What are shadow loops?
Shadow loops are recording of spoken Japanese that are played on repeat.
They’re a great tool to improve listening comprehension and pronunciation as well.
They can be found here, or by going to Library > Activities > Shadow Loops.
On that page, you’ll notice 3 separate albums which will automatically fill up based on your progression in NativShark.
They contain audio from the Lessons, Dialgoues, and Vocab that you have seen in the Units you have completed up to this point.
*Currently, Shadow Loops automatically populate audio up to early Phase Two as you keep progressing. We’re looking to expand this to the current content in the future.
Why use Shadow Loops?
Improving listening comprehension
Shadow Loops can help you to recognize how sounds are commonly shortened, underpronounced, or otherwise changed when spoken at natural speed.
They help train your brain to pick up how the language sounds at normal, everyday speed. And sometimes that can be really fast for us at the start, but that’s why we use them; to help us get a stronger foothold in our listening comprehension.
One thing’s for sure: If you don’t know what it’s supposed to sound like, you can’t pronounce it yourself. While we’re improving our listening abilities, our pronunciation abilities will begin to follow suit passively.
That said, we can be active in improving our pronunciation as well, and repeat sentences we hear as well, trying to copy the intonation, shortening of sounds, pitch, and other variations in each of the sentences. This is known as “shadowing” and can be very helpful for when you want to focus on both improving your pronunciation and your listening comprehension.
It can be helpful to have a longer pause in between each track when you’re repeating what you hear, which can be adjusted on the tracks by clicking the plus or minus on the stopwatch as shown here:
How do I use Shadow Loops?
There are many ways to use Shadow Loops, and they’re all correct and can help you in different ways. We recommend a mix of all of these methods as it suits your schedule, study time, and motivation~
Keep in mind no matter what you do or how often you do it, if you’re listening to these, you’re making progress^^
This is you listening with full focus and perhaps even pausing to repeat and copy pronunciation.
This can be especially helpful for when you’re struggling hearing a certain sound in a sentence… or you’re absolutely certain the speakers literally aren’t saying some piece of it.
You can also be doing other things like going on walks, cooking, or any other daily activities you do where you can’t focus fully on studying but still want to be making progress towards your language goals.
You can just listen and make mental notes about a few things you hear, but just listening is more than enough when we’re trying to be low-focus.