Would you like to speak any language with a perfect native accent? :D

Today i read this interesting article in Russia Today, i dont know how to translate it good to english, basicly says that kids before 7 can have something called like “absolute hearing”, thats the reason why after that age is very difficult to get a native accent .
So, in Russia Today, the russian CNN, they said they´ve discovered a drug which can activate certain areas of the brain to come back to that state of “absolute hearing” hearing perfectly the differences between all the sounds. as they said not only have been tested in animals, but also in humans, in musicans which could afinate their voices much better after thaking that drug. Very interesting, though i dont think that would come to general public, but still fun to read.

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It’s interesting that they say the Valproate drug promotes brain plasticity, which is usually lost after childhood. It would also come in handy for my “tone-deaf” (haha!) husband …as it improves adult pitch.

However, there was something about serious risk which I didn’t quite understand:
“…como el de borrar la adquisición del lenguaje, la cultura y la identidad al reabrir el período crítico cerebral que se desarrolla durante la infancia.”

I don’t think it’s necessary to speak like a native, though, and certainly not worth major risk. Learning languages can improve brain plasticity at any age.

I do not like the idea of having a major risk. I’d rather take Idahosa Ness’s pitch and rhythm training to remove accent.

“would you like to speak any language with a perfect native accent?”

My answer: no! I want to speak English with the accent that makes sense for me, and I want to speak other languages with the same accent. I am a Brit living in Austria. It would sound absurd for me to speak English with an Austrian accent, and it would sound absurd for me to speak German with an Austrian accent.

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I’d take the drug, but that’s only because I’m still young and pretty sure that I’m invincible.

ad Colin: (…) and it would sound absurd for me to speak German with an Austrian accent. (…)


ad djvlbass (…) I’d take the drug, but that’s only because I’m still young and pretty sure that I’m invincible. (…)

Admit it, you already took a big sip of that devilish drug? :wink: I remember you talking in French to me with an admirably good accent. Btw, are you still studying German?

When I study languages, I always try to imitate the accent of native speakers (as varied as they may be). My major goal, however, is to be comprehensible. I prefer a large vocabulary and a decent knowledge of grammar to speaking without an accent. If I could get both, well, I wouldn’t say no either :wink:

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Same here. I just want to be understood and don’t want to perfect my accent to become native like.

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For me it’s not important to sound like a native. I want to be understood.

By the way, I did a German and an English video about pronunciation (Aussprache) more than 3 years ago. The German version is a lesson in “Veras Corner” too: “VC #037, Video - Einige Gedanken zur Aussprache”

Fascinating stuff but I know one thing for sure , if my darling Slovak wife took that drug I would immediately begin an odyssey to find the antidote! Her english accent is sexy as H E double hockey sticks and something I would never want to change.Good grief , the thought of her speaking like a Rhode Islander is frightening.And of course it works both ways , when I speak Slovak or Czech a most wonderful smile spreads across her face.Why, its motivation alone to hit those flash cards at the crack of dawn. Viva La difference!

I could care less if I sound native. I’ll never be Swiss, I’ll never convince a Swiss that I’m Swiss, and there’s no reason to even try. I mean, it’s like Luca putting all this effort into sounding like a native English speaker. The second he opens his mouth I know “Yup, he’s not native”. And I believe he has spent quite a bit of time on his accent. I have better things to do with my time than impress the locals.

@ thirdsomethingcharm


I guess I have no particular reason. I would feel like an idiot if I was speaking with a fake Austrian accent, and then somebody asked me where I am from and I say I lived three years in America, 23 years in the UK, and only a few years in Austria. The next question should then be ‘why are you trying to do cheap impressions of us?’ Of course, this is probably mostly in my imagination, I certainly have no logical reasoning to base what I said on.

Vera and Ozzy have written “I just want to be understood” and “I want to be understood.”

I wonder if there really is any language learner in the world who genuinly only cares about being understood and does not care about how they actually sound. When I speak German, I do want to be understood, but I also want to sound natural. I want to use the correct words in the correct places, phrase things like a native speaker, pronounce words correctly, and get the grammar right.

My “I want to be understood” refers only to the matter of accent as this is the topic here. I definitely want to use the language correctly and pronounce the words correctly.

Then we are on the same page I think. For me, the important thing is that I speak in a natural way. This means to me that I don’t put on fake accents and I only use phrases and words that I am comfortable with. I am not going to force myself to choke out phrases that sound ridiculous to me because these are the sorts of phrases native speakers use.


What I meant by"I just want to be understood.", It that accent doesn’t matter. Learning the grammar is important to the language. Without proper usage of the language’s grammar, well you will not be understood properly. I agree with you on trying to sound natural, the pronunciation of words, and of learning correct grammar.

I used to say that I just want to be understood. Then, when I got to where I could consistently be understood, I started comparing myself to native speakers. After months of subsequent frustration I switched to comparing my French to that of educated foreign French speakers. I’m speaking of Guys like Steve, Robert, and every Anglophone politician who studied at the Sorbonne or at Science Po. I find that this is far more rewarding of a way, for me, to evaluate my language ability.


I tried coming up with a clever way to rebuke your compliment, but it really means a lot coming from you. Thanks a lot, and I hope we get the chance to have a chat sometime again soon :slight_smile:

I really don’t know what languages I’m studying right now. I spend a lot of time on French everyday and I make goldlists for about 935 other languages on the side :confused: