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mataleo99

Shadowing and Recording Most Effective Method

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mataleo99

Scanning the forums, it's been mentioned numerous times that shadowing and recording is very beneficial for things like improving pronunciation. I've started incorporating this more into my practice, but I'm interested what approach people find the most effective.

 

For example, right now I start by looping a portion of a sentence, first listening to the native speaker, then chorusing with them, then recording myself. Then I listen to the recording of myself, then switch to the native recording, listening for differences. I might switch back and forth a couple times until I hear something off. Then I try to fix what I hear is different and repeat the process. I typically focus on one part of the recording at a time. Once that section of the sentence sounds right, I work on the other parts and finally combine the full sentence.

 

That's as far as I take it. Has anyone found practicing multiple sentences, memorizing paragraphs or even going so far as to memorize a whole recording is beneficial? I find that going through one recording sentence by sentence can take a couple of hours, so the time investment is quite high. I don't know if spending the time to memorize a whole recording is worth it or if there are diminishing returns at this point and I'd be better served moving on to the next recording. It seems like memorizing something takes it past the point of improving pronunciation, but it does drill in the sentences which seems like it could be useful for easier production when speaking.

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amytheorangutan

I’m also curious to hear about this from people who have done it for long period of time and see result 🤓

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Jan Finster
6 hours ago, mataleo99 said:

For example, right now I start by looping a portion of a sentence, first listening to the native speaker, then chorusing with them, then recording myself. Then I listen to the recording of myself, then switch to the native recording, listening for differences. I might switch back and forth a couple times until I hear something off. Then I try to fix what I hear is different and repeat the process. I typically focus on one part of the recording at a time. Once that section of the sentence sounds right, I work on the other parts and finally combine the full sentence.

 

This is probably the right way to do it, but to me it is super hard. First of all, the recorded voice in Chinese audio aimed at foreign learners is most likely female. So, if you are male, the first thing you notice is that it does not sound at all like you because of the gender difference. Then there is a possible difference in tone of voice even if it is the same gender. Lastly it is about Chinese tones,  pronunciation, flow, rhythm etc. Even spotting those consciously is hard for me.

Therefore, I typically rely more on mimicking the speaker's voice without recording myself and hoping my brain subconsciously makes the necessary adjustments and my speaking improves over time. 

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mataleo99
6 hours ago, Jan Finster said:

First of all, the recorded voice in Chinese audio aimed at foreign learners is most likely female. So, if you are male, the first thing you notice is that it does not sound at all like you because of the gender difference. Then there is a possible difference in tone of voice even if it is the same gender.

The material I'm using is pretty balanced, but other stuff I've used like Glossika this has been the case. For me, there are still numerous things I notice that are different from a recordings: the tone I use, the time I sustain a tone, the cadence of the users speech, etc. I like to get it to a point where they sound exactly the same, although with a female voice there's still an octave difference. I feel like gender does not influence these.

 

It's critical (for me at least) to record and listen to these things; otherwise, my mind filters out mistakes I commonly make. Keeping the audio being shadowed and recorded short at first helps to identify things; otherwise it's information overload. Then as the smaller segments are combined together, I pay attention to make sure the mistakes I made earlier don't crop up again.

 

Two suggestions which I've seen on the forums in the past have helped me raise awareness of pronunciation. One is having teacher's who gives constant feedback on tones during one-on-one sessions. I typically record my sessions and review the parts where they corrected my tone. The other is listening and transcribing recordings. I usually do this before I start shadowing and recording an audio file.

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Moshen
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Therefore, I typically rely more on mimicking the speaker's voice without recording myself and hoping my brain subconsciously makes the necessary adjustments and my speaking improves over time. 

 

Does that really work, though, to improve your pronunciation?  So many times we have trouble hearing distinctions between sounds in foreign languages and when we repeat we are, unbeknownst to ourselves, significantly off.

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suMMit

one thing ive found a little dangerous with repeating a paticular sentence too much is that certain combinations can get stuck in your mind. For example i remember once repeating 。。。7.30起床 many times and then went to tell a driver 。。。7.30出发, I nearly automatically said 起床 and had to pause. 

