young lady learning sign language during online lesson with female tutor

Improve Your Accent: 5 Tips for Sounding Native in Any Foreign Language

Father, son and dodgy Italian accents? This week, the House of Gucci cast have come under scrutiny from a dialect coach who has said Lady Gaga’s accent “sounds more Russian” than Italian throughout the movie. 

Knowing how to improve your accent and nail the pronunciation of another language can be really tricky, but luckily Daniele Saccardi from language learning platform Preply has some creative approaches for improving your accent. 

  1. Act out the language and embrace the unspoken communication

The more immersed you are in the culture and emotion of the language you are learning, the easier it will be to emulate an authentic accent. 

Language is more than just words – gestures, expressions and body language play a huge part in embracing the language and entering into its world. 

Reverse mimicry is what Lady Gaga and the cast of House of Gucci will have practiced in preparation for the film – this is when you speak your native language but in the accent of your target language. This is a great technique as it means you will practice the language without any of the worry about grammar, tone and sentence structure. 

  1.  Learn the phonetic alphabet in the language you’re learning

Once you get familiar with the phonetic alphabet, the easier it will be for you to identify new sounds within the language you’re learning, by helping your ear tune into the new sounds. Once you can recognise them, you’ll notice them more often when speaking and listening. 

One tip is to grab a mirror and watch yourself making the sounds and shapes. Concentrate on how your mouth movements are different from those in your native language to help you pick up the new foreign accent more easily. 

  1. Watch and listen to as much content as you can in your chosen language

Listening to your chosen language passively can be hugely beneficial in helping you get used to the sounds and rhythms that underpin the language. Thanks to YouTube, podcasts and Netflix there are countless ways to increase the amount of content you’re consuming in the foreign languages of your choosing.

If you’re planning to use this technique, then you need to listen harder than you would normally – if you’re watching a movie make sure you have the subtitles on, and if you’re listening to a song, use the lyrics function on Spotify or Apple Music to read them as you listen. 

  1. Try some tricky tongue twisters

When you first start learning a language, every sentence can feel like a struggle, but once you’ve got the basics  under your belt, you can move onto a tricky tongue twister. 

To find a tongue twister, just Google it and look at YouTube videos of someone practicing it. 

  1. Practice with native speakers

One of the most affected methods to nailing an accent is by speaking to locals. This is one of the most authentic ways to successfully mimic an accent, as it gives you the chance to listen to how they pronounce certain words and phrases, copy gestures and also gain insight into their culture.

Try finding language exchange groups in your town or city, or even signing up to language classes to practice with professionals. 

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