Native speakers wanted!


Thanks for the feedback, Martin. That’s an interesting mix. :smiley:


I think that Brandee’s record is ideal for beginners, I concur with Amy that she’s treacherously easy to understand.
On the contrary, Stew’s speech is closer to reality, he sounded like a British person to me. People sometimes speak much more unintelligibly. For example, not long ago I listened to the comedy “Office” (a British comedy, and there’s a link to it on youtube somewhere on this forum), and with frustration I realised I could not understand everything, even after playing back a few times.
I hold that as a learner learns more and more about the language, he/she needs to take up more difficult assignments, listen to more “unintelligible” speech.


Hi Alex,

I think you find “British English” more difficult to understand because you primarily have been exposed to American English. For example, if you google “Amy MacDonald interview”, you will find a youtube clip that features two speakers of Scottish English which might sound very unusual and “unintelligible” to you. But this dialect is not unintelligible to other native speakers of English at all because they get much more exposure to a variety of accents than an average ESL learner.

Let me know what you think.

TOEIC short conversations: Shopping for a deal[YSaerTTEW443543]


How is Brandee’s speech not close to reality? She speaks the way people in my neighborhood do.

Is speech “close to reality” if it’s hard to understand and “not close to reality” if it’s easy to understand?


I’d say it’s important to take the particular learner’s level into consideration. I usually speak quite fast, and I often have to restrain from talking nineteen to the dozen in class. People in lower classes tell me to slow down because they find it hard to follow in my wake - I do as I’m told, and things fall into place.

A2 speakers need a slower pace, but of course no snail’s pace.

[color=indigo]BTW, learners of the English language, what do you make of David Bowie?

Some may argue he sounds as clear as bell.


I have a Bangladeshi friend who was born and brought up in Kuwait, and with primary and secondary education in an American international school in Kuwait, followed by university in the USA. Would she be of interest to you for your audio recordings?


‘native speakership is neither a privilege of birth nor of education, but of “acceptance by the group that created the distinction”’

Claire Kramsch, 1999.


I’d like to hear him pre-drama school days. Anything out there?

Note the “when they used to cometheshows” (7:25 mins) and other, probably, Brixton influenced gems: … re=related


“I have a Bangladeshi friend who was born and brought up in Kuwait, and with primary and secondary education in an American international school in Kuwait, followed by university in the USA.”

I can’t speak for others, but that sounds pretty interesting to me. I wonder where she picked up her accent – Kuwait or America?

Or is it a Kuwaiti rendering softened by her years in America? (or hardened/given an edge, depending on where she studied here)


I love those students who have gone to American international schools in the Middle East. Their English is generally no better than that of students who had, say, four years of ESL, but their assessment of their own English is MUCH higher.

Typically, they walk up to the instructor several times during the semester and tell him in a heavy foreign accent something like, “I gotta get outa dis ESL! I was English educated in Leb’nun!” and proceed to fail nearly every test all semester. Things never get better, because their conviction that their English is “perfect” also convinces them that they don’t need to study.

They often think they can negotiate a deal for a grade.


Yeah, he was 17 when he founded a pro-long hair society.



I concur with Torsten´s general premise that exposure means you define the kind of English you are exposed to as comprehensible.
Exposed to Scottish English, and taught by a Scot will give you a higher sense of this often dialectically heavy version. However you may have problems with say Ozzie (Australian) English.

Most of my students as they are used to my accent (which is not as strong as some of you think, in comparison to my family), find it easy to comprehend. I had one intermediate to upper intermediate level group that had an Okie (guy from Oklahoma) teacher for three years before me, which had difficulties with my accent in the beginning. This is only natural.

However he has this southern drawl anecdotal style to speech and teaching, that contrasts with my East Midland to Northern British accent that as Jamie pointed out has elements of parsody ( which dates back to my acting and performance poetry days

There are many accents in BrE and this can cause problems, however if we take Alex´s observation of “the office”, this is a very regional accent that is not going to turn up in many BrE mainstream films.

But accents are hard if you are not exposed to them, I recently met my first person from Stuttgart, it took some concentration in my listening.
But this is normal for anything you are not used to.


Where did he get that accent?


And which site would you say better exposes ESL students to accents, “Torsten’s”, above, or this one ?

One note on the link you gave, Stew:


Did he pronounce “Stuttgart” for you? :lol:

My German students almost always had trouble understanding people from Scottland.


I wonder whether they’d’ve had trouble understanding these speakers? … eakerid=82 … akerid=611


I’d say they’d have more trouble with the second speaker.


Hi Stew,

To me the most remarkable aspect of your story is that your Okie teacher taught a group of “upper-intermediate students” for three years and during that long period of time it did not occur to those students that they can learn English only if they get daily exposure to a variety of English accents. I think that the vast majority of learners believe they can learn English by attending English classes once or twice a week. That’s an amazing thought, isn’t it?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening lectures: How did Queen Elizabeth acknowledge the English victory?[YSaerTTEW443543]


Hi Torsten

When I was in Germany, I constantly told my students that they had to do more than simply attend an English course once or twice a week. I had one class that spontaneously started finishing my sentence for me whenever I began “Even if you only turn on CNN as background noise for half an hour every day…” :lol:

It is generally pretty obvious which students in any given ESL class do more than simply attend the class.


In the academy where I work we have a quite few students taking English by telephone classes. One or two of those students only take 30 mins per week and do nothing outside the class to develop their usage. Occasionally, the same students will suddenly announce that they want to take an intensive classes because they have an upcoming international business meeting, or something. The intensive they have in mind normally consists of taling an extra 30 mins phone class per week.

Odd thing is, at the end of each cycle of classes they often complain that they haven’t really moved on usage-wise. :roll: