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Moving from B2 to C2

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robarb
Nonaglot
Senior Member
United States
languagenpluson
Joined 3247 days ago

361 posts - 921 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese, English*, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Esperanto, French
Studies: Mandarin, Danish, Russian, Norwegian, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Greek, Latin, Nepali, Modern Hebrew

 
 Message 169 of 177
10 March 2015 at 12:01am | IP Logged 
Well, the usual advice is to enunciate clearly and let people accept your accent the way it is. When everything else is
in place, a strong accent tends not to impede communication much.

But I agree, a way to change your accent if you are stuck would be really awesome. I am afraid we may not yet have
discovered a reliable one, but if we have, I want to hear about it.
1 person has voted this message useful



luke
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
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 Message 170 of 177
10 March 2015 at 1:17am | IP Logged 
Although fluidity, spontaneity, and precision are mentioned in this
summary
of CEFR levels
, it doesn't actually mention pronunciation. Certainly, intelligibility is important, but that's
different from "native pronunciation".
3 persons have voted this message useful



hobom
Triglot
Newbie
Joined 2405 days ago

33 posts - 61 votes 
Speaks: German*, English, Russian
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 171 of 177
10 March 2015 at 3:51am | IP Logged 
robarb wrote:
Well, the usual advice is to enunciate clearly and let people accept your accent the way it is. When everything else is
in place, a strong accent tends not to impede communication much.

But I agree, a way to change your accent if you are stuck would be really awesome. I am afraid we may not yet have
discovered a reliable one, but if we have, I want to hear about it.


I have done some research into this matter, and actually a great method has been mentioned in a few posts here at htlal.

It is called the chorus method, and the short rundown is that in order to acquire great pronunciation, including a feel for rhythm and intonation, you get a few sentences and listen to each individual one twenty or thirty times in a row, and then start repeating with the recording. The rationale behind this is that pronunciation has many patterns and rules that are almost impossible to put into words, and even more to actually learn all of these consciously. So by repeating these sentences a lot of times in a row, all the patterns in one sentence just get inscribed into your brain because you train your muscles to produce them by following the recording.
I am sure a quick search will return the thread where it is explained in more detail.

I cannot vouch that this method will produce a native like accent, but by playing around with it I managed to get rid of my German accent while speaking English, although people can still tell that I am not from the US.



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garyb
Triglot
Senior Member
ScotlandRegistered users can see my Skype Name
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1468 posts - 2411 votes 
Speaks: English*, Italian, French
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 172 of 177
10 March 2015 at 9:28am | IP Logged 
1e4e6 is one of the lucky ones. Indeed, if we all had his ability to imitate accents we wouldn't need to discuss this. I do wonder whether an adult can develop that ability with enough practice/study, but I'm not optimistic. I've seen a couple of other threads on here where people said that those who are good at accents often tend to be those who imitated different accents as a child.

hobom wrote:

It is called the chorus method, and the short rundown is that in order to acquire great pronunciation, including a feel for rhythm and intonation, you get a few sentences and listen to each individual one twenty or thirty times in a row, and then start repeating with the recording. The rationale behind this is that pronunciation has many patterns and rules that are almost impossible to put into words, and even more to actually learn all of these consciously. So by repeating these sentences a lot of times in a row, all the patterns in one sentence just get inscribed into your brain because you train your muscles to produce them by following the recording.
I am sure a quick search will return the thread where it is explained in more detail.

I cannot vouch that this method will produce a native like accent, but by playing around with it I managed to get rid of my German accent while speaking English, although people can still tell that I am not from the US.


That would be Olle Kjellin's chorusing method. I've tried it; trust me, I've tried pretty much everything. I spent a month or so doing some chorusing most days for Italian. I found it useful to a point, for helping me improve my rhythm and put my phonetics study into practice, and I'd say it took my accent from bad to OK. After that point, however, the returns diminished. Similarly to you, it helped me lose the obvious English influence but didn't exactly make me sound native. At the end of the day I was still limited by my own ability to hear and compare.

I was just doing it alone with recordings though, and the original paper describes working with an instructor who gives feedback when necessary, rather than completely relying on your own feedback. Again that brings me back to my question of where to find such a person. I doubt that your typical iTalki community tutor would be of much use.

Most methods that have been discussed seem to be limited by the quality of the feedback you get, be it from yourself or a teacher. So of course they'll work better if you have more talent for accents, and if you have enough talent you won't need them at all because you can do what they try to do automatically. I do find Luca Lampariello's "accent addition"/"phonetic analysis" interesting, as he focuses on improving your understanding of the language's sound system, which in theory should then improve your ability to compare your own accent to native ones.
3 persons have voted this message useful



victorhart
Bilingual Tetraglot
Groupie
United States
mandarinexperiment.o
Joined 1895 days ago

66 posts - 155 votes 
Speaks: English*, Portuguese*, Spanish, French
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 173 of 177
12 March 2015 at 6:58pm | IP Logged 
I agree that for accent training, you absolutely need to be corrected and have the
right pronunciation modeled by a native (unless you have some special gift).

I think that factor helps explain why children do much better than adults, just as
much as the neuroplasticity factor does. Kids get corrected whether they like it or
not, by teachers and peers. They face enormous social pressure to change and improve.
Adults rarely get pronunciation corrected, especially when it gets good enough that
people chalk up their mistakes to "foreign accent."

I have essentially lost any foreign accent in two languages besides my maternal one,
and don't have too much in a third. I truly honestly don't think I have any special
ability, much less a gift. I did begin learning young, and I ask to be corrected and
make a very conscious effort to overcome my mistakes.

That's not to say that some people don't have special difficulty with this, or that
"losing one's accent" (="perfecting one's pronunciation") is necessarily that
important or always desirable. Foreign accents can be really charming as long as the
pronunciation is solid enough not to get in the way of comprehension too much. On the
other hand, I like to blend in.
4 persons have voted this message useful



victorhart
Bilingual Tetraglot
Groupie
United States
mandarinexperiment.o
Joined 1895 days ago

66 posts - 155 votes 
Speaks: English*, Portuguese*, Spanish, French
Studies: Mandarin

 
 Message 174 of 177
12 March 2015 at 7:20pm | IP Logged 
Just to clarify, when I say that "losing one's accent" = "perfecting one's pronunciation"
I am referring to a *foreign* accent that may occasionally get in the way of
comprehension.

Obviously there are all sorts of accents that are absolutely valid and don't represent
any type of deficiency. In English, for instance, there are countless "correct" accents.
I consider, for instance, Indian English to be (in many cases) a native version of the
language, with a quite distinct but perfectly "correct" accent.
1 person has voted this message useful



s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3618 days ago

2704 posts - 5424 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 175 of 177
13 March 2015 at 1:55pm | IP Logged 
I think it was Olie Kjellin who said that the issue isn't really that of losing one's foreign accent but more one of
acquiring or adding a new accent. This focuses attention on the idea of learning new sounds. Acquiring a new
accent isn't necessarily that complicated or difficult; it's just that, as others have pointed out here, it's a hell of a lot
of work and certainly requires external help. If you worked let's say two hours a day on your phonetics with the help
of a dialect coach for six months, you would probably sound very good by the end. But how many of us could find
the time and the money to do this? So, we have to make do with the resources we have.
4 persons have voted this message useful



Rozzie
Senior Member
United States
Joined 1600 days ago

136 posts - 149 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Spanish

 
 Message 176 of 177
15 September 2015 at 9:16pm | IP Logged 
Great post👏🏾👍🏾


1 person has voted this message useful



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