How To Get Rid Of Your Accent Using Shadowing and The Mimic Method

So, you must be here because you don't want to have that accent anymore. Maybe you've heard that you'll always have an accent and that you have to be born a native to speak without one. Nope.

There are many people out there that can speak completely without an accent and some have never even set foot in the country. My Spanish speaking aunt being a good example. All her Spanish friends say she doesn't have an accent. When I hear her and the natives speak, she really does sound the same.

The techniques that I want to talk about though, my aunt didn't use. But these are quicker than what she was doing (immersion). I was just using her as an example to show that it's possible. So let's hop in.

1. Shadowing

Shadowing is an accent reduction technique created by Prof. Alexander Arguelles. He has a couple videos explaining and demonstrating it that you can check out on his YouTube but I'll go over it here as well.

This does not involve riding camels, however.
This does not involve riding camels, however.

In a nutshell, it involves listening to an audio track and repeating whatever is being said as fast as possible after it is said. Hence, “Shadowing” the speaker. By doing this, it really gets you used to the sounds/tones and helps you pronounce the words properly. He recommends that you really try and repeat as fast as you can for the best effect. The goal is to try and do it without delay - although there will always be a slight delay of milliseconds of course.

In the video below, he demonstrates himself doing this. In the video, you can see how he actually walks around while shadowing. For me personally, I can't sit still and I can actually focus much better when standing, so if you are the same, then I would recommended walking around while doing it.

You might feel stupid at first, but better to feel stupid for awhile than to have a bad accent, right? 😉 You get used to it anyway.

2. Flow-verlapping (The Mimic Method)

A technique created by Idahosa Ness. This is pretty similar to shadowing except it has its own twist.

  1. Find some music or a recording of a native.
  2. Record yourself either singing/talking and then try to mimic the sounds heard.
  3. You want to take the recording and -overlap- what is being sung or spoken in some software.

Basically, try and get the sound waves to match up together. You'll have to keep re-recording to get it right.

You'll notice that if you correctly mimic the native speaker, you will hear the audio track get louder. This means that you are successfully matching the correct tones, etc. If it sounds like a jumbled mess, then you probably didn't do it right.

Here's an example of Idahosa doing it...

You can use software like audacity to do this, which should come pre-installed on Windows PC's. To record yourself, you can also use the Soundcloud recorder widget for Android or iOS

Idahosa goes more in depth on this technique at his blog post about the Mimic Method. He's a cool guy, so go check him out.

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These are two great technique for getting rid of your accent. You might be uncomfortable trying them at first, but it's worth the initial discomfort. Got any other techniques you would recommended? Every tried either one of these?

Leave a comment below as I would love to hear!

5 thoughts on “How To Get Rid Of Your Accent Using Shadowing and The Mimic Method

  1. Robert

    Can you please publish details of how exactly did your aunt manage to speak spanish without an accent. What was her learning program? What resources did she use? And in what quantity of time was she able to achieve her non accent speaking?

    Reply
    1. Zach

      Post author

      Hi Robert,

      My aunt was able to speak without an accent by immersion in the language, which is also how she learned. She lives in a place where there are a lot of Spanish speakers so most of her friends are Spanish speaking and she also has a Spanish speaking boyfriend. It took her a little longer this way, probably around 4 years or so until she actually got rid of it.

      With these methods though, you could get rid of an accent much faster.

      Reply
  2. Rosangela Sena

    I don't know why people want to do that. your accent shows who you really are, for example, it's so beautiful to hear someone from France speaking English with his/her French accent and someone from USA spaking Spanish with his/her american accent and etc.

    I prefer speaking English 100% with my Brazilian accent than to speak only a few phrases (to show off), sounding like an native English speaker.

    Think about it.

    Reply
    1. Zach

      Post author

      I agree, but some people have really thick accents that are hard to understand. In those cases I think they should at least try and get better at it and these methods would be beneficial to them. I totally understand what you mean though.

      Reply

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