Often times, taking an advanced foreign language course can mean that on paper you might be fluent. However the biggest impediment for foreign language students is knowing how things sound when they are right— and the biggest reason for this is your own accent. Losing your accent in a foreign language will not only help you assimilate faster if you move, work or study abroad, it’ll also help you solidify your vocabulary and make you a fluent speaker. So by prioritizing pronunciation you will be able to tell naturally what is the correct way of saying something is.
If a foreign language doesn’t flow or sound particularly fluid and beautiful, chances are that you’re probably saying the wrong thing. Also what people forget is not only is pronunciation important but colloquial phrases are as well. So how can you improve your accent?
- Watching Movies
Accents require a well tuned ear, so make sure you’re listening to people speak in the foreign language you’re learning — you can do this by watching movies. Foreign language movies are great because they expose the colloquial language, as opposed to the taught language. Watching movies will teach you the “slang” or the common ways of speaking, which will help you improve your accent by adjusting the content of what you say to what is common.
- Listen to Music
Along the same lines make sure to listen to music in that foreign language. This will bring even more benefits than just hearing people speak because of music’s fluid melody. Most languages taught in school have a lovely rhythm that can be perceived through the local music. Also music is the most melodic and fluid way to communicate, meaning that it will teach you what words sound beautiful together and therefore help you recognize how words are supposed to sound together.
- Read a passage out loud
Take a passage and read it out loud, and try to pronounce everything correctly. No one is around to hear you mess up, so the more often you do this the better you will get at pronunciation
- Live abroad
Try to live, at least for a couple of months, in a place that speaks the foreign language you are studying. You will start to see more progress in one week of living in a foreign place than you do in 1 month of classes.
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