Imitation is the key to learning languages

Did you know that if you mimic someone’s accent, you’ll be able to better understand what they say? As playwright George Bernhard Shaw once said: “Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery – it’s the sincerest form of  learning.”

That’s what psychologists at the UK’s University of Manchester and Holland’s Radboud University discovered in a study in 2010. The results showed that imitating the person you’re talking to helps your speech comprehension.

So for language learners, this means it’s best to practice your conversation skills with a native speaker.

Loving couple having fun on the beach

Imitation speeds up learning

In the 1970s, American psychologist Andrew N. Meltzoff identified so-called ‘social learning’, where people or animals observe and then copy their companions.

“Imitation accelerates learning and multiplies learning opportunities”, he noted. “It is faster than individual discovery and safer than learning by trial and error.”

 

Practice talking with a native speaker

So if you want to learn a new language, don’t just study books. You need to be able to hear and imitate a native. Worldwordexchange.com is a great place to do this.

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