Earplugs to improve pronunciation in foreign languages?

Joe   Sat Sep 29, 2007 9:17 pm GMT
I think I stumbled upon this trick by accident and was wondering if anyone else has ever heard of a similar thing. I am in the US Marine Corps and had to go to the rifle range over a year and a half ago. At the time I had learned Spanish very well but still had a noticeable American English accent. Well, on the range we had to wear foam earplugs and I noticed that when talking while wearing earplugs I could hear myself a lot better. That had always been my problem with accent development: I could hear the native speakers just fine, but I could barely hear myself! Earplugs seemed to resolve this problem. I began practicing imitating Spanish pronunciation but while wearing earplugs, and my pronunciation improved greatly, mostly because I could hear myself so much better. Has anyone else ever heard of or tried a method like this? If so, can anyone explain why earplugs improve the ability of a person to hear themself speak?
Guest   Sat Sep 29, 2007 9:22 pm GMT
I agree. I use this technique. I live in Spain for 3 years and never once remove the earplugs.
Xie   Sun Sep 30, 2007 1:37 am GMT
I had briefly dabbled with French (counting numbers only), and the teacher I had met briefly said something like:

In your skull, the articulatory and hearing systems are quite ??close?? physically....

My wild guess: so, when you, say, wear earplugs and try to say something, you find that you can sense the vibrations (like most vowels) more easily...

if you don't wear earplugs, your ability to hear what you say is similar to what others say.

A funny thing is that, naturally, I also find that I can listen to music more easily using earphones than without. Does it have something to do with how you hear the sounds (wearing earplugs eases hearing yourself / wearing earphones helps listening to music)?