Using ‘shadowing’ to improve pronunciation

Do you know what ‘shadowing’ is?

Shadowing is repeating what a speaker says just after they say it. You try to copy the speaker’s sounds by following them like a shadow.

Doing shadowing is a great way to improve your pronunciation. It also helps build your listening skills.

Don’t worry, with shadowing, you don’t need to understand everything. Just listen carefully and try to copy the speaker’s sounds. Copy their pronunciation. Also copy their stress, intonation, rhythm, and pausing. Just imagine you’re copying music.

You can find many videos of speakers to shadow online. Choose speakers that speak clearly with good pronunciation. Examples of good speakers to shadow are storytellers, actors, and newsreaders. You don’t have to use different content each time, but it’s good to try shadowing different types of speakers.

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You don’t need shadow a lot each time. But, to build pronunciation, it’s a good idea to do it often. Shadowing a few minutes of speech each time is enough.

Don’t worry if you can’t shadow the speaker well. But don’t read the subtitles. Just do your best to listen and copy the speaker’s sounds. If it’s difficult, try pausing the video every few seconds. Then, later, shadow the same talk again with no pausing.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to check the subtitles after you’ve finished shadowing. Write down a few of the words that were difficult to pronounce. Check their pronunciation and stress in a dictionary.

Extra tips:   Sometimes, try recording yourself shadowing. Listening to the recording can tell you how closely you could copy the speaker’s sounds. This should improve slowly with time.

Related links:

Why is word stress important?

Three tips for improving speech delivery

More tips for self-study (Pomaka eBook)