. Keep yourself a list. Get yourself a notebook,
write down these words. Start making a collection of sounds. These are just some of the sounds
in English; there are others. Make yourself a list of sounds. When you learn a new word,
put that word into that sound category, and that’s how you start building your pronunciation skills.
Believe me, at the beginning, it will be very difficult. The more you do it, the
easier it will become, the more like a native speaker you will sound. Okay? I do have a little bit of a tricky quiz on It’s about rhyming. Oh, by the way, all I’m doing here is rhyming; making
words sound similar. A good way to practice as well is go to… Just Google “rhyming dictionary”
and you can look for words that sound similar. Again, but they’re usually one or two syllables
so not as useful. Go to, try the quiz. And, of course, there’s a comment
section – ask me any questions. And I’ll see you again soon.

100 thoughts on “How to sound like a native speaker: THE SECRET”

  1. Braňo Rabatin says:

    I am confused. Why do you read "rhyme" as "rhy-mee"? I thought the pronunciation is actually without the letter 'e' at the end. How am I supposed to read the word "rhyme"?

  2. Tamara Rawabdeh says:

    u r just ammmaaazin !!!

  3. Fran M says:

    love it !

  4. DeFouse From Mars says:

    Any one want to practice English ?
    if yes .. then see you on Skype ( DeFouseBro ) !!
    Skype ID : DeFouseBro

  5. M ß Q says:

    0:13 Here's the secret. Are you ready?!! 😏😏😏

    THERE'S NO SECRET 😕😲😲😲😁😁😁😂

  6. Simple Life says:

    I dont wanna have hookah

  7. Dorothy Leonardi-Sisco says:

    🍺 👌

  8. Asha Kapu says:

    Thank you for the lesson

  9. Sharma Sujit says:

    sentence how to understand

  10. Mohamed atef says:

    Can you make video for Letter R in pronunciation

  11. Nahlaharba Sarar55555 says:

    thanks so much mr.Adam for everything

  12. Good news of our Salvation says:

    he is so handsome

  13. Joe Cool says:

    This guy is confused… There is a definite distinction between the sounds /ə/ and /u/ .. also between /ū/ and /õõ/ (according to some).
    Furthermore, /ä/ as in wall or talk is distinguished from /ô/ in font or top.

    Also, his diacritics aren't very clear – he should either write bigger or user different colors.

  14. Rafael Valiente says:

    The best secret that I've never heard. Jajaja

  15. Vaishnav Pande *_* says:

    Do I have to end the '….ke' word with 'kh'?

  16. Ray Dinamling says:

    Im looking for a speaking partner to throw me questions and evaluate my answers ill do the same. Im planning to take exam on nov this year. You can just comment your line, messanger, or skype name so i can add you.

  17. V TAETAE says:

    Ahhh very very good for me ☺️☺️☺️ thank you very much. I love you🤣

  18. no ooo says:

    this is shit u shitbag

  19. filipinas dos says:

    adam u so hot

  20. fathima Miflah says:

    Hi.I'm frm sri Lanka.
    Thank u sooo much. It's very useful.

  21. Safa'a Farghal says:

    oh, here in Arab world we use hookah too much 😂😂, thanks alot for that vocab!

  22. lifepets says:

    Thank you very much for your videos. The videos are very usfull and consist so many tips for English learners. I use Oxford Dictionery to get initial information about the word's vsounds. I appreciate your focus on differentness of Am and Br Eng. (Best wishes from Ukraine, Kyiv, 2017)

  23. Youra Sarang says:

    I'm addicted listening to native speaker.

  24. Ко Здаи Здапи says:

    I feel like you're not a native speaker, I don't know why.

  25. Hoang Hang says:

    i need to improve my english skill. does someone become friends with me ?

  26. Maria Portillo says:

    fiasco is like a Spanish word xD

  27. Bourges Florian says:

    I am a native speaker of Fench and honestly, I think your videos are very helpful ! I could understand everything thanks to the English subtitles and due to the fact that I have problems of understanding ! but..of course I am trying to get used to the sound even if I have already got basic knowledge of english. thanks for your help

  28. Karthick Raja says:

    I just hit the thumb up at the secret reveal..

  29. Aadan Mohamed says:

    Excellent, explanations thnks a lot teacher adam

  30. Wahid Mazidi says:

    hello how I memorise the words

  31. Kenito says:

    Where are you from, you sound a bit dutch for some reason

  32. Saqib Alam says:

    How may of you think he made this video only to show his hookah?

  33. Saqib Alam says:

    And I've tried them they are not tasty 😂

  34. Abdulahi Ibraahim says:

    Yours truly teacher

  35. meraj ahmed says:

    your the best love from pakistan.

  36. Kpopster Clementine says:

    What's the difference between the schwa sound and the "a"?

  37. Alejandro Reina says:

    Hi adam, do you have Instagram ?

  38. Metha Siregar says:

    the secret is no secret…kungfu panda

  39. Muchlisinalahuddin Muchlis says:

    do you have email..would you please set to me ,,i am sorry i cannt spleak english well.. my email…[email protected]

  40. Phoenix Iky says:

    Thank you very much Adam, that was a great lesson , very very helpfull 🙂

  41. Cefer Resad says:

    Perfect teaching really

  42. Laura Lna says:

    I'm going to learn English … I have two months to do it .. 😑

  43. nitin soni says:

    that is not hookah, its called "hukka"

  44. Ainee Khan says:

    V useful

  45. matapang perohumble says:


  46. rafael alejandro bravo cadena says:

    5:04 This is why this guy is so fun and good instructor

  47. kambata1 says:

    Man, forget about these sounds. Look ate this video. This woman I can not understand at all. She speaks like she has cat in her mouth and in the mouth of this cat there is a hot potato. Teach me how to understand the american accent

