Has anyone done 'Arguellian' shadowing?

I’m thinking of giving this approach a go - exactly as suggested by Prof Arguelles. (And yeah, that does mean that an English dude who is growing a beard is going to be walking the streets while talking to himself in Arabic - be warned people! :-D)

Seriously though, has anyone used this approach with any consistency? And if so, did it deliver results?

My feeling is that the key is to start out with purely phonetic imitation, and to let the attachment of meaning come at a later stage. I suspect that there is a pitfall that leads many people to abandon this kind of technique; if you start out trying to understand (or worse still actively remember) a new language, you’ll likely crash and burn fast!

But did he get good results from using shadowing himself? I really admire him as a polyglot, but in terms of pronunciation, for example hearing his Russian, I was far from impressed. I know that people also criticized his Chinese. In my opinion listen and repeat - like Pimsleur, is more effective and somehow more natural, but I have never tried shadowing for a longer period.

I think he aborted Chinese before getting very far, didn’t he? He actually describes on his website how hearing it spoken around him made him actively not want to know it - which I find to be an extraordinarily eccentric attitude for a man who is so passionate about languages as he is! (But each to his own.)

As for Russian, well, maybe somebody who shadows Polish, Czech, Russian and Serbo-Croat (as he has undoubtedly done) would end up with a kind of vague general Slavic pronunciation? I dunno…

The problem is that there is little content of Prof Arguelles speaking foreign languages. Which doesn’t mean we can’t pronounce some of them perfectly, but there’s no proof :slight_smile: If Luca Lampariello said he owed his pronunciation to shadowing, it would be a great incentive to me, but from what I know he used other methods. Anyway I don’t want to discourage you, it would be great if you could write here your observations after some time.

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No because i’m unfortunately not autistic so i’m not going to storm round wearing headphones talking to myself.

It’s a pretty worthless exercise.

Although his clear placement on the autism spectrum is probably what makes him such a great learner. Real high-functioning autistic traits (that is to say, not traits associated with people who are autistic and have other mental issues - see Rainman) are present in nearly every great innovator, pioneer, inventor or scientist throughout history.

I don’t have enough social extrication to do this!

“English dude who is growing a beard is going to be walking the streets while talking to himself in Arabic - be warned people! :-D)” This is hilarious, folks!

Yes, I’ve tried shadowing according to this guy:

English Speaking Practice | How to improve your English Speaking and Fluency: SHADOWING - YouTube

But… it didn’t work for me.

I’m sure that it could work well for Arabic.

Please, @Prinz_Le Barbu, make a YouTube video of you shadowing in Arabic! We’ll be millions to follow your progress and have fun!

I rate Luca Lampariello extremely highly. I’ve seen videos of him appearing on Polish TV, speaking in a free unrehearsed way in front of a big TV audience. The guy is pure class! In fact, if I had to pick one from Youtube crowd as the ‘polyglot king’, I think it would probably have to be him.

Saying that, there are other impressive people with a lower public profile - guys like Robert Biegler, or Francisco from here at LingQ (and others) who would probably give him a run for his money! :stuck_out_tongue:

Ya know, all joking aside, I can imagine that if someone did this outside a police station or something, he/she could even be arrested…just maybe…

It’s a dangerous businesses this shadowing malarky! :slight_smile:

I don’t use shadowing, but I do something kind of similar. What I do is I might read a couple of articles or so, and after reading them, I’ll try to speak/formulate sentences using the vocabulary that I either learned that day or stood out to me, possibly reordering sentences that I saw in texts that I read or building off of them. That way I’m not just blindly reciting what I hear and that helps me consolidate my natural feel for the grammar and so forth, to get used to say…putting the verb at the end while speaking in Japanese. So basically I just talk to myself in the language provided I can’t speak to anyone in my neighborhood in Polish or Italian, etc. :stuck_out_tongue:

It might have sense considering the fact that saying words aloud has a good effect on memorization process.

Here are some research papers (although I think that every language learner knows it from personal experience):


The problem is that it’s a bit boring way of learning a language. How long do you plan to stick with it?

“…How long do you plan to stick with it?..”

Initially I’m going to try working through the first four lessons (from thirty lessons in total) of Linguaphone’s course in MSA.

If it works, I’ll just keep rolling!

Keep us updated about how it’s going

If it works out well, I might even go ‘full-frontal-Arguelles’ (so to speak) and start shadowing several languages in different time slots…! :slight_smile:

BTW, another technique that seems to work pretty well with Arabic is to listen to the Arabic recordings while simultaneously reading the English translations in the transliteration book. I know this isn’t exactly a new trick in the polyglot world - but it’s the first time that I’ve tried it. The fact that English and Arabic are so different makes it especially effective, perhaps?

I’ve used shadowing – at least a version of it – while studying with Assimil. Walking with my dog in the morning is how actually got into language learning, so I did do the walk and talk (just with audio). I actually discovered this method on my own and used it before realizing it was a thing with a name etc.

Shadowing itself is a tried and true way of learning – how some people chose to implement and popularize it may give it a questionable reputation, but that has nothing to do with its effectiveness. You don’t have to do it walking around town either, you can just do it in your living room.