Why You Should Try to Have a Native English Accent

3 stupid reasons and 2 good ones

Photo by Vectors Icon on Pexel

When I was learning English, I wanted to have a native English accent.

I had 5 good reasons for this. 

Looking back, though, I realize that 3 of these reasons were stupid. 

I’ll share all 5 of them with you. Can you guess which are the 3 stupid ones?

5 reasons for having a native English accent


1. Fear of being judged: In Italy, we like to make fun of Italians who speak English with a strong Italian accent. I used to laugh at these people too and I didn’t want to speak like them. Most of all, I didn’t want other people to make fun of me because of my Italian accent.

2. Identity: I used to live in English-speaking countries and I wanted to integrate with the local communities. When I was in London, I wanted to sound British. In Australia, I wanted an Australian accent. When I lived in New Zealand I wanted to sound Kiwi. Sounding like a native made me feel connected to the natives.

3. Job aspirations: My biggest ambition as a learner was to become a teacher of English, so I thought I had to have a native English accent.

4. Personal taste: I loved the sounds of the native English accents. I  especially loved the “harmony” of the Kiwi and Australian accents.

5. Correctness: Learning English, to me, meant learning its grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, so I wanted perfect grammar, perfect vocabulary, and a perfect native accent.

So, what do you think? Which of these are stupid reasons for wanting to have a native English accent?

Photo of a question mark
Photo by Julia Filirovska on Pexel

3 stupid reasons for having a native English accent

I think number 1, 3, and 5 are the stupid reasons.

Reason 1 (fear of judgment): Life is already hard as it is and fearing other people’s judgment will make it even harder. 

Don’t waste your time worrying about what others think of you

I need to remind myself of this too, so I asked my partner, Aloha, to make this drawing for me.

It helps.

I framed it and hang it on the wall in my study room

Reason 3 (job aspirations): I’ve had many non-native English teacher colleagues who have their own accents. They’re qualified, have years of experience, and do their job amazingly well. 

There’s no need to sound like a native if you want to teach English. 

If your school doesn’t hire non-native English teachers because they don’t have a native English accent, go talk to the director of the school and ask him to change the policy. 

If he says no, change school.

Reason 5 (correctness): What does it mean to have perfect pronunciation? I used to associate “perfect pronunciation” with “native speaker’s pronunciation.”

I changed my mind. 

Now I associate “perfect pronunciation” with “understandable pronunciation.” 

So, if people can understand you without sweating, you’re doing fine. Don’t waste time and energy trying to have a native English accent. 

2 good reasons for having a native English accent

Thumb up - good reason
Photo by Katya Ross on Unsplash

I think number 2 and 5 are good reasons for having a native English accent. 

Reason 2 (Identity): This is a good reason because “language belongs to a person’s whole social being; it is part of one’s identity and is used to convey this identity to other people. The learning of a foreign language involves far more than simply learning skills, or a system of rules, or a grammar; it involves an alteration in self-image.”  (Williams, 1994:77)

If you want to become a member of a community, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to develop another identity by changing your accent. 

I did it many times — and I don’t regret it.

Reason 5 (personal taste): Is anybody going to get hurt if you like how native speakers sound and you want to speak like them? 


So go ahead, get rid of your accent and speak like a native.


One last thought…

One of my Italian friends once said to me, “When I’m in a work meeting with Germans, French and other non-native English speakers, we can understand each other. 

No problem. 

But when Mark from the UK joins the conversation, no one can understand what he says.”

We generally believe native speakers of English have a communicative advantage. 

They don’t.

Once I was speaking with a native speaker from Manchester. I said to him, “You’re so lucky because English is your first language. You can travel the world, go to any place and people will always understand you.”

He replied, “You’re actually luckier than me because most people don’t understand my accent.”

Keep that in mind when deciding whether or not it’s worth having a native English accent.


I hope this is helpful.

Any questions? Feedback? Comments? Send me a message in the comment box below. I reply to everyone. 



Williams, M. (1994). ‘Motivation in foreign and second language learning: an interactive perspective’, Educational and Child psychology, 11: 77-84

Fabio Cerpelloni is an easy-going English teacher who helps adult learners speak better English through personal storytelling classes and book discussions. You can join his private email list by clicking on his glass of beer in the photo.

Like this article?

Any thoughts? I reply to every comment.