A dialect is learned while learning a language. The German accent of an English teacher, for example, is repeated and assimilated. Once you learn the dialect, it’s hard to get rid of it.
It is important to choose one of the many different English dialects. Otherwise, a mixture of different dialects means that you no longer adhere to a particular pronunciation.
In addition to classic courses and exchanges with native speakers, it can be very helpful to constantly surround yourself with the language – even without active learning.
How do you get to know a German tourist or an expatriate abroad? White socks and sandals? Better not. The German accent usually reveals where you actually come from. Some Germans are unfazed by their own accent of the English language and are happy about it. Others feel very ashamed when a German footballer shows his German accent on TV again.
Dialect isn’t a bad thing and doesn’t necessarily say anything about a language’s level. But those who can express themselves without an accent give the impression that their English is equivalent to the English of native speakers. Unfortunately, getting rid of the accent isn’t as easy as getting rid of white tennis socks. So if you are intent on getting rid of your German accent in English and taking the time to do so, consider the following tips:
How does the dialect come about?
German is spoken in the middle of the tongue and English in the back of the throat. When you learn a foreign language, you automatically pronounce words like your native language. When learning a language, it is very important to master the correct tongue technique. However, this is not given much attention in many schools. Knowledge of the phonetic spelling of the word is also essential here – the normal spelling of the word is pronounced as usual in the native language methodology.
A dialect is learned while learning a language. The German accent for the English teacher is automatically repeated and assimilated over and over again during school lessons. Once you learn the dialect, it’s hard to get rid of it. Language can usually be learned faster and more flawlessly in the country where the mother tongue is spoken. But with a few tricks, you can pretend that you are in the country where you speak the native language and that the language is inclusive.
Being shy about dialect doesn’t help anyone
Anyone who doesn’t really like their accent or is even ashamed of it should realize that this is very difficult for language development. Anyone who speaks with difficulty for fear of mistakes or wrong pronunciation is only stumbling himself. Learning a language also means making mistakes and learning from them. The more confident you are when speaking a language, the easier it will be to pronounce it at the end.
Many of Hollywood’s greats also show why you should never be ashamed of your accent. Arnold Schwarzenegger really only became known through his Austrian accent of English. The dialect makes him unmistakable and thus became his trademark.
With these four simple steps, you can get one step closer to your goal of speaking English without an accent:
Step 1: Select a specific tone
In the English language itself there are different dialects and dialects. A mixture of different dialects inevitably means that you no longer stick to any particular pronunciation. This must be done strategically. Even if you really like your Australian accent, learning it doesn’t do you much if you just want to communicate in your English in the UK.
So you have to decide for yourself what you use in your English the most. In Europe, British English is the closest. For the American continent, of course, American English. Learning all the dialects when you don’t already have one that is good for one tends to be counterproductive and cause more confusion.
Step 2: Surround yourself with the language and subconsciously identify with it
It is known that you learn the correct pronunciation directly in the respective country. But since this is not always possible, you can use a little trick here. Find an online radio station from the country whose dialect you want to emulate and listen to it regularly. This also makes you subconsciously aware of the dialect in question.
If the radio is too boring for you, you can also search for a suitable audiobook or podcast. In the meantime, the selection of audiobooks and podcasts from around the world and the most diverse categories is so huge that no wish remains unfulfilled. The more interested you are in an audiobook or podcast topic, the easier it will be to listen and learn.
Also watch series and movies in their original version. The difference in spoken language is that you can engage multiple senses when watching a movie. You not only listen to a dialogue, but you can also watch what is happening in the movie, read it with subtitles and even repeat what was said.
Step 3: Do it like the actors and get language training
In the film industry, learning the dialect is nothing new. American actress Renee Zellweger learned a British accent for her role in Bridget Jones and Leonardo DiCaprio learned a Rhodesian accent for Blood Diamond.
Of course, the actors receive professional language training from the best language instructors. Now there are language and pronunciation courses, but also for self-learning. The British or American accent online course will teach you the necessary tongue techniques needed to learn the accent.
While having a private language trainer, you first have to create a concept in which you can break down your learning units, the ready made online courses are based on a tried and tested learning concept. Training also contains countless examples – it is especially important here that you take the time to talk about them and stay on the ball. Within a week or two of daily practice, you can see significant improvement.
Step 4: Exchange with native speakers
But the language must also be spoken. You can do this at home in a quiet room. But if no one listens to you, mistakes can creep in again, and then it is difficult to forget them.
Various internet portals provide language teachers and language students from all over the world. Language teachers are paid by the hour, and since there are so many different language teachers, it is usually easy to find a language teacher that fits every budget. The lessons then take place via Skype at the agreed times.
The principle of tandem can also work for brainstorming with a native speaker. But you don’t pay your tandem partner and in return you have to teach them your native language. This principle is optimal for pupils and students, while it is difficult for workers to arrange appointments.
Exchange with an existing native speaker so that aha moments of language training and access to long-term memory are also applied. As everywhere, the same thing applies here: practice makes perfect.
Marilyn Szymansky is the founder of the Auslandskarriere. She was sworn in as an English translator and interpreter in 2012 and has been a career coach at the English Career Factory since 2013.