Native speaker or none native speaker

does it matter when improving listening comprehension if you are listening to a native speaker or a foreigner that speaks fluent your target language?

I’ve wondered about this as well. I assume you will pick up on non-native accent if you listen to the latter but with respect to communicative ability I don’t know that it would make a difference??


reason why I ask is because I watch a lot of YouTube videos of people that are living in Spanish speaking countries and the people that I watch are usually American or French or whatever but speak fluent Spanish?

Non native speakers use incorrect phrases and choose the wrong words, but most importantly their vocabulary isn’t necessarily very large or at least they don’t know (or use) colloquial language. They can say a lot with their limited vocabulary which makes them easier to understand especially if you speak the same language natively as they do or a similar language. If you listen to native speakers you are exposed to colloquial language, which makes it more difficult but also prepares you for dealing with natives. For this reason I only listen to Russians, Belarusians and Ukrainians when listening to Russian. Similarly I only listen to Croats, Bosnians, Montenegrins and Serbs when listening to Serbo-Croatian.

Other things being equal, native speakers are better.

yeah true it depends on the content too I find that the content from the foreigners are much more fun to watch

Obviously, I’d prefer listening to native speakers contents, but I really don’t mind about being a non-native speaker. Additionally, I think It’s useful listening to non-native speakers because you can improve your listening skills, as their accent is usually different.

I think ultimately as long as you are listening to a Spanish speaker no matter about their background you will improve.

Yeah, I’d say so.


I don’t really care as long as a person I am listening to knows how to use the language well.

If the foreigner really is fluent, if he has a native like accent (or close), a wide vocabulary and doesn’t make grammar mistakes often, then it doesn’t make any difference in my opinion.

Venya Pak is a native Russian speaker who speaks almost perfect, unaccented American English. Learners of English can watch his videos with no qualms and learn a lot. Как говорить на американском английском? - YouTube

On the other end of the spectrum is Graham Phillips, whose heavily English-accented Russian is practically unintelligible to me. Fortunately he’s trying to educate about Russia, not the Russian Language. - YouTube

One advantage that the non-native teacher has is the fact that he, too, had to learn the language at some point. He may be able to explain certain aspects that confuse the learner better than a native speaker who “just knows” and who may have trouble providing an explanation. On the other hand, I’ve seen videos of Russians teaching English where the instructor has heavily-accented English, and a few where the instructor makes minor mistakes.