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10 Tips on How to Get Rid of Your Foreign Accent (Mega Post)

Main image of post about 10 tips on how to get rid of your foreign language, showing two persons talking.

Hey guys. So, it’s finally happening. I have planned to write this blog post since the day I started my blog. I will give you 10 tips on how to get rid of your foreign accent in this Mega Post!

Why did I wait so long?

I find this topic captivating and of high interest for a lot of people. But, I knew that I still needed to gain more experience in working on my own accent. This is why I decided to take the time necessary. If you cannot remember, then you will find the definition and roots of the word “accent” here.

The other reason was that I found various techniques scattered throughout separate videos, blog posts, or books. This is why a goal of this blog was to collect the best techniques and provide you with a single source of and for them!

Without further ado, let’s jump right to the 10 tips on how you can get rid of your foreign accent!

#1 Exaggerate the Pronunciation

What do I mean by exaggerating the pronunciation? It means that you should attempt to pronounce words slowly, clearly, and with emphasis on their intricate parts. In other words, you self-consciously utter every word, with the goal of mastering the challenging sounds of a new language.

Let’s look at a real example. I had problems with differentiating the similar sounds of ć and č in Serbo-Croatian. A likewise sound in English might be “ch” like in “church.” By exaggerating words containing these letters, I not only learned to pronounce them correctly but also don’t confound them anymore. After some time, the pronunciation became natural to me, and I also began to hear the difference between these two letters.

If you want to overcome your accent caused by sounds you cannot reproduce equally, then try to exaggerate each and every word in the beginning. Take your time and do it on purpose. Quickly, your pronunciation will change and start to resemble the native one!

#2 Listen, Listen, Listen

Hand on radio to illustrated that you need to listen to get rid of your foreign accent

I can hardly stress enough how essential listening is for acquiring a native pronunciation. Isn’t it obvious? Reading alone in a foreign language will never tell you how words ought to sound and how they are expected to be pronounced.

Be sure to listen to enough content in the language and dialect of this language that you want to adopt. Listen to podcasts, YouTube videos, songs, TV shows, Netflix, etc. The number of possibilities is infinite! Pay attention to how native speakers pronounce vowels and differing consonants.

Notice the native speakers’ rhythm. Are words sometimes pronounced without a break between them, i.e., connected to each other? Or are words said in a staccato manner, separated from each other? Take Spanish, for example. There, words ending in “a” and starting with “a” sometimes merge.

Only small differences like the one in Spanish distinguish a non-native pronunciation from the native accent. All of this will make you remember and know how words should sound, even though you are still only on the way to master them.

#3 Read Aloud

I have written about the benefits of reading aloud before. I also briefly mentioned its effect on pronunciation. Now, I want to elaborate on that thought.

Be aware that the method of reading only makes sense if you have listened to a language enough before. The reason is that you need to be acquainted with the right pronunciation of words in order to imitate it.

Read slowly while voicing the sentences aloud. Focus on doing so deeespaaaciiiitoooo and do your best to get the pronunciation right. This way, you are training your facial muscles to move correctly. Additionally, a loud voice tricks your brain, making it believe that what you are doing is important. Your mind will increase its focus, and you will progress faster.

I don’t recommend doing this all the time as you might get a headache. Instead, take sufficient breaks from reading aloud. My personal experience has shown that this practice is easy to perform and delivers exceptional results! Try it!

#4 Shadowing

Woman listening and repeating what she hears while learning an accent.

Shadowing is an advanced language-learning technique. But, what does shadowing mean?

Listen to some content, and, as soon as you have heard a word, repeat it aloud. Strive for imitating the same pronunciation. At times, exaggerate terms. Every time you listen to the same audio again, you will get closer to the desired accent! Talking frequently will improve your accent. Each time around, you will be able to repeat the words with less delay, until speaking almost simultaneously as the narrator.

You will also sense or feel whether words in a language are pronounced in the same pitch. Some languages, like English, often stress single words in a sentence. Spanish, on the other hand, connects all sounds throughout a phrase, leading to an even pitch throughout.

Repeating what you hear is a splendid method for forcing you to vocalize appropriately. You do not need to speak loudly. Even talking under your breath will do the trick. Of course, if you do this in public, people might think you are a bit nuts. Who cares?

#5 Watch Native Speakers’ Mouths

This aspect is crucial! The constellation of your facial muscles determines which sounds leave your mouth. Thus, pay special attention to how natives move theirs.

I actually used to do this when learning Dutch. My Dutch friend Kay is a parade example for a very expressive person. Dutch might be similar to German, but the pronunciation is not alike. Of course, Kay had no idea that he was teaching me a great deal about how to pronounce more like a Dutchman, while he was flexing his facial musculature.

E.g., I noticed that that the “g” sound is heavily used and needs to be uttered roughly or that the Dutch open their mouths widely to make the sounds of “ou” or “ui.” You will find more peculiarities of a genuine Dutch pronunciation here. Even though I am still far from mastering the Dutch accent, thanks for your support, Kay!

Anyway, do not just listen but also look. Acquiring an accent is more than meets the eye, so, pay attention to the details!

#6 Record Yourself

Record yourself in order to get rid of your foreign accent, illustrated in the image.

To me, it is a pity that people rarely take the time to analyze their speech. Is there a better form to find, better, hear your weaknesses than recording yourself and listening to the audio?

