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How can you get a great accent when speaking a foreign language?
There are two parts to consider if you want to have a good accent that helps you communicate effectively with native speakers.
Read the full post here: http://www.thepolyglotdream.com/developing-an-awesome-accent/
Firstly, you need a good understanding of the phonetics of the language you're learning. Take the time to learn to produce the basic sounds of the language correctly, and get help from a native speaker to make sure you're on the right track.
But after that, the only way to really develop an effective accent is to get out there and interact with people. I was lucky when I went to Brazil in that I already had a group of friends who I could hang out with.
By spending lots of time with them, I had was able to observe how they spoke, and closely imitate everything they did. I would copy not only their way of speaking, but their body language too, because this is all part of effective communication.
Time spent with people, and imitating what they do, is the secret.
So, if developing an effective accent is your goal, getting out of the house and interacting with people that you enjoy spending time with, becoming part of a community and using your language for a real purpose, should be something you prioritise.
Here's another video in Portuguese:
And one in Japanese when I talk about the importance of expressive yourself in authentic ways:
Learning songs can really help perfect your pronunciation:
Watch Richard Simcott use accents to describe his language journey:
In this video, Luca talks about how he chose his American accent in English: