How to Tap into the Might of Pictures, Podcasts and Pouting to Ace Your Accent!
You’ve put a great deal of time and energy into studying your second language. You’ve aced innumerable vocabulary tests and nailed countless grammar exercises. So why-oh-why do you still feel so conspicuously foreign when you speak? Yes, dear reader, it’s time for the Accent Chat…
Far more than just an add-on for your final learning offensive, getting your accent right requires a lot of TLC and attention. You’ll need to look beyond the pronunciation guide hiding sheepishly at the back of your dictionary. Unless you understand phonetic script, guides on single and multiple letter pronunciation, troublesome silent letters and forbidden letter combinations leave us none the wiser. And that’s before we even mention those old devils called word stress and sentence rhythm. Ouch!
What we need are detailed explanations, concrete examples, really good pictures, podcasts and… more pouting! Read on for details.
- Search the internet for the first three elements of this heady mix. There are lots of useful sites which provide very helpful explanations, examples and pictures (of mouth position) for our biggest pronunciation bugbears. Practise them in front of a mirror, and then practise them again… and again… and again. Over time, these seemingly impossible sounds will become second nature to you. Congratulations in advance!
- Get trigger happy with podcasts. First, listen to the podcast to understand meaning. The second time around, focus on pronunciation differences. Note down the troublesome words, and repeat them back. Then read the whole podcast transcript out loud to spot any stubborn pronunciation goblins requiring further attention.
- Shadow a podcast, repeating the words after you hear them like an echo. Record yourself with your phone. When you listen back, it’ll be easy to hear pronunciation mismatches.
- Adopt the gestures, facial expressions and noises (yes, noises!) of native speakers. Across the channel, for example, it’s possible to convince native speakers that you’re a bona fida Frenchie simply by tapping into the power of the mighty pout/ shrug/ boff combination ! Certainly in French, there’s nothing like a good pout to make yourself sound instantly local.
- Have fun! Part of the beauty of language learning is that just by chatting with native speakers, you’ll improve your pronunciation and rhythm.
To find out how you can extend the pleasures and the challenges of your second language to the workplace, please get in touch with your recruitment expert at ABL Recruitment.