How to practice speaking in English by using the shadowing technique?
Have you ever been in a situation like this?
Since he was a child, Guilhermo has always wanted to sound like a native speaker of English. His family moved from Mexico to the USA when he was only six and he was always teased at school because of his Spanish accent.
He has always wondered what is it that he could do to lose his accent. When he was in high school, he met an exchange student from Portugal. Her name was Amalia and she spoke perfect British English. Guilhermo was astounded by her English.
When he asked her how she learned to speak perfect British English, she told him that she tried something called the shadowing technique.
This was the first time Guilhermo heard about the shadowing technique.
What is that?, he wondered...
So, what is it that you can do in a situation like this?
Many of my students have often asked me the same question:
How can I improve my accent and practice speaking like native speakers?
In this post, I will try to give an answer to this question from my perspective as a language learner.
As you know, I learned Croatian and at first, it was hard for me to pronounce some words and sound like a native speaker.
But, then I started listening to more TV shows and radio stations in Croatian and repeat the words and sentences that I would hear.
After a while, my pronunciation really started improving and I was able to speak and sound like a native speaker.
So, my advice for all of you wanting to improve your accent and practice speaking is:
use the shadowing technique!
Keep reading and learn MORE TIPS TO IMPROVE your Speaking Skills.
What is the shadowing technique? How does it function?
Many English learners often have a goal to be fluent like native speakers, and sound as them as well.
It is not impossible to achieve this goal.
One of the ways you can achieve is to practice speaking by using the mimicking technique.
The shadowing technique is basically mimicking the tones and rhythm of native speakers. One of the best ways to practice this technique is watching movie clips or TV shows, or listening to radio stations in English.
When you hear a sentence, try to repeat the words and sounds exactly as you hear them. The more you practice, the better you’ll sound.
What does it mean to imitate the speaker?
Repeat everything what is being said in the natural conversation.
You can try to talk at the same time as the speaker, or you can wait until the speaker finished the sentence and then repeat what they said.
The choice is completely up to you, but I recommend that you try to talk at the same time so that you are improving your speed in speaking in English. This will also affect your ability to think fast in English and improve it significantly.
Don’t feel sad if you need to repeat the audio several times to achieve the perfect pronunciation. You will see that it is possible to improve your accent by practicing this technique regularly. Practice makes perfect!
What would have happened if Guilhermo had followed these tips?
If Guilhermo had followed these tips and used the shadowing technique regularly, he would not have been teased in school.
He would have mastered the perfect American English accent and nobody would have teased him.
It IS possible to learn different English accents by using the shadowing tecnique!
I have met so many people that speak perfect British English and are not even British! So, it is indeed possible!
English is their second language, but they mastered it by practicing the mimicking technique. Some of my friends even admit that they learned British English while watching Harry Potter movies.
It’s a great way to improve your accent, isn’t it? 😊
Find movie clips or TV shows in English, especially in the accent you want to learn.
If you want to learn British English, I recommend watching Harry Potter movies or Downton Abbey TV series.
These are interesting and fun to watch and you will improve both your English fluency and pronunciation if you repeat the lines and try to mimic all the sounds.
If you prefer American English, there are many great shows you can watch. Try watching, for example, Modern Family and also use the mimicking technique.
TV comedy shows are also a great way to learn some English idioms and proverbs, so that’s a bonus point!
Have fun practicing speaking and shadowing the sounds of native speakers!
Some tips to help you remain confident and do the shadowing technique:
• Do not worry about making mistakes! The more you apply this technique, the better you will get.
• Imitate everything! From pronunciation, intonation, word stress etc.
• Try to use headphone or earphones when listening, to avoid other sounds and to stay focused when doing the shadowing technique
• Give it time! The more you practice this technique, the better will you be at it.