Mimic & Meaning

Mimic & Meaning

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The language-learning approach of the Mimic Method is as follows: Language is acquired through Mimicry.

Rhythmic Phonetic Training develops your ability to process the most important aspects of Spanish speech: the rhythm and phonemes.  From a song to normal speech, the rhythm and phonemes will not change much.  What does change from music to speech is the voice inflection and pacing.

Voice inflection refers to the way your voice goes up and down in pitch when talking.  The inflection is important in communicating many things, including emotion and mode (i.e. question – “It’s you?” and statement “It’s you!”).  The Spanish voice inflection patterns are important to internalize, and they can only be internalized through mimicry.

Pacing refers to the changes in tempo and pauses between phrases.  Unlike in song, people do not normally speak to a steady meter.  Instead, they pause between throughts and speed up and slow down for different effects.  The natural pacing of Spanish is also important to internalize, and you can only internalize it through mimicry.

These things are not as obvious when you have to face the challenge of processing the 30 phonemes per second, but now that those things are taken care of (at least for the lyrics you have learned), you can focus on these other details.  At the end of each unit, you will review a normal speech version of each line from the song you’ve learned.  The purpose of this is to develop you practical mimicry skills and focus on the natural voice inflection and pacing of Spanish.


Mimic

The audio file below provides an example for the English song lyrics you’ve just learned.  The phrase is repeated several times at different speeds so that you can focus on the details. 

Meaning

Once you are able to mimic the speech, you can now start associating meaning to it.  Since The Flow of Spanish focuses primarily on the raw sounds of Spanish, little attention is given to specific meanings.  What’s more important is to associate general meanings to phrases.  

Through a process called “Statistical Learning,” your brain will implicitly start to recognize the patterns of sound-meaning associations and develop a sound based grammatical system.  The “meaning” exercises of The Flow of Spanish will aid your brain along in this process, but you won’t really start to build your sound-based grammar system until you immerse yourself in a Spanish context and listen and mimic constantly.  

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