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4 reasons why it’s much better to practice with non-native speaker

Here are 4 reasons why it’s much better to practice with non-native speaker:<o:p></o:p>

1) Natives usually don’t know grammar well. And they don’t need to know grammar well. They speak English and use grammar rules subconsciously. But for a learner who lives in a non-English-speaking country and don’t have an opportunity to practice English on daily basis, it’s quite impossible to learn English without studying grammar rules. But natives who are not professional teacher, they are just unable to teach you grammar and how to use grammar rules to build your own sentences. Only a professional teacher can teach you. Or more experienced learner of English who have learned all these rules as well.<o:p></o:p>

Natives speak English without accent, but they are unable to teach you how to pronounce sounds in a proper way. They cannot explain you, for example, the difference between Russian /r/ and English /r/, Russian /t, d, s, z, l, n/ and English /t, d, s, z, l, n/ (if you are a native speaker of Russian). Only a professional teacher can teach you. Or more experienced learner of English who have learned how to pronounce all these sounds as well.<o:p></o:p>

2) When two non-native speakers are chatting, they are both have the same goal which is to improve their English skills. Their target language is the same. Their interests are usually very similar (watching movies in English, listening to music etc.) Language exchange is a good idea, but not very practical. For example, I’m a native speaker of Russian. But I don’t want to waste my time trying to explain someone how to speak Russian. Actually, I’m not interested in Russian. I want to practice English only.<o:p></o:p>

3) When speaking to a non-native English speaker you feel more comfortable. You can speak more fluently because you can afford to make mistakes from time to time, which a non-native speaker doesn’t notice. It’s a great opportunity to break your language barrier! You can feel absolutely relaxed. And at the same time we may use a good dictionary and grammar reference to make our language better!  This is absolutely great :)<o:p></o:p>

There is only one rule here: The other person should understand what you are talking about.<o:p></o:p>

4) There are lots of learners of English here and there, but very few natives who want to study Russian or any other local language. It’s just impossible for every learner of English to find a native partner. Be realistic :)<o:p></o:p>

Mar 24, 2017 11:10 PM
Comments · 17

Although you share some interesting points, I think your post comes off (probably unintentionally) as insulting to native speakers. You're right, many natives are not grammar experts. You can count me as one of those. However, I know when something sounds wrong even if I don't know the 'rule' for why it's bad. I can quickly use google to find out if I need to help someone sort it out. Can 2 non-native learners do the same? Will they even notice? Potentially not, or if they do, they may have trouble identifying what is wrong since they have to search through target language explanations of grammar rules.

In short, it's probably a bad idea to 'insult' natives when trying to learn their language. They will be less likely to help you if they see you post something like this. Many might think "Fine, let the blind lead the blind and see how far it takes them".

I'll finish by saying it is all too easy to accidentally insult others when using a foreign language. I'm going to chalk your post up to an example of this and assume you meant well. Certainly students can gain a lot from helping each other, but at some point you're probably going to want to use your new language skills with natives. Try to be a little nicer to them :)

March 27, 2017
So -

You don’t want to waste your time trying to explain someone how to speak Russian. Fair enough.

And it seems like you don't want to pay a professional ESL instructor to help you. That's okay, too.

But - given that you can't get something for nothing - what might you be missing out on by practicing only with non-native speakers?





March 25, 2017
I agree with a lot of what you say. But your initial post seemed to criticize native speakers in ways you might not have meant:

Title: "Here are 4 reasons why it’s much better to practice with non-native speaker"

Do you really mean that an English learner should reject native speakers in favor of non-native speakers whenever possible? Because that's what you seem to be saying.

1) "Natives usually don’t know grammar well."

This feels insulting to me as a native speaker who is proud of my grammar skills. You did say "usually," which softens it a bit, but not enough. My first reaction to this was an angry diatribe full of rude and idiomatic English, which I fortunately had the good sense not to post.

2) "But I don’t want to waste my time trying to explain someone how to speak Russian."

I've already addressed my main point about this in an earlier comment. I'll just say that I often enjoy "wasting" my own time explaining how to speak English. I learn a lot about English, I learn some things about people, and I frequently learn valuable points about my target language (Russian).

3) "When speaking to a non-native English speaker you feel more comfortable. You can speak more fluently because you can afford to make mistakes..."

I find it hard to believe that anyone who has heard my horribly bad Russian could be at all embarrassed about their mistakes in English. :)

4) "There are lots of learners of English here and there, but very few natives who want to study Russian or any other local language."

That's true, but there are some native English speakers here who want to learn other languages. Patience, perseverance, and making yourself seem like a good language partner will probably pay off in the long run.
March 27, 2017

I agree with all your points except for 1). A more experienced learner has no interest in teaching you grammar, explaining things to you, or even talking to you in English, for the same reasons that you don't want to be explaining Russian grammar. You have to find someone at the same level as you to make it useful for both and that's not always easy. Also, I would expect there to be native speakers who know the grammar of their language well or at least can look it up if they can't tell you immediately. Also, advanced speakers don't always know the grammar rules.

March 25, 2017
Yuri, did you have any bad experiences with italki teachers? I'm asking because it's really not nice to call them incompetent and their classes low quality without even trying them and based on the price alone. While I do believe in learning from peers and have done it myself successfully,  talking the way you do about native speakers and now also the teachers is crossing the line a bit. They are all incompetent and you are competent to teach English? Seriously?
March 27, 2017
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