Learning tips
Imitating the phrasing of the language

Imitating the phrasing of the language

Just like children learn their native language by imitating and repeating the words they hear from their parents and siblings, students learning Spanish, or any other language, can greatly improve their pronunciation by imitating, not just words, but how the intonation of entire phrases sound. 

I have come across some students who sound pretty much like native speakers when you hear them speak a few phrases. I remember one of them in particular, Mike, he sounded pretty much as if impersonating some character from a movie or something; like he was trying to be funny, made me think of Will Ferrel playing a Mexican character and exaggerating the accent. At first, we all laughed, but after they all left the class, I kept thinking in my mind how good he actually sounded.

Similarly, I remember as a kid growing up in Colombia, My friends and I used to have fun imitating lines from American movies. Of course, we didn’t know any English at the time, nor we had any idea of what we were saying, but we just pretended to sound like Americans, just uttering sounds and phrases that sounded to us like English words. Little did I know that this funny exercise was somehow going to be helpful later on in life when I came to learn English. Even to this day, I can notice the difference in my English accent when I am talking on the phone for example, and I consciously put on the “pretend” accent.  

So just for fun, next time you see a movie or a show in Spanish, try not to think about the meaning of the words, but just focus on the overall sound of the actor’s lines and try to imitate them, as if you are making fun of them. Pay close attention to the position of your mouth and tongue as you do it. Try to remember it, and then apply it to your Spanish pronunciation in class or in any other situation and see if it helps.

By Guillermo Benavides

Photo by Photo by Max Harlynking on Unsplash

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