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A Polyglot World

APW 003: How To Work on Accent Reduction and Be More Fluent With Luca Lampariello #add1challenge

I’ve always wondered.

“How the heck can this Italian dude speak such good English with an American accent and with such good pronunciation in Mandarin?”

This question was in the back of my head while we took the train together after the Polyglot Conference in Budapest, speaking both English and Mandarin for most of our ride.

So when my mom, caught me by surprised, told me that she wants to take on the +1 Challenge to reduce her accent and become more fluent in English.

I knew exactly who to talk to.

Luca Lampariello from The Polyglot Dream.

In this interview, Luca dived into the steps of how to work on accent reduction and become more fluent.

Not just for speaking English, but for any language.

Here is the interview with Luca.


 

Below is a short summary from this interview.

The plan that Luca recommended my mom was simple and anyone can do it.

Work on the list below everyday consistently.

  1. Intonation
  2. Pronunciation
  3. Psychology (did not cover this in the interview)

The goal is to train yourself to hear the melody of the language by visualizing, breaking it down with the following method.

How to Work on Intonation

Before you begin working on intonation, you need some materials and tools.

  1. Written text or script on paper
  2. Audio of the script
  3. Pencil
  4. Download a free software call Audacity

 

Step 1: Getting Ready

You take a sentence and have the audio ready.

The first example we had in the video was:

Luca accent reduction and learn american accent - i live in rome

You listen to the audio in Audacity.

If its too fast for you, slow it down with Audacity.

 

Step 2: Breaking Down the # of Sound

How do you do that?

When you hear a sentence, you basically hear a group of sound separated by pauses in between.

Luca calls one chunk of a sentence as one sound.

For the above example, “I live in Rome” will consider as one sound, because you would pause after “Rome” before you say “and I think it is a wonderful city”.

You then put a slash in between them, as an indication of how many sound are in that sentence like below.

Luca accent reduction and learn american accent i live in rome break down-1

As you can see, there is a slash in between Sound #1 and Sound #2.

The underline represent that the words are connected together as one sound.

 

Step 3: Visualizing the Pitch

Listen to the audio and determine the pitch at the end of each sound.

Luca worked with me in the video and even though my English is fluent, I had trouble getting the pitch.

When this happens, slow down your audio in Audacity.

Then you will hear the pitch either goes up or down at the end of the sentence. (watch video to see how this works)

Once you figured it out, draw an upward or downward arrow above the word when the pitch begins as below.

Luca accent reduction and learn american accent_ pitch

 

Step 4: Time to Practice!

There are 3 sounds in this German sentence.

Luca accent reduction and learn american accent 3 sound

After you draw the pitch, speak out loud the first sound for at least 3 times.

Luca accent reduction and learn american accent ich wohne in rom

Move on to the next sound once you feel comfortable.

If you have trouble with a word, like “wunderbare” for me in sound #3 in this example.

Luca accent reduction and learn american accent sound #3

Break down “wunderbare” further like this then try to pronounce it.

Luca accent reduction and learn american accent wunderbare

After you are comfortable with all 3 sounds, try to say out loud the 3 sounds continuously.

This is a top down approach, meaning, you break down from a sentence down to a single word.

This is what Luca uses because the pitch and stress are different depending on each sentence.

Because of this, it will not be as effective if you only practice up from a single word to a whole sentence.

All these visualization will give you a completely new perspective on sound intonation and accent.

Which I find amazing because there is no more guessing and its broken down in chuck size manner that anyone can work on.

How to Work on Pronunciation

It all boils down to this.

  1. Knowing physically how to produce the sound (like where to put your tongue, is your mouth open or slightly close, etc)
  2. Practice and attempt to produce the sound through trial and error.
  3. Get feed back from others either by making a video, sending an audio file or hire a trainer.

I only had half an hour with Luca so we were just scratching the surface on this topic, but this will give you enough to at least get started.

If you want more in-depth how to work on intonation and pronunciation to have a native like accent in English or any other language, Luca just released a master class that you can check out here.   (This is not an affiliate link, meaning I do not get any money for this.  I am recommending it only because I can stand behind Luca’s material :) )

If you find this interview and write up useful, what did you learn?

Let us know in the comments.

Share it with a friend who wants to reduce accent!

If you want this blog post in a PDF so you can print it, take it with you anywhere click here.

About the author: Lets learn to speak a new language together in the +1 Challenge! Join the party, join the new language learning movement :)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://www.lingholic.com lingholic

    Wow, fantastic post and wonderful blog Brian! Good job!

    • Brian Kwong

      Thanks Sam :)

  • http://kieranmaynard.com Kieran Maynard

    Great advice!! I’ve recently started using Audacity to dissect recordings; it’s a GREAT way to focus on the pronunciation as you hear it, rather than how you THINK you hear it. I’ve been trying to reduce my accent in Mandarin by reading my flash cards aloud.

    • Brian Kwong

      Glad you enjoy the post Kieran :) The next step is to get feedback from a live person, as sometimes, what we “think” we hear/ pronounce, its not always what we actually hear/pronounced. if you know what i mean :)

  • garcinia

    Hey very nice blog!

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  • http://yawhannchong.com/ Yawhann Chong

    Wow. I speak English fluently, and I never even noticed how my speech just flows this way naturally; this is especially true with the pitch at the end of each sentence fragment. It really opened up my eyes to the way English works in relation to learning it. The things you learn about your own language is just astounding.

    • http://dageniuslab.com/ Brian Kwong

      we learn something new everyday :) Glad you learned something from the interview!

  • nenjotsu

    Awesome interview Brian, this helps me to learn Spanish sentences, even if they’re always speak the sentences fast it has an equivalent to 1-3 sounds. Thanks to you Brian & Luca.

    • http://dageniuslab.com/ Brian Kwong

      Isn’t it great!? It takes some work but just take it one day at a time and you will get there!

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  • Alex

    You can Accent Trainer instead of Audacity if you like Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.marilex.accent

  • Lillian

    scientific!