Does any here shadow audio intensively and frequently? By this, I mean speaking simultaneously with the audio trying to match your voice to the rhythm and intonation of the speaker. I can’t seem to enjoy doing this myself, but I have heard it’s a highly useful technique.

Any thoughts?

Sometimes I try to mentally anticipate the pronunciation, actively imagining how I would pronounce things while reading along with audio. That’s a great technique to discover words you use to mispronounce, because at the same time you are reading, the narrator is speaking and the errors become immediately patent.


Different things work for different people. I have read a lot about how certain people enjoy shadowing and find it effective. I have tried it sporadically but am unable to keep it up, nor do I find it useful or enjoyable to do.
When we finally get the Pronunciation section back up here at LingQ we will have lots of phrases for shadowing or chorusing or repeating. I think that is a useful thing to do. But everyone is somewhat different in what they like to do.

I am curious to hear from others on this point.

After I read very interesting posts about shadowing (or chorusing ) on how-to-learn-any-language forum, I realized I had shadowed in some way or another without knowing about shadowing. I do find shadowing useful and enjoyable, especially when I choose to listen to something familiar, but what I wouldn’t mind listening to again. To the contrary, if am I listening to something difficult, or for the first time, especially if I would not choose to listen to it again - I feel no desire to (and actually cannot) shadow it.

I also feel that the form of shadowing discussed on the how-to-learn-any language –echoing nearly mechanically along the flow of the speech –is in a way imposed by the technical limitations. The limitations are in that you cannot pause the recording 1000 times exactly where you’d like to. So – shadowing –i.e. mumbling along with the flow of the recording.

However, it would be good to pause every now and then, at least to have time to digest some phrases you have listened to or shadowed along. Ardaschir, or Prof. Arguelles, from on How-to-learn-any-language, suggests to insert pauses into the recordings manually. It is extremely time consuming, however. Moreover, when you are listening or shadowing for the first time, you may want longer pauses (or you may want to have longer pauses if you prefer to read out loud a fragment after the narrator finishes the fragment), but later you’d prefer having shorter pauses or getting rid of them altogether.

As Steve noted above, in the previous Linguist system you could click a written phrase and repeat or shadow the voice (of Mark) as many times as you wanted. I used to like it.

As I have reported to Steve, I have a system ready that automatically insert pauses into audio books. These pauses are inserted between short natural phrases found by the automatic speech recognition methods. You may change duration of those pauses at your will during the listening, or you may cancel the pauses altogether, or you may set each pause just as long as to have time to repeat every phrase after the narrator. I found it convenient to listen to and shadow along with such system. The definition and applicability of shadowing, IMHO, greatly expands.

The system is augmented with something like it was in the Linguist (but more than it was in the Linguist). You can click the text of each phrase and you’ll hear that phrase, or you may start listening to the whole audio starting from the clicked phrase, - with or without pauses between the phrases. And if you want to read along with the audio, the text will automatically scroll along with the audio. You also can save the sound or the text (or both the sound and the text) of each phrase with a single click. Just what you have asked about, Ana-Paula, in another post. Only you save or hear with a single click not words but short phrases, like the already edited phrases from the LingQ widget. Only they are original fragments of the sound from the recording, rather than the mechanical text-to-speech utterings.

This is Professor Arguelles shadowing Chinese as an example:

Thanks for sharing, Chris! I have heard so much of Arguelles’s shadowing and finally I have seen him. He is younger than I imagined him, but the technique is very much like I imagined it, and used long ago myself for studying Hebrew. Many people practice a variation of this, I guess.

It is evident that there are pauses in the recording that prof Prof. Arguelles shadows. I wonder if he have inserted them into the recording himself, or it is just such audio for learners. I am too bad at Chinese to guess. Could someone help with my guessing, please?


What you describe sounds like an ideal system and one that would add a lot of value to LingQ. We are going to provide the phrase by phrase pronunciation feature that we had in The Linguist when we get around to it. There are just so many things on our todo list.

I watched the Arguelles video, and then watched his video on the Assimil series of language learning material, which he praises. He particularly likes parallel bilingual texts.

I think that different activities are important at different stages of learning. And some take more dedicated attention than others.

I tend to listen while doing other things, and while I have texts with spaces, I find that they engage me less than text without spaces. So mos of my listening is to texts without spaces.

Yet listening and repeating, especially the way you describe your system, would definitely be a good way to work on pronunciation, and to help move from input to output.

We all agree that texts have to be interesting, and the voice pleasant, that is number one.

If I think about my Russian studies, I used a variety of books before I was able to use LingQ. Assimil was one. Their content was pleasant, and so were the voices. On the negative side, here was no continuity of theme or story, and by an large they spoke too slowly. I did not like the parallel bilingual texts, since I prefer to just look up the words I need, rather than having to search for them in a parallel text.

I prefer the dictionary widget approach that we have in LingQ, the only disadvantage with LingQ is that you have to read on the computer the first time. I can see the benefit of parallel texts for beginners and we are planning to make all of our beginner content available parallel in all the languages we offer. We are looking for volunteers to help us in this. Once we have our new points system working, we will be able to compensate people for their efforts. Again, just more things we have to do with limited resources.


You wrote: “I tend to listen while doing other things, and while I have texts with spaces, I find that they engage me less than texts without spaces. So most of my listening is to texts without spaces.”

I take it that your spaces is what I call pauses. If so, then certainly most of your listening goes without spacing – only the audio for language learners may have artificial spaces. That is why I have designed that feature – to insert configurable (and interactive) spaces into authentic audio (in case a learner needs them ).

By the same token, is it possible to distinguish what kind of language Prof. Arguelles is shadowing in that video – a kind of learning material or an authentic audio? (If it is authentic, then it is obviously artificially spaced)

You wrote: “I did not like the parallel bilingual texts, since I prefer to just look up the words I need, rather than having to search for them in a parallel text.”…” I can see the benefit of parallel texts for beginners…”

Me too.
The Linguist once hinted me to a feature with advantages of parallel texts and without its shortcomings. I wanted to talk with you and Mark about it a year ago. The feature allows for voluminous reading with understanding in a foreign language. It is more powerful then the controllable spaces/pauses, if I am not mistaken, and it is also more in the spirit of the LingQ philosophy and its programmers’ experience. However, it is not ready yet.

“There are just so many things on our todo list… Again, just more things we have to do with limited resources.”

I understand it all too well.


The material he is shadowing is a simple dialogue from an Assimil course. He recently reprised his studies of Chinese. I’m not sure about the writings in Arabic and Sanskrit from the scriptorium video, though.
I must say, I do benefit a lot from and genuinely enjoy parallel texts.

The main thing in language learning is to do what we enjoy doing, and to do it a lot!

Thank you very much for responding, Chris!

There was a link to, in my opinion, very good and nontrivial digital implementation of parallel (Spanish English) texts, placed by a software developer on the how- to- learn-any-language forum. The implementation featured, unfortunately, impractical and trivial audio part (text-to-speech). The author posted about his parallel texts under the title: “Shadowing Assistant to Spanish”. Probably because the shadowing theme is so popular on that forum.