Hello my dear friends foreign English speakers!
I’ve spent a good few days enjoying myself during the Holiday Season – meeting friends, reading English fiction and also watching movies on Netflix.com.
Speaking of watching movies, it’s a great way of developing your English pronunciation. And if you’re thinking you can just LISTEN and let all that content be absorbed by your brain… well, it just doesn’t happen like that in real life. You can’t just pick up accent by listening alone!
You need to SPEAK in order to accomplish your accent improving goals, and when you watch American movies, for example, to improve your American pronunciation, you need to SHADOW actors on screen so that your own American adjusts accordingly.
What Really is Shadowing?
If you watch a film and repeat what the person on the screen says, it’s not really shadowing. I would call it MIMICKING, and for accent learning purposes it’s pretty much the same as shadowing, but here’s the major difference:
To SHADOW, you have to SPEAK ALONG the person in the movie; basically you have to try and speak alongside!
Surely, there’s going to be a split second delay between the actor’s speech and your speech simply because:
- You need to HEAR the word first in order to replicate the pronunciation;
- If you tried just to read the subtitles and speak at the same exact time as the actor, you wouldn’t pick up subtleties of the American speech!
But for this exercise to qualify as shadowing, you need to speak RIGHT AFTER the actor.
Anyway, if you tried to repeat the entire sentence after the person on the screen has said it, your speech would clash with the next bit they’re saying anyway, so it’s actually in your own best interests to make sure and repeat the speech alongside the actor.
Netflix.com is the single largest movie and TV program database in the world, and nowadays it accounts for one third of the entire Internet traffic in the US, for example!
There’s thousands upon thousands of American and also British films and TV shows on Netflix.com, and needless to say you can:
- Pick and choose the ones you can understand best according to your level of English;
- Choose the ones you’re interested in;
- Use subtitles and fire away at your accent improvement while enjoying yourself!
And the best thing about Netflix.com is that it’s darn cheap – personally I’m paying 10 dollars a month to access the website, so I think that everyone can afford it!
Does Shadowing Movies & TV Shows Not Rob the Enjoyment Out of My Experience?
The best thing is – you don’t necessarily have to do it the whole time! 😀
You can watch the film and truly enjoy it, and every now and then you can shadow some bits as you see fit.
And even if you just do it for 5 – 10 mins in total, it’s an awful lot of practice considering otherwise you would have just watched the film which is 100% passive English immersion.
So basically depending on which accent you want to improve upon – American or British – you just have to pick a film on Netflix.com and have a good time while also working on your English pronunciation.
Feel free to post them in the comments below ❗