Have you ever heard your own voice in a recording and thought “Oh my God…that’s ME?!”

Don’t worry, this is a common reaction. Due to the fact that your ears and speech organ are attached to the same physical body, your perception of your own voice will always be distorted. Therefore, whatever you think you sound like, isn’t really what you sound like.

Personally, I used to think I had a sexy voice, that is until I heard a recording of it one day a few years ago. Turned out that all that time I thought I sounded like Don Juan, I actually sounded like Don Doofus. I still can’t forget out how I was ever able to get a girlfriend.

Fortunately, self-recording on a regular basis has helped me improve my speaking habits a lot. Hearing my voice from an external source (the way everyone else hears it) has drawn my attention to the more doofish elements of my voice, and with this awareness, I have been able to consciously self-correct.

What’s the moral of this story? Self-recording develops Self-Awareness, which in turn lends itself to Self-Correction.

Same principles apply to second-language acquisition. Though committing gramamar, diction and pronunciation errors in a second language is an inevitable and necessary part of the learning curve, the ultimate goal is to commit as few errors as possible. Because these errors can be so numerous and complex, self-recording is the best approach for reviewing, analyzing and ultimately eliminating these errors from your speech.

In this post, I will describe 3 clever self-recording strategies to develop your personal error-awareness and accelerate your language growth.


Self-Recording Tip #1: Flow-verlapping

In The Mimic Method Language-Learning Philosophy, I identify a lack of physical comfort with foreign sounds the main reason why most people struggle to learn foreign languages. The term I use to describe this physical system of sound is “Flow,” so the main reason people struggle so much at foreign languages is because they never learn the Flow.

In my Flow Series Courses, I personally instruct students in the “Flow” of his or her target language by teaching them to sing song lyrics with a perfect accent. The idea is that each time you sing these songs for fun while you go about your daily activities, you actively train the acoustic perception and speech organ motor coordination to process the target language’s sounds and get into the Flow with little exertion.

That being said, Flow-verlapping is a technique anyone can use to self-teach flow. It involves mimicking native speech of your target language and listening to both your recording and the native recording at the same time to identify discrepancies. First you memorize the native speech, then you record yourself speaking with it in sync. Finally, you play back both audio files at the same time.

Listen to this example of me Flow-verlapping over a random audio file of native Mandarin speech. First I play the native speech, then I play my mimicry attempt, then I play both at the same time in “unison”.