I get comments occasionally from people who say “I want to be like a native speaker” and “I don’t want to learn from non-native speakers.
In this episode, I’ll argue the benefits of learning from non-native speakers as well as natives, and not closing yourself off from learning. The main thesis here is to stay open-minded in language learning and I explore some reasons why.
I cover some ways in which non-native speakers might be preferable to native speakers, and even when they’re not, the things you can learn from them.
I hope you find this episode valuable. As always, you can share your thoughts on the show notes page below.
Reasons to Learn from Non-Native English Speakers
1. There are more of them
2. English learners can know more
Because English learners have worked hard on their English and have studied the rules, they know exactly what it’s like to learn English. They know what you’re going through.
The average person on the street in England won’t know what the Present Perfect tense is, but a learner probably will.
3. Everyone makes mistakes
The fear that non-native speakers make mistakes and should therefore be avoided doesn’t make a lot of sense. Everyone makes mistakes – it’s part of language learning!
No matter who you’re listening to, it’s important to question things you’re not sure about. There are some mistakes that native speakers make all the time that English learners know better (eg. Their vs They’re)
4. Everyone has an accent
Non-native speakers of English aren’t the only ones who have an accent. We all have our own regional accents!
When people say they want to learn from a native speaker, they probably mean someone who speaks with an RP accent (if we’re talking about the UK) which accounts for about 2% of the population. It’s not so common!
Many advanced English learners speak very clearly with a generic and international English accent. This can be understood much more easily than some regional accents of the UK for example.
Not convinced? I mention many more reasons in the full episode. You’ll just have to listen!
What’s your opinion on this topic? Did I convince you?