Learn German Shadowing: A Language Learning Method to Get Fluent Faster (2024)

Beyond traditional study methods for learning languages, there is an innovative technique that promises to fast-track your speaking abilities – speech shadowing.

You can immediately start practicing with this great interactive roleplay video brought to you by the team at From Guten Morgen to Auf Wiedersehen:

Many language learners have discovered that to truly master German pronunciation, they need to go beyond the textbooks and immerse themselves in the sonic qualities of the language. This is where German shadowing steps into the spotlight.

What’s even more better is that you can freely combine German shadowing with Conversation Based Chunking. Conversation Based Chunking is a method for understanding natural language by breaking down dialogue into manageable pieces – chunks. You can immediately learn more about this method by clicking the button below, and request the German Chunking Guide!

1. What is the language shadowing technique?

The shadowing method is an approach to learning languages. It is about playing an audio clip in the language you’re learning (German, for this example) and then either speaking at the same time or with a slight delay of 1-2 seconds, trying to closely replicate the accent, tempo, and even the pitch in German.

German shadowing can be thought of as following the contours of spoken language in real-time: much like your shadow follows your movements on a sunny day.

It helps in the development of both listening and speaking skills, as you must listen attentively and instantly reproduce what you hear.

German shadowing provides an excellent opportunity to tackle the unique phonetics of the language. This includes the difficult words and sound that aren’t present in your native language.

It might be a challenge for you, so first, I advise you to check the German alphabet.

2. How to learn German shadowing?

This is the basic idea: you listen to a recording of a German native speaker and, with just a slight delay (1-2 seconds), you repeat what that person says.

This will help your German pronunciation and it will also help you internalize the German rhythm.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to shadowing:

  1. Find a speech, podcast, or other audio in German (e.g., on YouTube). Take a slow one if you’re not that proficient yet. You could also slow down the audio/video a little on YouTube, or with an app like Audacity.
  2. Use headphones, but only in one ear—it’s best to hear yourself talk.
  3. Play the audio and repeat what’s being said. If you want to focus only on pronunciation, repeat what the speaker says as quickly as possible, with minimal delay.
  4. That’s it! You’re listening and speaking at the same time. Now marvel at your brain’s capacities and experience the improvement in your memory and pronunciation.
  5. Start with slow conversations or speeches (find German podcasts, for example, or YouTube videos), and slowly work up your way toward materials played at normal speed.
  6. Then amaze native speakers with your flawless accent and comprehension.

After a bit, you can move to blind shadowing. This is where you repeat the audio without any text, only focusing on the sounds you hear – this is the intermediate step already 😉

The Speechling app gives a chance to work together with native speakers. This app lets you record yourself by repeating what you hear. You get pronunciation feedback from real-life coaches, listen to their recordings, and then improve your own. It’s a fantastic way to practice pronunciation.

3. A language learning technique: get fluent faster with the benefits of shadowing and Conversation Based Chunking

The ultimate goal of the German shadowing is to improve pronunciation, and one effective method within shadowing is the previously mentioned Conversation Based Chunking. You focus on entire phrases or lexical chunks of language – rather than individual words.

But keep in mind that when you’re doing German shadowing, it’s not just about repeating the words; it’s about making sounds sound exactly like they are said.

If you practice German shadowing, you improve your pronunciation and intonation. You become more used to the little things of German, and how to pronounce words within the flow of normal, everyday speech.

German has certain phonetic elements that are especially challenging to speakers of other languages, such as the difference between “ch” and “sch“. German speech shadowing lets you practice these sounds in context.

German shadowing is really a powerful tool on your language learning journey.

The key takeaways of this article:

  • Shadowing in German is an active learning technique.
  • Choose appropriate material: Start with audio or video that matches your comprehension level to build confidence and gradually work your way up.
  • Focus on chunks: Practice with phrases and sentences to master the pronunciation and intonation of German as it is naturally spoken.
  • Try to emulate the sounds, rhythm, and intonation patterns of the native speaker as closely as possible.
  • Regular shadowing practice will yield the best results in improving your language learning efforts.
  • Difficult words and phrases present an opportunity for growth, so don’t shy away from them.
  • Have good posture and breathe: This can help with concentration and proper vocalization during shadowing exercises.

If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be on your way to improving your German pronunciation and elevating your overall proficiency in the language.

Happy German shadowing with Conversation Based Chunking!

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