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Hi,

I'm very much interested in this issue and can't make up my mind, besides I'm writing a paper on it so it would be of great help to see what other people think of it. 2 issues then:

1. Have you ever thought about retaining some aspects of your first language just because you like your accent or you consider it part of who you are and not just because you are kind of force to have this accent (due to the fact that it is very hard to learn to sound like a native speaker of English when you're not)? Or the only option for you is to acquire a native-like accent (British, American or any other)? if yes, why?

2. Do you consider some foreign accents as better than others because they sound "cool" or something like that? And are some foreign accents more annoying for you to listen to?

I do not want to offend anyone or anything, I'm just curious of other people's feelings towards this matter.

For example I'm a Polish girl and my accent isn't perfect but it's not that bad either and when I hear some of my compatriots speaking with their heavy accent I want to kill them but then I think that it's not their fault, still it hurts my ear. Also Ive heard that some native speakers like certain foreign accents e.g. Italian and regard Asian accents as incomprehensible or something like that. Is that true? Personally, I think that one of the most incomprehensible accent is French. What are your feelings?
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Justyna1. Have you ever thought about retaining some aspects of your first language
Generally speaking, no, because English is a separate language. Of course it's easy to make mistakes because of the influence of my native language, but as I said, I consider them "mistakes".
That doesn't mean I expect perfection. I just want to be able to speak in a way I feel comfortable with, without accepting "mistakes" I don't like just because I'm too lazy to fix them.
Justyna2. Do you consider some foreign accents as better than others because they sound "cool" or something like that? And are some foreign accents more annoying for you to listen to?
No, foreign accents and accents in general are cool because they are entertaining, not because I think they sound better. They only become annoying when you are forced to hear them too much, like when everyone around you has a strong accent you don't like or you are not willing to pick up.
Of course one of the most annoying to me is the Italian accent, the real one, not the stereotypical one (which is funny). Italians have strong accents because pronunciation is rarely, if ever, taught at school. Then Italian is full of English words, and more and more are being added because they are "cool" (even the word "cool" has been imported and pronounced with an annoying non-dark L), which of course are all pronounced the way they are written, using the Italian phonemes. This means I always feel weird when I have to say some English words in Italian, because I have to force myself to "mispronounce" them.

So I don't understand why Italians want to go to the bathroom to take a sheet. I have no sheets in the bathroom. I have some on my desk! Gee.
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That is really interesting what you're saying because it's in complete opposition to what the linguists say in this matter. In their view due to the fact that there are strong links between one's mother tongue and his or her identity and that English is now so present in our lives, playing a whole range of various roles, that we've developed a special relationship with it and want to express ourselves (our identity) via English, contribute some part of us to the language that we're using, not just to "imitate" native-speakers. They also claim that our fascination with native speakers' accents and desire to sound like a native speaker is rather a matter of constraint than a conscious choice because we are told by the books that we're using and our teachers and so on that those native varieties are "the proper ones". But I guess it's just the way it is that they say one thing whereas many non-native speakers do not share their opinion at all.

As for me I've never even considered that if it would be possible to have beautiful native accent I could just reject it and stay with my first language accent. Now that I've read so much about I can't make up my mind and one day I think that I should be proud of the way I speak and stay this way just to change my mind 5 minutes later when I hear some non-native speaking better than me. Besides there is also the issue of being a student of English Philology and everybody kind of expect you to be perfect at every aspect of English. And maybe it's connected with the fact that I haven't had many occasions to use English on more international field (with more diversified group of non-natives). Could the drive to show your identity/nationality be stronger then?
Justyna. They also claim that our fascination with native speakers' accents and desire to sound like a native speaker is rather a matter of constraint than a conscious choice
Well, wanting to imitate native speakers is something that comes naturally to me, it isn't really something I choose to do or someone forces me to do, it's something that I find myself doing. It's probably a question of personality, natural inclination, etc.

It all depends on why you are learning a language. If you only learn it at school, if you learn it because it's important for your job, if you learn it just because you want to communicate, then it doesn't take much to be content with your English. English is just a tool in that case.
But if you learn it because you like it, if you want to improve it because you want to enjoy it more, then it can't be seen as a tool anymore. In this case, it is a real language, which you feel you need to understand as much as you can, and at a certain point you will feel you can't keep it separate anymore from the culture it's linked to.

Everyone has their own reasons to learn a language, and some might have some kind of natural inclination, so I don't think it's possible to generalize.
May I know more about the Spanish English in Britain? How does the English spoken by Spaniard changed when they arrive in Britain?
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