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.
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.
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.
- Find some music or a recording of a native.
- Record yourself either singing/talking and then try to mimic the sounds heard.
- 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...
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.
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!