Tips And Advice

Tips for learning English: 11 – Listen and imitate

Listen and imitate. When I was learning Portuguese, I learned so many phrases by listening to a famous Brazilian singer (Seu Jorge) and repeating exactly what he was singing. I obviously did this alone in my room because I didn’t want to inflict my voice upon anyone!

My method was to listen to his songs and find songs not too difficult to copy. Firstly, I played the first line of the song and then copied what he said out loud, then secondly, repeated the process with the first line until I could say the words at the same speed and with similar pronunciation as him. After a few times of doing this with the whole song, I started to write down what I heard phonetically while I was listening (not the correct spelling most of the time!) and then analysed how the words joined together to create fast and fluent speech. It didn’t matter that I had no idea about some of the vocabulary or what the vocabulary meant. This exercise focuses purely on your English pronunciation and something called connective speech.

In the English language, a lot of words in a sentence are joined together based on consonants and vowels, making this exercise really useful for that. Take your time with one song, don’t change the song too quickly, continually practise the same song for a week or two, and then after that, you can look for any unknown vocabulary in a dictionary. And it really doesn’t have to be a song you love, it’s more about practising natural and authentic speech.

Listening to a singer and repeating what they say improves;

  • pronunciation
  • fluency
  • sounding natural
  • listening skills.

This method helps to join your words together in a more fluent and natural way. Start with slow music or something that you like. Listen Pause Imitate Repeat Listen Pause Imitate Repeat. This is especially useful for people whose language has different rhythms such as Spanish, French, Italian and Japanese.



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