Language learners frequently overlook developing a decent accent in favor of focusing on grammar and vocabulary — but it’s crucial to practice your accent as well! We explain why and offer some suggestions for how to improve it.
If you believe that learning a foreign language’s accent is difficult and unattainable, you may be employing the incorrect way. We admit they’re difficult, but they’re not impossible! Here are some helpful hints for improving your accent in a foreign language, regardless of the one you’re learning.
Train yourself for spoken language.
Switch from theory to practice: Get as much exposure to your new language as possible. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but try to converse with native speakers as much as possible (even if it means going online!). If you’re having problems pronouncing a term, have someone repeat it for you or even record it on your phone. You can then replay it as many times as you like to improve your pronunciation. You can also use online dictionaries to listen to the exact pronunciation, which will help you get into the habit of studying in your new language.
learn the phonetic of letters.
Learning the phonetic alphabet can help you recognize new sounds and offer you with some navigational markers as you learn the language. Familiarity with a language’s phonemes aids in the recognition of sounds that your ear isn’t naturally “tuned to.” You’ll notice these sounds a lot more often when speaking and listening in your new language once you’ve learned to distinguish them.
You’ll learn how to distinguish sounds that appear identical to the untrained ear by becoming aware of the spectrum of sounds that exist in the language you’re learning, which will make spelling easier. This is especially beneficial if you learn largely through reading and writingLearning the phonetic alphabet can help you recognize new sounds and offer you with some navigational markers as you learn the language. Familiarity with a language’s phonemes aids in the recognition of sounds that your ear isn’t naturally “tuned to.” You’ll notice these sounds a lot more often when speaking and listening in your new language once you’ve learned to distinguish them.
Determine what makes the pronunciation ‘weird.’
You’ll quickly discover that your new language shares many sounds with your native tongue as a result of this exposure (even if those sounds are written differently). You may concentrate on the sounds that don’t exist in your native tongue now that you’ve noticed the commonalities. Avoid the urge to merely compare these unknown sounds to ones you’re familiar with. This may appear to be a convenient shortcut, but it’s a negative habit that will make correcting your pronunciation even more difficult in the long term.
Use cards if you’re having problems with a specific phoneme. Make a list of it, along with additional phonemes that are close but not identical. Say them out loud a few times. This will assist you in recognizing nuances and mastering those minor distinctions.
Perfection comes with practice.
Training your accent takes time and effort, so don’t give up if it doesn’t come naturally right away. Your training sessions should be frequent — no more than two days between sessions — for best efficiency (and every day is ideal). Collect newspaper articles, screenplays, and song lyrics, then record yourself reading them aloud. Then pay attention and analyze: what are your advantages and disadvantages? What habits from your native language have you carried over to your new language? You can also seek advice from native speakers. You may, for example, post your recordings to sites like Judge my Accent.
Accents might be challenging, but don’t give up! Your accent will improve as you talk more and receive more feedback.
listen as much as you can
As indicated in point two, the internet provides access to a wealth of audio content that can aid with pronunciation improvement. Listen as much as possible and on a regular basis! Rather than focusing just on grammar and vocabulary, devote some effort to the language’s phonetic elements. Focus on rhythm, breaks, and intonation while listening to brief audio tracks. Try to figure out what makes the sentence flow, and then try to reproduce it. Turn off the subtitles and focus on the actors’ mouths if you’re watching a movie in your target language.
Slow down the speed of the movie or music you’re watching if it’s too much for you (most digital media players allow you to do this — you can even slow down YouTube videos). This will assist you in distinguishing and separating each syllable. If, on the other hand, your comprehension level is already pretty high, you might increase the tempo to challenge yourself. This degree of concentration is excellent preparation for all those native speakers who speak quickly!