A lot of English learners believe (have been told again and again) that if they don’t start learning a second language as a child, they will never get the accent right. A lot of ESL teachers and academics believe this.
Well, I don’t agree. I know people who started learning English as adults and can speak it with a clear English accent – British, North American, Australian etc.
Of course it can be done.
The people who can copy accents most successfully are those who listen and practise, listen and practise, listen and practise. You get the idea?! Actors, especially non-English actors, often have to learn accents for the roles they play. They have Accent Experts to help them.
Opera singers have to learn the sounds of foreign languages so that they can sing them correctly. No-one would pay to hear them otherwise. They don’t have to know the language to sing/speak it correctly. Also, translating is the enemy of listening. You need to listen to how English words are connected to other English words. You need to hear the timing and how the sounds are linked.
For now, watch the video below of a German girl speaking in several different accents. She didn’t learn these accents overnight. She practised a lot. She worked hard at them and she had fun. She is still working hard and practising. She tells you that at the moment, she is working on an Australian accent. You can feel her sense of achievement. This video shows what you can do if you put your mind to it!
I will be creating more posts about how to practise your English so that you can feel confident when speaking in English. Sign up to receive email updates.