Some unusual advice for improving your English accent

People often ask my opinion about how to improve their English accent. The best answer, of course, is to spend a lot of time listening carefully to natural, native English. But there's another secret which has to do with your attitude.

The secret is:

Don't just try to speak English correctly; do an impression of a native English speaker.


What's an "impression"?

An impression is when someone, like a comedian, tries to act and sound exactly like someone else.

For example, a lot of people used to do impressions of this famous phrase from the movie Terminator:


When you do an impression, you try to sound exactly like the person that you're copying. You copy their accent, their tone, and maybe even some of their mannerisms.


Why do an impression?

The reason that I recommend doing an impression is that it separates the accent from your own personal identity. Some English sounds might feel unnatural to you. It might feel like you're over-pronouncing things. You might be embarassed to seem like you're "trying too hard".

If you think of yourself as doing an impression of someone, then it's easier to accept some of those unusual foreign sounds. After all, it's not you that's speaking; it's the person that you're doing an impression of.

Have you ever tried to do an impression of a particular English speaker? How did it work out? Who did you try to copy? Let us know in the comments!

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