Thanks to guest contributor Emmanuel Orozco Castellanos for this review of the pronunciation YouTube channel “Accent’s Way English with Hadar”
This week, we’ll put a spotlight on one of the many English teachers on Youtube. Her name is Hadar Shemeh, and she’s well-known in the ESL community, and for good reason.
What makes her stand out from the numerous teachers and coaches that teach English on YouTube? The choice may come down to personal taste, but Hadar’s content quality stems from her background as an English learner. As she tells us on her Youtube channel (and website), she moved from Israel New York to pursue a career in acting. She struggled with her accent until she took phonetics classes and fell in love with the sounds of American English. Her passion for phonology and language learning have kept growing ever since. More importantly, the fact that Hadar speaks and teaches English as an additional language, as a self-described non-native speaker, adds a valuable perspective to the way she approaches learning.
Let’s look at some examples which also illustrate why Hadar’s content is so powerful when studying pronunciation. If you scroll through her Youtube channel or her website under the tab “magazine“, you’ll notice that Hadar’s content is primarily focused on pronunciation, from intonation, stress, rhythm, and connected speech, to videos where she breaks down certain sounds: the American R, the TH, or the sneaky schwa /ə/.
The variety of topics and specificity of advice on Hadar’s pronunciation channel are hard to beat. Do you struggle to tell the difference between the pronunciation of launch and lunch? She’s got you covered. Are you unsure about your z‘s, because they come out as s? She has a video for that. Would you like to improve your intonation? You know the answer. Hadar’s channel is where it’s at, folks.
I find the “How much time you got?” section super helpful. You’ll find lessons for busy people, so lack of time is not an excuse anymore. These playlists prove that improving your pronunciation can really be that easy.
For some good online entertainment, you can set aside 25 minutes, make some popcorn, and watch the “Understanding American English Vowels” masterclass. It’s free, interactive (you can download the chart and take notes), and absolutely powerful! I speak from my personal experience. The twenty five minutes it took me to watch the video have been among the most well spent in years! Learning to refine my pronunciation of American vowels, made my English improve almost overnight. It’s a small solution that brings huge results.
But I haven’t yet fully revealed why Hadar’s content is so special. Hadar brings her experience to the table. She talks about her learning journey and is well aware of the struggles that English learners have. This allows her to come up with genius ways to explain content so that it makes sense to her audience. For example, instead of explaining a sound or word, “because it is the way it is”, she constantly makes comparisons between sounds in student’s native languages to those in English. Like when she explained that the “y” in “you”, would sound like a plain “i” in Spanish; I’ve never forgotten it. She has many videos specifically dedicated to speakers of certain languages. Check them out!
If you’re into podcasts, then, you should subscribe to the InFluency Podcast, Hadar’s recently launched project. It includes pronunciation exercises, tips, and in-depth conversation about how to unleash your non-native speaker powers. It’s available on all platforms for free. Now you can work out or do the dishes while listening to Hadar’s insightful content.
On her website, you can click on “community” and subscribe to her free newsletter. I’m a faithful subscriber, and I love it! You’ll get tips, anecdotes, and information about newly released videos. You can also join the InFluency Community on Facebook. It’s a group where Hadar provides a fluency activity every week, and you can upload videos of your exercises and connect with other English learners. It’s so much fun!
Hadar also has videos about confidence in English, language anxiety, impostor syndrome, fear of making mistakes, and accent discrimination; issues that learners of a second language know so well. Hadar is outspoken about being a non-native speaker of English, and she takes pride in it. That’s why her slogan is “communication over perfection”, and I can’t think of a better way to put it. Inspiration and support are elements that Hadar puts at the forefront of what she does. Her work is a celebration of the courage it takes to learn another language. If you’ve made it this far, you should be proud of your journey, she says. Congratulations!