Yes, it requires you to make an effort. Yes, you will need to be critical with yourself. Yes, this takes time.

But, the return on time invested is magnificent! Now, you can either just record your voice or make a video of yourself talking. The latter option is even better because you will also have a look at how your mouth is moving. As described in #6, you should aim for imitating or aping native speakers.

I want to stress that the revision of your footage needs and deserves its time. Annotate words or sounds you struggle with. You can always look up a word’s right pronunciation by going to the Google Translator and typing it in.

Most importantly, record yourself repeating the same sentences again at a later moment. Like this, you will be able to analyze the progress you have made in the meantime. Are you pronouncing those French words nasally? Are you rolling the r with your tongue like the actors in Spanish series? These videos will reveal everything you still have to work on to get rid of your foreign accent.

#7 Develop and Use Anchor Phrases

What is an anchor phrase? Well, besides helping ships to keep their location, an anchor can also describe a fixed point to hold upon in a psychological sense!

In our case, an anchor phrase will be a sentence or a pair of words that you are able to pronounce up to the T with a native accent.

I heard of this technique in a YouTube video and realized that I have employed it without thinking about it. E.g., whenever I decided to switch to a British English accent, I would mutter, mumble, or think the following: “Marvellous! Extraordinary! I fancy fish and chips with a tiny bit of sauce.”

I have come to the conclusion that it helps to not only say some words in this accent but also include common expressions of this accent in my anchor phrase.

See your anchor phrase as going to the settings of your mouth and changing its language. You will prepare yourself for the upcoming sentences. When you feel that you are drifting back to your foreign accent, then just repeat your anchor phrase once more. Try it! You are welcome.

#8 Split Difficult Words Into Tiny Bits of Sounds

Letters to show that you should split words to get rid of your foreign language.

Very simple. Very effective.

They always exist. These words that you just cannot get right. Often, we are talking about longer terms with many syllables. By the way, the longest German word has not made it into the official German dictionary: Grundstücksverkehrsgenehmigungszuständigkeitsübertragungsverordnung.

Anyway, one word I always struggled with was “Interdisciplinary”. As I grew increasingly tired of not pronouncing it appropriately, I sat down. I sat down, took a pen, and split this word into its very syllables: in-ter-dis-ci-pli-na-ry. Then, I would utter this word syllable by syllable until my ears and mouth got fully accustomed to it.

Of course, nemesis terms will differ from person to person. Even in case the word is only two syllables long, splitting it up will make it easier for you. E.g., I had a hard time saying the Dutch word for onions: “uien”. So, I split it into ui-en and concentrated on the problematic first ui-sound. Now, the waiters in Dutch restaurants understand me, when I order some extra onions!

#9 Ask Native Speakers to Correct You

You are one of the lucky ones. You have an advantage over many others who are learning a language. What am I talking about?

I am talking about the advantage you have when you know a native speaker of the language you want to master. I have talked about some of the benefits earlier. Now, who are the people who know the best how a word needs to sound? Exactly, native speakers!

Therefore, make the most of this fact and ask your friend or acquaintance to correct you. He or she should not correct you all the time as this would rather demotivate you. Instead, your alleged teacher should correct you from time to time and address your notorious pronouncing mistakes.

Don’t just let him or her explain to you how it should sound. Imitate the native pronunciation! Repeat the challenging word or even sentence a couple of times if necessary. Your pronunciation will improve! This effect has also been proven in a study.

I always apply this technique as it is a quick and focused manner to master the most defiant expressions! So, don’t miss this opportunity!

#10 Imagine Yourself as a Native

Persons imagining himself as a native speaker in order to take on another accent.

The last tip actually forms the basis for any improvement and is the key to your success! Learning an accent is a mind game. The psychological site is essential!

When you want to imitate a specific accent, you need to actively imagine that it is your native accent and language. At this moment, you are an American farmer from Texas or a British gentleman from London.

Stereotypes are of great help here. I also heard of this technique only a couple of months ago! And I used it whenever I fancied a British Accent.

Don’t forget your anchor phrase. Try this method, and you will experience an immediate improvement! You will most probably not succeed completely in switching when you do this for the first time. But, regular practice will work its magic and help you to get rid of your foreign accent!

Conclusion: 10 Tips on How to Get Rid of Your Foreign Accent

And this was it. My Mega Post for you guys to overcome your foreign accent and adapt a native one. Even if you use only a couple of these learning techniques, you will experience considerable progress.

Finally, there are a lot more ways for you to improve your accent. I just decided to list the ones I found to be the most effective! In the end, you need to find out which technique works best for you.

Enjoy the boost in your language learning!

10 Tips on How to Get Rid of Your Foreign Accent (Mega Post) – The Manifestation of a Compelling Language Blog

In this blog, you will discover a bunch of proven tips on how to crack the language-learning game! I hope this Mega Post met your expectations and will help you to overcome your foreign accent!

There will be a loooooot more articles coming! 

At the moment, I am actively posting content on PinterestInstagram, and Twitter. Have a look if you just can’t get enough of “Veni. Vidi. Linguas didici!”

Are you asking yourself: “Who is this guy whose words I am reading right now?” You will find some information about me here.

Woman why watching a funny series.
#16 QuickTip: Combining fun and learning increases your learning progress tremendously. Thus, use a funny series, manga, book, or movie to both get better in a language and have fun!

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1 Comment

  • 3typical


    February 17, 2022 at 16:12
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