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Showing posts from November, 2009

Is It Important for Learners to Speak Like a Native Speaker?

I do not think it is important for learners to speak a second or foreign language like a native speaker. To clarify my position, I have interpreted “speak” to mean having the same pronunciation and accent of a native speaker. Of course, a second or foreign language learner should try to use the same grammar and vocabulary like a native speaker. Trying to have the same pronunciation or accent like one for most learners is too much of a lofty goal for most adult learners.

Brown mentions this argument most directly in Chapter 3 in the section entitled “The Significance of Accent” on pages 62-65. The point of this section is to illustrate that evidence for the critical period hypothesis is most apparent in the inability of second or foreign language learners to acquire authentic pronunciation of the target language. The critical period is defined by Brown in his glossary as “a biologically determined period of life when language can be acquired more easily and beyond which time langua…