Saturday, October 10, 2009

Native-Like Accents

I have a strong interest in learning a language to sound like a native. So anything that talks about acquiring a native-like accent is interesting to me. Here's a paper that proposes on how to go about acquiring a native-like accent.

"Despite a tremendous amount of studies on first language acquisition and second language learning from many aspects, few people seem to have attempted to unify the various pedagogical, psychological, and physiological findings into new and efficient approaches to classroom methodology. However, the globally soaring numbers of immigrant learners with pronunciation problems that hamper interaction with native speakers and with other second language users indeed call for better applied phonetics to improve techniques for pronunciation teaching. This paper offers a method based on prosody and perception in a manner inspired by first language acquisition: Initially concentrating very much on prosody, the learner is guided through perception enhancement techniques and extensive chorus repetitions to imitate native-like pronunciation, to reproduce it robustly, and to hear himself succeed with this so many times that it is his own, now native-like pronunciation, that will be cemented into his auditory memory as a template for future pronunciation in free production. This is regarded as analogous to the native speaker’s goal-based capability of compensatory articulation, which appears to be acquired mainly in the first year or first few years of life, seemingly as a prerequisite for the rest of the first language acquisition. Empirically, this method is astonishingly effective, but experimental evaluation has yet to be performed."

Effects of Prosody on Second Language Learning

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