Shadowing? (Vs mimicking)

Elf
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I read here several days ago about shadowing vs. mimicking, so I figured out it would be useful to explore it a bit. 


Shadowing is considered to be an advanced technique of language learning invented by an American professor, Alexander Arguelles, some of you have probably heard of it/him. It is a practice of listening to a speech/podcasts/audio recording and within a very short delay, you repeat the same words, letting yourself acquire the intonation and cadence of the speaker's voice. Since it asks for lots of confidence (speaking loud and clear) and focuses on articulation and pronunciation, it is helpful to the brain that is meanwhile creating new neural pathways for your language acquisition. It improves our short-term memory, but since you listen and speak almost instantaneously, you don't really think and speak. 


You can start shadowing by choosing a recording, if you're doing it alone, listening (and reading the script) several times, but noting down vocabulary is not allowed at the beginning, as your focus should be on actually understanding the context and general content of the text and rather on the sounds and cadences of the speech. Shadowing helps improve pronunciation and fluency, but it is not recommended for everyone. It also helps regain intonation of your previously learnt language, if other languages interfere in your language-learning practice. 

It is considered to be very helpful when we temporarily lack conversation practice, but conversing is always a better learning technique. Otherwise, before you start conversing, it is a powerful tool to gain confidence and train your speaking apparatus. 


I think that the difference between shadowing and mimicking is that in shadowing, the delay of repeating is shorter. What do you think of that? Is shadowing a good technique for language learning? When should we start with it? And which one do you think is better: shadowing or mimicking, and can we put both in the same basket anyway? 


Thank you! 




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#1
Ent
Posts742Likes 460Joined 18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
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Good question. Prof. Arguelles shadowing has no delay; you are supposed to speak at the same time as the recording. By mimicking do you mean waiting until the sentence is completely or partially finished before repeating? I much prefer waiting until after the sentence is over before I repeat; that's one thing I always do with Pimsleur.

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#2
Elf
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leosmith wrote:

Good question. Prof. Arguelles shadowing has no delay; you are supposed to speak at the same time as the recording. By mimicking do you mean waiting until the sentence is completely or partially finished before repeating? I much prefer waiting until after the sentence is over before I repeat; that's one thing I always do with Pimsleur.


Yes, that's what I mean. Yeah, I guess both can be combined, depending on what you prefer, repeating instantly or understanding a bit then mimicking. I guess it also depends on the level of knowledge of the language and what you feel more comfortable with. 

I have no idea, that's why I ask for opinions 

Thanks! 


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#3
Ent
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Mai wrote:
I have no idea, that's why I ask for opinions

I'm sure you've tried mimicking; everyone agrees that it's quite helpful. You should shadow a sentence a few times in English just to see what it feels like so you can judge for yourself. Here are some samples. I used to do this for a while. I really liked it because I could tell when my voice was straying from correct pronunciation, and reign it in again. I was using biofeedback to help my studies, which I loved. I thought it was giving me native pronunciation. But eventually I realized that my voice could vary quite a bit within the envelope of the recording, because my ears couldn't tell the difference in there, so I really couldn't tell how good my pronunciation was. 


Repeating after the recording, however, allowed me to clearly hear my voice and fine tune it to match the recording to a much higher degree. I'm curious to know if this is the case for you too. 

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#4
Elf
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Yeah, I prefer mimicking too, but they are both useful for different purposes, and you explained them both really well. I find shadowing to help me with synchronisation, but I do miss hearing my own voice, pronunciation and evaluating it. But synchronising in shadowing also gives a glimpse into what you are doing, but has a different purpose I believe. I believe shadowing to be more useful at the beginning of my course/self-study, although Alexander considers it to be an advanced learning technique. 


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#5
Ranger
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Thanks for the links Leo they are a great resource I've not run into them before I am always looking for good listening sources. 

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#6
Ranger
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Thank you for sharing! I've never heard about shadowing, I may give it a try.

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#7
Dwarf
Posts68Likes 37Joined 6/10/2018LocationJonestown / US
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Wow! Thank you for sharing this information! I believe that using a combination of both would boost learning! However, if choosing only one, then you just should try each of them to conclude which works best for you!

Taylor Fabio

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