How do I sound?

Have you ever listened to yourself speaking in English? Or what do you think, how do you sound when you speak English? Probably you have the feeling that you mispronounced some words and this makes you feel uncomfortable. That is completely natural! If you just started learning English you can do a lot regarding your pronunciation! If you speak English for a while then you will have to try hard and improve your pronunciation.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to sound completely like a native speaker because there are many factors affecting this. But what we can do is to practice, sound fluent and, to some extent natural when we have conversations in English.

The best technique for this is called ''shadowing''. Sadly, teachers do not use this technique often so children usually learn grammar, vocabulary and other things while still at school, but the focus is never on their pronunciation. Yes, they say the word correctly, but it doesn't sound that much natural as it should be. Therefore, start with shadowing and you will see and understand the difference. 

 

What is shadowing?

Basically, you listen to the native speaker and repeat after him/her as soon as possible. It is very important that you do not wait and then repeat. First, listen without any repetition and pay attention to the pronunciation. Then, play the video or record again and immediately start repeating after the speaker. Do not pause. If you skip some words it is perfectly fine. The more mistakes you make the better you will get! Just continue. When you finish your first shadowing, it is recommended to do this for the second time. Now you will be faster and very soon, you will speak at the same time as the speaker.
 Tip: try to find videos with the transcript so that you can follow the text and don't get lost.
Also, when you practice this method, your mouth muscles also practice by making sounds that are not common in your language but in English.

What should you use to shadow?

You should use short audio and if your level is below intermediate, and then use simple audios in the beginning. First, learn how to pronounce easy words and sentences and later, move to the more complex ones.

Here are some websites where you can find material to shadow:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/features/the-english-we-speak

https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish-podcasts

 

websites taken from:

 https://www.discoverenglish.com.au/blog/english-language-tips/shadowing

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