Do you want to improve your intonation and fluency in Spanish?
In this post I will write about how shadowing can improve your Spanish skills. I will tell you how to improve your intonation and pronunciation in Spanish. You will gain a new technique that you will be able to use to improve your overall fluency in Spanish.


In this second post about shadowing in Spanish I will go deeper into how to use the technique.

Shadowing consists of repeating out loud what a native speaker says at the very same time as the native speaker.

Many people think that shadowing consists of listening to a sentence said by a native speaker and repeating that sentence a few seconds later trying to sound as close as possible to the native speaker. That is not what shadowing is. The strange thing about shadowing is that you have to repeat the sentence exactly at the same time as the native speaker.

For many people that is strange. They think that if they listen to the sentence and repeat it a few seconds later, they will have more time to process what has been said and they will better copy what the native speaker said. That is only true until a certain point.

When shadowing, one has to repeat a sentence aloud at the same time as native speaker does and as such the brain doesnt have enough time to process that information and translate what you heard into the sounds of your native language.

By repeating aloud without any delay, the brain produces sounds closer to those of a native speaker. Because the brain does not have time to translate those sounds into your native language.




First, shadowing is especially useful for improving your Spanish intonation.

Intonation is one of the things that Spanish students find most difficult to master. Learning how to pronounce individual words is easier but learning the intonation and stress in a sentence is much more difficult.

Shadowing is really useful to learn the patterns of intonation subconsciously. Just by repeating aloud what a native speakers says.

In addition, shadowing is really useful to gaining fluency in Spanish. You will be repeating sentences aloud that are correct from a grammatical standpoint. Furthermore, you will try to mimic the intonation and pronunciation of a native speaker.

I would say that for those who do not have the opportunity to speak to Spanish native speakers, it will be very useful. It will increase their level of fluency. They will be using the right grammar and vocabulary. They will be attempting to speak Spanish with excellent intonation and pronunciation.

As a result their fluency in Spanish will increase. All those words, grammar structures, intonation patterns that are repeated aloud will be recorded in the deep layers of the brain and in the end that will allow you to speak better Spanish.




Shadowing while you read the text

This is the most adequate approach for beginners. If a beginner level Spanish student starts to shadow without having the opportunity to read the text, he or she will probably understand very little. Although that shadowing can be useful for improving his pronunciation and intonation, the benefits for other areas like vocabulary or grammar will be minimal.

That is why I recommend that a beginning student reads the text while listening at the same time before trying to shadow without the text. If you have the text available, you will have the opportunity to look up the words you do not know in the dictionary.

Many people use the assimil books for this very purpose. Those books have the translation and audio and are quite useful for this purpose. Nevertheless, as long as you have a text and the audio, you can shadow whatever you want as long as it matches your level.

The benefits of shadowing while you read the text are numerous, you can learn new vocabulary and new sentence structures. However, shadowing while reading the text is not so beneficial for improving your pronunciation and intonation which, for me, are two of the main benefits of this technique.

You can do shadowing wile reading a few times first and then go and shadow without reading the text.

I recommend that beginners shadow short stories with audio, documentaries, and audios where native speakers do not speak too fast.

It is also recommended that beginners focus on the pronunciation of single words when they shadow in order to prevent the acquisition of bad pronunciation habits. The intonation will be learned subconsciously


Blind shadowing


The same as shadowing, however instead of simply simultaneously repeating aloud what a native speaker is saying, it is done without reading the text.

This is the kind of shadowing that I recommended for intermediate and advanced Spanish students.
I recommend that you use audios where native speakers speak faster so that you get more used to learning and producing the intonation and stress patterns. It can be very useful to shadow movie dialogues. Actors performances are very often accompanied with intense emotions That is very useful for learning how to convey your intonation, sadness, happiness, etc in Spanish

In order to acquire the right intonation, emotions play a huge role. All the emotions that actors display will help you to learn the right intonation in a subconscious way.




The best way to shadow is by using a pair of headphones. It is recommended that you use good quality audios so that the brain can detect all the nuances of the pronunciation and intonation. Take a look at my first post on shadowing

Nevertheless, I recommend that you shadow movies as, the majority of the time, you cannot use a pair of headphones while watching TV. The same happens if you shadow for example podcasts in the car. The important thing is that you shadow as much as you can with or without headphones.

Profesor Arguelles developed this wonderful technique, shadowing. He recommends using the technique while walking (for me it is irrelevant if you walk or not). If you are interested in this technique you can follow this link to see how professor Arguelles explains the technique in more detail.

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