Is it really possible to get my accent reduced? For a long time, I thought it wasn’t possible, but the truth is that it can. If you’re like me, maybe at some point during an English conversation you were told to repeat what you said because it’s not understood. It’s frustrating, I know; but you must not be discouraged.
Students often aim to speak fluently like a native speaker and have a perfect accent. It is not impossible to achieve this goal, but perhaps putting more emphasis on developing the ability to imitate the tones and rhythm of English will be more effective in achieving an accent reduction.
In this article, I share an English conversation activity that you can add to your study routine to reduce your foreign accent and make it easier for native speakers to understand; All this without the need for an English teacher, you can do it yourself in the comfort of your home.
An activity called what I like to call “mimicry” is an amazing technique. Basically, this technique consists of imitating the pronunciation of a native speaker through audio and videos. Keep in mind that this activity requires a lot of patience and it may surprise you how many times you must try to repeat the phrase before you can say it correctly.
Personally, I found it very difficult to do this activity with high-speed audio. I felt like my tongue and mouth didn’t move as fast as the audio and I used to have a bad pronunciation. What I did was use a site like Audacity to reduce the audio speed by 30-40%. After a bit of practice, I was able to change the audio speed to be 20% slower while still maintaining good pronunciation.
Don’t feel like a failure if you have to repeat the audio 50 times! It’s very satisfying when you can finally repeat it in the same way. You will find that you can stand out better by doing this activity regularly.
I like to use my phone or a tape recorder to mimic the audio so I can hear the words I have a hard time saying correctly or the words I say with a foreign accent. You should spend time saying these words over and over again until they come out of your mouth without any problems.
The idea is that you’re so good at repeating audio that you actually feel like you’re the person saying it. This will give you the feeling of really speaking like a native. Now what you have to do is find audios with the English accent you want to study.
Podcasts: You can find podcasts with the accent that interests you.
News Stations and Radio Shows: You can find news clips or radio stations from the regions you are interested in developing an accent. Choose a major city in the region you are interested in and do a Google search.
Movie or TV Show Clips: Find movie or TV show clips. Search Wikipedia to find out where the television show is filmed or where actors were originally to determine the accents that are used. I like the YouTube channel: trailers with subtitles which features movie trailers with English subtitles. The movie’s advances are short, which is perfect for this exercise, but sometimes they jump from scene to scene. Just be sure to select one that you understand well. It makes a difference when you’re repeating the audio you understand.