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Imitation is a good way to speak English

Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2004 12:33 pm
by Scott Summers
I remember that as I entered to the college and became an English major, I felt embarrassed about my English ability. Especially when I attended English conversation course, I would be very nervous because I was not capable of speaking English. In my junior high and senior high school, I seldom spoke English. The goal of English course was just to train students to read and write in English well, and it also included doing English exams well. But it didn’t support students to have a good ability to speak and to listen.
At that time, I found a good way to improve my pronunciation and the listening skill. That is to imitate. Imitate teachers’ ways of speaking and their intonation, and feel how they spoke and what they said. It really helped me a lot. Now, I can speak English fluently. In addition, from the process of imitation, I not only learned to pronounce well but gained the important information about word usage. As in the imitation, I copied teachers’ ways of speaking, and I also copied teachers’ sentences, slang, and phrases. It improved my content of speaking and made my language more colorful than before.
Imitation is, indeed, a sort of good way to push learners to make progress. I hope the new challengers of English can enjoy this method. Then enjoy their English. 8)

Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2004 1:38 pm
by wjserson
I would like to ask a question to anybody who believes in this system to improve one's pronunciation:

Assuming you are not a native speaker of English and are a student of it, how do you choose a certain person to immitate? How do you grade them so you know he/she is worth immitating? Do you consult a friend to se qhat he/she thinks ? How do you know his/her pronunciation is good enough to be immitated? What does 'good pronunciation' mean?

These are all very difficult questions to answer, but ones a student should answer before trying to use this system of immitation.

Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2004 4:11 pm
by costas
Imitating is the best method to learn pronunciation. And I think it is the only one.

Posted: Mon Apr 19, 2004 4:14 pm
by wjserson
Yet another question to add to my list,

Languages have infinite ways of composing sentences. By listening to one person or two and imitating them, how do you learn how to compose and create independantly of what your "language model" has stated?

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 12:28 am
by sugar lee
Really, it's a nice method to prounce English well.
I have some experience to share wity you.
Before limitating, the first step is that you maybe listen to some tapes you select very clearly. Morever, you try to write down the whole article sentence by setence. Then, if you have some words you listen indistinctly, you still listen again. Then, you write it down or guess it. Therefore, you can find that which pronunciations of words you have no idea or have problems. Finally, you would chcek the dictinoary and try to imitating by listening the tapes again. This special way is so helpful that you can clearly which word you can't pronoce. This is my suggestion, and I hope it is helpful for you to learning English pronounciaton. go! go! :o

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 3:47 pm
by Scott Summers
To wjerson:
How to choose a good model for imitaion? This is an interesting question. I am a student, indeed. My target for imitation must be teachers. I think that I am not necessary to tell which one teacher's pronunciation is good and which one is bad because the teachers in my college have been qualified strictly. They have trained well and their pronunciation is good enough. What I need to do is to choose one teacher I like. This is very important for me, even for others, because this person will intrigue your own interest to learn and to be better in the future. Then to feel teachers' pronunciation and intonation. You can find whether teachers' pronunciation is suitable for you or not. Choose one teacher's pronunciation that you can accept and can easily to imitate. Then go ahead. :shock:

Posted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 8:32 pm
by Fannie
Dear Scott,
In your essay, you bring out the idea to imitate the teachers' speaking and their intonation. Now my friend has one question: if A teacher uses English tone, but B teacher speaks with American tone; in that case, how should to overcome the difference between English tone and American tone?

Posted: Wed Apr 21, 2004 4:02 am
by Scott Summers
To Fannie:

As what I said at the upper poster, you can feel your teachers' tonation accent, and pronunciation first, and pick up one teacher that you like. You can easily understand his or her way of speaking. You can easily imitate his or her way of speaking. Then go ahead.
But in my country or the teaching environment, most people (or you can say most parents) only accept the North American accent. What they hear and touch in English field is American English and American accent. They reject their children to speak or to learn British Englsih. I think it is a big problem. If you want your English better and you can hear and understand what anyone say all over the world, you have to get used to any kind of accents. That is because there are so many people in the world, so many country speak English. English is not only spoken by Americans. We need to touch more aspects of things about a language. :)


Posted: Mon Apr 26, 2004 3:26 pm
by serendipity
how do you choose a certain person to immitate?
He/she's got to be available, and there's got to be an element of choice. I don't know about your place, but here, competent speakers are rare.
if A teacher uses English tone, but B teacher speaks with American tone; in that case, how should to overcome the difference between English tone and American tone?
Well, if one teacher uses an English tone, and another an American tone, you can count yourself lucky. Most teachers, however, especially those who're not native speakers, use a *local* tone, and never get rid of their accent.

Yeah, and it's always easier to understand those accents that one is familiar with. Transfers from one class where the predominant accent is a British one to one where the predominant accent is American will pose problems right at the beginning, but then familiarity sets in, and one can sort of guess what the sentences mean that one doesn't fully understand.

Well, and teachers have a habit of slowing down and of pronouncing things extra carefully when they realize they are not being understood. It's less of a problem than you make it out to be, I'd say.