Can the accent have a bad influence on my learning?

Hey guys. Just an interesting point I thought i’d share. The majority of my spanish studies involve podcasts done by a couple living in Madrid. One is a native of Spain but the other if a native of England. When I hear him speak it’s obvious his accent is not 100% spanish, and my friend from Venezuela also says he can tell he’s a foreigner speaking spanish.

My point is, could this affect my ability negatively? For example many times I hear Steve talk about how it’s good, when listening, to just try and absorb the pattern and the flow of the accent, but surely if i’m hearing the language spoken by someone who doesn’t actually have a hispanic accent then it is LESS beneficial to me. I usually find the English guy easier to understand actually, but surely this doesn’t really help as when I speak to native spanish speakers they will have authentic accents.

It’s not the end of the world if a part of your listening comprehension is based on a non-native accent - in any case, you probably want to be able to understand a lot of speakers/accents/idiolects/dialects, and in my opinion that includes non-natives.

With an Australian accent would not be better.

What about different accents from the natives? I am watching QI - a British TV-show. They often make laugh of the accents from different part of Britain. By the way, no matter how I try, I can’t make out what Seon Lock (a comedian; frequent guest in the show) is saying without looking into transcript. I never speak English, because of fear of my accent.

As an English person I would say that Ben speaks with a good Spanish accent. I am sure that people in Spain know that he is not native Spanish but until you reach Ben’s level of fluency I don’t think it will make any difference to your learning experience. Besides, there are other factors to take into account such as that Ben tends to be more extrovert than Marina and has a more interesting way of putting himself across - speaking slower and clearer and emphasising words more. This simulates the real world experience more accurately as this is exactly what a native speaker is going to do when you stare at them blankly after listening to their fast native ramble.
Marina always jumps in immediately when Ben makes a minor mistake and I think that this also helps to simulate a normal conversational situation.

Although I do sometimes listen to Ben & Marina’s conversations I personally prefer News in Slow Spanish as I find their equivalents, Rylan & Marta to be more interesting and the topics to be much more varied. Rylan has more of an American accent but he is so clear and engaging that you become absorbed in the conversation and then it doesn’t matter about the accent unless your goal is to speak like a 100% native. You would also need to decide exactly which 100% native you want to sound like.

I doubt that it can hurt you. On the other hand I find it less motivating to listen to non-natives and generally avoid doing so. I am talking about listening material that I use to learn a language.

I sometimes purposely listen to non-natives, (Tim Kirby, an American ex-pat, speaks fluid Russian, with a noticeable american accent), as they can tend to speak a little slower and with a slightly simpler vocabulary. This makes comprehension more relaxed, and less of a challenge. Anytime I can listen without too much effort is positive time with the language. If you can hear where they most deviate from native pronunciation, it can be a good signal as to where you need to concentrate on your own accent. Kept in moderation, I don’t think it harms your own learning or accent.

double post

some good feedback here :slight_smile: I think sometimes I just don’t know if what i’m listening to is a realistic idea of how real spanish people/spanish speaking people talk. There’s not much point being happy at being able to understand most of what is being said at a much slower pace, because people don’t talk that slow normally.

then don’t listen to non natives

I previously spent hours chatting at full speed with Spanish natives, along with listening to things like football matches on the radio and watching films with subtitles but I have found this to be counterproductive and difficult to progress beyond a certain point.

I am now going through a more ‘silent’ period where I am reading and listening to podcasts and music videos. I think anything clear and interesting is good, the speed and accent is not so important. When I progress more I may want to go back to chatting again and maybe I’ll refine what I listen to more but right now I am happy to understand anything said in Spanish be it fast, slow, native non-native and in any accent so that I can build up more vocabulary.