international accent


I ask this question because someone raised this issue on one of my posts.

I believe there is such a thing. The reason I say this is that I notice with our students that because they get a real range of native English speakers throughout their course, by the time they have done around 6 months they are beginning to develop a native English accent. Well a kind of a native English accent that is. And what I would call an INTERNATIONAL NATIVE ENGLISH accent.

This I think is really the dream of anyone learning a language, that they can speak English so perfectly that they can really fit into any native English conversation and no one would be able to identify the true origin of their accent.

Any accent is acquired due to the speech spoken around you wherever you are. So if you work and live with French people chances are you will acquire a French ‘lilt’ to your accent.

Also a lot of ESL teachers develop an international native English accent over time too, mainly because often they are teaching in foreign countries and they themselves are socializing with many different English accents themselves, so they ‘lose’ their accent and become more international. Also they are spending all day and every day speaking English ‘perfectly comprehensible’.

So what do you think? Do international native English accents really exist?





4 thoughts on “Is there such a thing as an INTERNATIONAL NATIVE ENGLISH ACCENT?

  1. Yes. I agree with you about the International Native Accent. The international English-speakers around the world will soon outnumber the native speakers in the English-speaking homelands, or the English-speaking Inner Circle as some people call it.International English is getting bigger all the time – and maybe it is on it’s way to becoming ‘more normal’ than regional native English usages.

    • Yes I like your use of the words ‘regional native English accents’, because I think these will become less important and this new phenomenon of an international accent will ride through. Not only with esl learners but even with native speakers themselves, the more global we become.

  2. I think I see where you’re coming from on this one. And personally actually prefer this notion to a student intentionally trying to”learn” any particular accent. I try to focus on teaching correct pronunciation and if that naturally comes along with an accent, that’s great! The main goal is to be able to communicate effortlessly. I had never heard this term before, but I’m definitely going to incorporate it.

    • Thanks for your feedback.

      The thing I also like about this term ‘international English accent’ is that it really does redefine what a ‘native speaker’ really is, and moves it beyond a persons passport.

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