  48. Maksymilian Sznaucner says:

    that is awesome

  49. SuperiorKnight says:

    Okay this guy, where is he from because his accent drives me insane

  50. DUNIDA says:

    here is the secret (poused)
    there is no secret

    am i wrong ? speakers

  51. Ibrahim Abdou says:

    Thanks Adam you are a life saver loads of peace from Egypt 👍🏻

  52. dan dsk says:

    Thank you so much Teacher Adam

  53. edu- mehdu says:

    Hi Teacher Adam;
    I'm whatching you since 3 months and I can say i admire you
    You're really good Teacher on internet
    I wish i could be like you
    Thanks 4 everything

  54. the18Ting says:

    When you took out the hookah, your smile was so genuine and beautiful! you're a great teacher who brings joy and excitement to students, which really motivate them and get them excited to learn as well! students don't always want strict teachers, and I learnt from you that it's nice to bring some fun to class once in a while!

  55. Lisa Baker says:

    I have always said the word Again as in Spain – Rain – Pain. If the correct pronunciation is as you said ' Agen ' then why not spell it as such? I shall still continue to say that word as I was taught it in the UK.

  56. shibnath roy says:

    You are awesommmmmmmmeeeeeeee

  57. Srikanth G says:

    I really don't have words to say after watching this video, it's simply amazing 👍👍👍

  58. Helen Ivankovih says:

    Very an interesting and an understandable lesson! Adam, thank you. I would like to learn more about the transformation of sounds in the speech stream. For example: the word "daddy" – the sound "dd" is transformed into "r" and so on. Do you understand?

  59. Ismaciil Cabdulahi says:

    thanks Adam wanna from you to use full colour

  60. kari imran says:

    dictionary name ?

  61. Roro Sa says:

    Iam an arabian student of english language ,, and you don't know how that benefit us ..thank you so much my teacher 🌸

  62. Wilbert Avila says:

    I got a question Adam. What can you do when you cannot pronounce someone´s last name? Please, I work with American customers but some time they get irate when I cannot pronounce their last name correctly. Please help

  63. Torin Sullivan says:

    Bloke is actually a word. It's a British word, but it's an English word nonetheless.

  64. Bekhud faham says:

    Sir i am a indian and i have a dream to speak english like u
    Please help me i can do anything for that

  65. Jose II says:

    Hi! you live in Toronto?

  66. Noppa Waree says:

    Thank you very much, Adam.
    I love you so much.
    I will see all your video .
    Because I love your teaching style very much.

  67. dinna bharath says:

    Hi,I am Bharath reddy I want ask the I am phasing problem in reading of words I cannot recongizing the words so please say any tips to improve

  68. Maria Isabel Veiga says:

    I just did the quiz on the website and can’t understand how the [a] in “orange” is the same of the [i] in “win”. As well as how the [ou] in “rough” is the same of the [a] in “car”.
    Questions number 8 and 10 in the quiz.

  69. Wannafly says:

    Thanks for your advice: NO SECRET

  70. ABDUL HADI says:

    i love hookah

  71. fixer cinco says:

    I think that you can speak Español my bien dude!

  72. adin adin says:

    hello Adam, your lessons are quite beneficial. thanks

  73. Shwetha Hs says:

    You're superb man

  74. Roberto Gemaque says:

    Hello, Adam. My name is Roberto Gemaque. I am from Brazil and I live in Belém state Pará. I like your videos.

  75. Snow ball says:

    Thanks Sir, I really appreciate the way you teach. Really helpful I want you to keep up the good work, looking forward for more videos. I'm from Pakistan thanks.

  76. Xiomara Bogado says:

    All of your lessons helped me a lot of,you're amazing

  77. game568 says:

    You are a great teacher, sir.

  78. maurya Anup says:

    Sir send to pronouncians all words

  79. Abdullah Saad says:


  80. AbuDNN61 says:

    You are very good. I learn a lot from your video lectures.

  81. Wellness with DXN Business Malayalam says:

    Great Adam, feel some value on your class

  82. Stephen NAJ says:

    Hello thank you for good work and your kindness !

  83. Robert Lee says:

    I love your teaching. I have learn a lot from you . It is awesome.
    Thank you so much.

  84. Азимбек Мансуров says:

    Engvid so good lesson , for us.

  85. Rami Khaldi says:

    thank u 🙂

  86. Uneek Lifestyle says:

    I really missed your videos, I have been busy these last years , but now am back , I decided to give more time to improve my English. Wish me good luck

  87. ugljesa zivkovic says:

    Thank you on your effort ,continue with good work!!!

  88. K S says:

    Hi, thanks for the lesson. I have a question on bullet – the syllable 2 , why is it not like e (as in let)?

  89. JrStdnt says:

    Fantastic explanation! with respect from Ukraine)

  90. Abood kalaagy says:

    Which one is better Oxford or longman dictionary

  91. Gulrahim Rahimi says:

    senior teacher thanks the way of teaching , very useful.

  92. Sina M says:

    I love your teaching
    Really thank you

  93. Valentin Yashin says:

    5:13 legendary as he pulled up the hookah

  94. ABIBEUKRY Diop says:

    So happy to you Adam because of your cleared and precised explanations in all your courses. Thanks too much my professor .

  95. naufal menggambar says:

    join in learning how to sound like a native speaker

  96. Maria Makinen says:

    I learnt the majority of these by trial n error. I know phonetics ,but the vowel-sounds can differ greatly. The phonetics for foreign students differ some….to some extent. Thank you.

  97. Shreyansh Shrivastava says:

    In India we pronounce it hukka

  98. Hamza Abdirizak says:

    Adam is the best and loyal teacher I’ve ever met him

  99. barton fink says:

    i love you

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