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Jan Finster
15 hours ago, Moshen said:

Does that really work, though, to improve your pronunciation?  So many times we have trouble hearing distinctions between sounds in foreign languages and when we repeat we are, unbeknownst to ourselves, significantly off.

 

Well, this is what Prof. Arguelles, who made shadowing popular in the language learning community, recommends: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=130bOvRpt24

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdheWK7u11w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHYDBYHi2bc

 

At no point in his discussions of shadowing did he recommend recording yourself. As you can see in Arguelles 2nd video with him walking on the bridge, it is quite a mechanical process and not "analytical" at all.

 

I agree with your comment though. I can only imagine shadowing works more in a gradual fashion. As far as I understand it, it is not meant to get one sentence 100% perfect and then move to the next sentence. Rather, in the beginning you are "off",  after 1 week you are maybe 1% less off than before, because your brain tries to mimic as closely as it can. After 2 months of shadowing you may be "7% less off" than before, etc.

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carlo

I think it's a lot like practicing a musical instrument. No matter whether you're "mechanically" reproducing what you hear/ jamming along, or making an exact copy, what you are really doing is training your ears. If you've ever transcribed a jazz solo, it works in a very similar way.

 

I find that practicing longer passages (after you can do the small chunks) teaches you how to connect phrases fluently (obvious I know, but it's a skill on its own). Memorising a whole recording may be overkill --  what you are doing is training your ears. Well-trained ears take in and memorise a lot more information more quickly and naturally than untrained ones, with less effort (at least, that has been my experience).

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Flickserve
On 9/6/2020 at 3:54 AM, Moshen said:

Does that really work, though, to improve your pronunciation?  So many times we have trouble hearing distinctions between sounds in foreign languages and when we repeat we are, unbeknownst to ourselves, significantly off.


I would think it would also depend how much time you spent on just pronunciation. People who spent a lot of time going over the details of pronunciation in their learning. It has been said on this forum workIng early and putting time into details of pronunciation are very beneficial. It’s hard to put a figure on it but more than twenty hours of just working on basic pronunciation as a beginner might be a good rule of thumb. 
 

That would allow you recognise your own particular weaknesses in pronunciation which would make you more aware when practicing sentences later.

 

You still may need the help of a tutor to give feedback and better adjustment but it doesn’t mean you should be worried about practicing by yourself, especially if you do record yourself. 

 

 

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suMMit

I also constantly shadow my teacher during lessons. They say turn to page 171, or some phrase i havent heard before, or some grammar that i understand but dont usually use, etc.  i judt go ahead and mimic it back. obv not everything all the time, but i do it quite a bit.

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markhavemann
On 9/6/2020 at 3:52 PM, Jan Finster said:

Well, this is what Prof. Arguelles, who made shadowing popular in the language learning community, recommends: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=130bOvRpt24

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdheWK7u11w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHYDBYHi2bc

Finally something solid about shadowing. His pronunciation wasn't amazing in all of the Chinese but he did have a fluency that I was impressed by. Also I like the point about how children go through this shadowing phase when they are young.

 

I've been watching this thread because I didn't really have a firm idea of how to incorporate shadowing into my studies. This definitely provides the answer for me. 

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Leslie Frank

regardless of prof arguelles' method, i feel what the OP is doing is sound: listening is good, but recording yourself is also necessary. for those of you who have never recorded yourself, you will have never had the "light bulb" moment of: omg, i sound exactly like the sibling whose voice i abhor.

 

it sometimes does't matter how many times you listen to other ppl's recordings. when you mimic them, you don't necessarily hear yourself so even if you think you spoke in the same way (or at least, used the right tones and cadences) of the recording you're listening to, it may not be the case. when you are able to hear the recording of the other person talking and then hear yourself, more or less side-by-side, then you'll have a better idea of what you sound like--if you're pretty close to what you heard or not and proceed from there.

 

this is one of the reasons i encourage ppl to start their own podcast or youtube channel, because that motivates ppl to record themselves and eventually to practice, practice, practice until you sound decent.

 

additionally, as OP mentioned, a huge amount of time is invested in this endeavor so finding a topic matter that really holds your interest is key; otherwise, who could stand listening to (and saying) the same thing over and over again.

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