How do best get close to a native accent?

Jerry Dai is a young immigrant to Canada from China. He came to Canada in his twenties. Click on his name to hear his short video. His English is like a native or pretty close.

His technique for mastering English pronunciation was to listen to the same CD, the same limited amount of content,?? thousands of times. (Might be a good idea, but who has the patience to do it?)

When I was learning Chinese, I used to listen to a cassette tape of Xiang Sheng comedian Hou Bao Lin, over and over, while working out or doing things, even when I did not understand most of it. I credit that for improving my tones and Chinese pronunciation (such as it is). But then I did not listen thousands of times.

Here are some observations from my own experience.

1)I have never learned the International Phonetic Accent since It was another group of symbols to learn.
2)I felt that if some sounds of the new language were new to me, these symbols were not going to help.
3) When I have bought a language learning starter kit for a language (like Teach Yourself or whatever), I avoid the detailed introduction to the sounds.
4) Through listening and reading I learn to relate the symbols I am reading in the new language to the sounds I hear
5) A lot of listening to content I like, with accents and voices I like, gradually makes me more and more in tune with the language.
6) I find that what seems impossible to pronounce at first, eventually becomes easier, following this process.
7) I do not worry about pronunciation at the beginning, or at any stage. I just expect my pronunciation to gradually improve.
8) At LingQ we have created special short content items, read slowly and at normal speed, that concentrate on problems like “th”, “r” and “l”, consonant clusters and the like, for repetitive listening.

What has the experience of others? What advice do you have?


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