Monday, July 18, 2016


Mimicking by Christopher G. Dugdale  ©1995

Shadow Talking, otherwise known as mimicking or echoing, means to continuously copy speech as you listen. It's easier if the delay is around one-half to one second. 
Delays of three, five or even ten seconds may be attempted in order to improve memory.

Mimicking helps to improve understanding, pronunciation, talking speed, clarity, concentration, timing, confidence, grammar and recall.

It can be difficult because your understanding actually decreases at first. It demands a high level of concentration and it's not easy, so it's hard to find the motivation to do it.

But - the inevitable dip in understanding is going to pass in a certain time, so the more you mimic, the faster you get over the dip.

Because it demands high concentration, don't do things that demand concentration when you do this. Don't operate heavy machinery, like cars :-D 

Practice with your native language to get comfortable with the technique.

Shadow talk as frequently as possible. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Do it every day, a couple of times a day, start with a couple of sentences and increase the time gradually to 15-20 minutes and then to an hour. And then to 10 hours. The more you do this, the better it benefits you.

Mimic the tv shows, videos, radio programs, songs and everything else. It's better to mimic natural speech, but it's OK to mimic anything. It is more important that you enjoy the material than that the material is "good". For example, someone mimicking songs learns slower than someone who mimics news anchors, but it's more fun to mimic songs, so it's more likely the person does it more and keeps doing it, which is better in the long run.

Do it silently if it's not OK to speak out loud.

Don't only mimic the sounds, mimic the facial expressions, the mouth movements, the posture

Note that people change the way they speak all the time. There are changes in speed, intonation, pronunciation etc.

"When you first start out, it's tough to continue and an hour seems like forever. If you can manage that then you'll have noticed that your mimicking is rarely accurate for more than a few seconds at a time. You'll also miss words, phrases and sentences with astonishing and perhaps frustrating regularity. That is the first challenge, to be able to shadow continuously without lapses in concentration. The accuracy of what you say, how closely it matches the original, is less of a problem than making some sound (or vocal tract movement if you're doing it silently) of each and every thing you hear. Keep at it until there's not too many concentration lapses. If the source says "I am going shopping" and you come out with "M zum ng chupi" that's no problem! You are not trying to visualize the words or 'catch the meaning,' you're just trying to make a rough copy of the vocal tract movements of the speaker without stopping. Your first target then is to mimic everything, no matter how badly, as soon as you can."

No comments:

Post a Comment