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Learning to mimic accents

Ranger
Posts385Likes192Joined11/7/2018LocationManila / PH
Native
Tagalog
Learning English, Korean

This is a challenge for me. I've been speaking English for more than a decade and when I speak English, I still don't sound American. Some people have difficulty pinpointing where I'm from but I still don't sound like a native speaker. And I speak English more than 10 hours a day -- even at home.


When I tried learning French, this was my struggle too. I had a trainee who was French and when she heard me speaking French, she said that I was understandable but it was clear I'm a non-native.


Acquiring the "native" accent is not a requirement to being understood but I want to be able to do so so that when I need to sound like a native speaker, I can do it.


How'd you guys do it? Any tips?

--

ikay

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#1
Ranger
Posts363Likes174Joined10/7/2018LocationBinan City / PH
Native
Tagalog
Other English

ikaymoreno wrote:

This is a challenge for me. I've been speaking English for more than a decade and when I speak English, I still don't sound American. Some people have difficulty pinpointing where I'm from but I still don't sound like a native speaker. And I speak English more than 10 hours a day -- even at home.

When I tried learning French, this was my struggle too. I had a trainee who was French and when she heard me speaking French, she said that I was understandable but it was clear I'm a non-native.

Acquiring the "native" accent is not a requirement to being understood but I want to be able to do so so that when I need to sound like a native speaker, I can do it.

How'd you guys do it? Any tips?


That's a difficult journey but its attainable. You just need to put more time and effort in learning the native accent. Good luck to your journey! :blush: 

Edzky-18

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#2
Ent
Posts835Likes505Joined18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
Native
English
Learning Tagalog
Other Swahili, Thai

ikaymoreno wrote:
Acquiring the "native" accent is not a requirement to being understood but I want to be able to do so so that when I need to sound like a native speaker, I can do it.

Don't feel too bad; it's virtually impossible in your situation. If you work hard, you can get it to the point where you can occasionally be mistaken for a native speaker. The things working against you: 1) you're already an adult 2) you've got non-native pronunciation fossilized. Either one of these would make the task impossible, but you have both.


That being said, there is some standard advice that's given to reduce accent, or improve one's ability to mimic a native speaker: do a lot of shadowing/chorusing/parroting/repeating sentences. This is basically listening to native sentences, then repeating. When you repeat, you need to try to copy all aspects of the sentence, not just the vowels and consonants but also prosody (patterns of stress and intonation in a language).


There is a caveat, however. This assumes you have no problems at the phoneme (distinct unit of sound) level, that is, your consonants and vowel sounds are fine already. If they aren't you need to fix them first. If you are serious about working on your pronunciation, you could make a 30-60 sec recording reading a script here, then post the link to the audio along with the text below.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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#3
Elf
Posts137Likes82Joined3/9/2018LocationLagos / NG
Native
English
Learning French

Try movies.. while watching.. pause and repeat(mimic). Or audio files. 

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#4
Elf
Posts114Likes79Joined8/10/2018LocationPH
Native
English, Tagalog
Learning Japanese

I agree with the mimic approach. You can use movies (I prefer podcasts) to zero down on accent.


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#5
Elf
Posts125Likes95Joined3/9/2018LocationSkopje / MK
Native
Macedonian
Other Arabic - Gulf, English, French, Spanish, Serbian

You might as well try to accept your "deficiency" and see the uniqueness and positive intention behind it and I guarantee you, as soon as you see the beauty in your pronunciation and own ways of being, you will start sounding like native speakers, or even better. 


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#6
Ranger
Posts385Likes192Joined11/7/2018LocationManila / PH
Native
Tagalog
Learning English, Korean

Thanks for the replies, guys! I worked as a soft skills trainer for years and one of the courses I teach is Accent Neutralization. I have no problems with any of the American English sounds (I find British sounds impossible). The reason I actually want to be able to mimic accents is that in some of the courses like Listening, it's better if the facilitator can speak like a native during the some of the exercises. We're also required to do voice recording sometimes and although you can't tell I'm Filipino, it also doesn't sound close to American English.


As for immersion, I work full time at home now and just facilitate classes as a consultant every 3 months or so. The only people around me are my kids. :)

--

ikay

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#7