Is there any difference among "sound native", "sound nativelike" and "sound natural" when it comes to the following sentence? "He speaks English fluently and sounds native / nativelike / natural."

  • 1
    "Sound nativelike" is very non-fluent sounding.
    – stangdon
    Aug 1, 2021 at 13:31
  • Ah shucks, you mean you can't "sound native, like"? [that's an advanced joke]
    – Lambie
    Aug 2, 2021 at 17:09

2 Answers 2


Your example sentence

He speaks English fluently and sounds native / nativelike / natural.

suffers from the problem of saying the same think twice, at least approximately.

He sounds like a native

would be natural as a stand alone sentence.

I personally would avoid the use of native too widely as in my childhood it was used to describe the people of our colonies in Africa and conveyed the sense that the speaker thought of them as rather inferior, a common view at the time. I suspect most younger speakers would not have that memory so it is probably acceptable these days. It is fine if you mean someone was born somewhere, as in he is a native of Wales.

  • You can be fluent and have a heavy accent....:). Native speaker is ok, native without speaker does not somewhat colonial...
    – Lambie
    Aug 2, 2021 at 17:11

"sounds native" is of a person.

"sounds natural" is of a sentence or of a person's speech.

"He sounds natural" doesn't really... have a lot of meaning.

"That sentence sounds native" also sounds odd.

You can say "that sentence sounds natural" or "that person sounds native" and they make perfect sense, but no, overall, the adjectives do not have the same meanings.

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