Should learners pick up an accent?

Danny   Wednesday, October 22, 2003, 18:19 GMT
Do you think getting an accent, whatever it might be, is part of learning English?
..   Wednesday, October 22, 2003, 19:29 GMT
YES, in order to feel like it's not ur second language u need to have an accent that u feel comfortable with.
..   Wednesday, October 22, 2003, 19:30 GMT
at least that's what i think.
messire lavoisel   Wednesday, October 22, 2003, 22:04 GMT
You should not pick up an accent, but you can feel free to do so.
As a learner, English (for example) has nothing to do with your identity, so unlike the natives you have to and are free to choose the accent you want to use.
Yet, you needn't imitate a particular English (I still use this language as an exemple) accent, you could as well mix several of them.
The most important thing remain to know how to pronounce the words correctly.
When you're capable of doing this, you can even have a strong accent from your native language, it will not matter at all.

I, for one, prefer to imitate the R.P. accent when I speak in English.
Fly   Wednesday, October 22, 2003, 22:25 GMT
One of my friends once told me.....

" People are quite unfair to chinese. When german, french..etc speak english with an accent, it's an accent. When chinese speak english with an accent, it simply doesn't sound right."

I thought for a few seconds. I guess she is right.
Torasama   Thursday, October 23, 2003, 02:33 GMT
Fly, you're so right. I always feel like that but I could never put those thought into the right words.

Anyway, it's good to pick up an accent because it's easier for people you're talking with understanding you. At my university, we have a lot of foreign teachers whose native language is not English. Even though they can speak English fluently and gramatically correct, it's not easy to understand them at all.
Jim   Thursday, October 23, 2003, 03:20 GMT
I don't think that learners should pick up an accent. Just make sure that you can be understood.
Da Frogg   Thursday, October 23, 2003, 09:40 GMT
Nothing is worse that someone who tries to pick up an accent, fails, and gets absolutely ununderstandable. Unfortunately, that happens! lol
messire lavoisel   Friday, October 24, 2003, 17:05 GMT
Whether learners want it or not, they necessarily get an accent. It can be a strong accent inhereted from their native language, as well as the accent they hear the most because their teatcher or a lesson tape use it. Many learners get the general American accent by listening to the radio or watching original version of movies.

I have no intention of changing my accent when I speak in French, it would be foolish.
However I have a different appoach regarding English: contrary to my native language, I chose it. I want to choose the accent with which I speak it as well.
To me, getting an accent is part of the fun you can earn from learning a language.

But I agree with you, Jim, when you say that the most important thing is making oneself understood.

As for what you point out, Da Frogg, I have noticed this as well, but It is often temporary. People tend to exagerate some characteristics they noticed and picked out from a particular accent. But after, they understand the nuances, use them and get clearer.
Mr.X   Friday, October 24, 2003, 21:51 GMT
I think choosing an accent really depends on your location. For example if you are French living in Paris and your interaction will be with French then having a British or American accent is really not a part of your English learning.
messire lavoisel   Friday, October 24, 2003, 22:36 GMT
From a pragmatic point of view, English is a tool to communicate with people, and what you need is to be understandable. No more, no less. So neither your location nor the people with whom you speak will be to take into account.

However, I repeat that no pragmatic reason leads me to learn English.
I learn it only because I'm fond of it.

I Have the feeling that many people including natives think I want to pick up an R.P. accent because I will go to England in the near future and I believe I will look more respectable by using this accent.

They are wrong. I'm not going to England in the near future, English will be seldom to never needed in my profession, and I don't care about people's opinion about my accent. In short, I don't need English.

But actually I need it. I need to exercice everyday, get more vocabulary, try some more sophisticated sentences and note my progress.

To me, English deserves more than just learning it for buisness purpose and forgetting it when it is financially no longer use for you.
This is one of my passion.
Hythloday   Friday, October 24, 2003, 23:20 GMT
There's nothing wrong with pronunciation of any kind - enunciation is a different matter. A person with any accent can communicate effectively with anyone provididing that they enunciate clearly, so I see no valid reason to suggest that accents are disadvantageous. Anyway, evereyone has an accent. It is impossible to speak any language WITHOUT an accent! If you didn't have an accent, you wouldn't be able to speak!
Juan   Saturday, October 25, 2003, 01:00 GMT
It's already hard enough to pick up foreign pronounciation of vowels and consonants let alone an accent. But if your talented enough to do so, all power to you.
messire lavoisel   Sunday, October 26, 2003, 14:09 GMT
If the immigrant who make enough effort can pick the accent of their host country, then anyone ready to practise adequately can pick up an accent.
And Hythloday is right, you cannot but have an accent. That is why I ask question: "why not choosing one"?