Do you think it hurts your Japanese to listen to non native speakers for listening practice?

I’ve been trying to up my listening practice lately. I tried ひいきびいきbut didn’t find it very interesting, so looked into podcasts about things about I’m interested in. I found a really good podcast about one of my passions, and there are two hosts, with one from Canada. From what I can tell he is very good at Japanese and feels very natural in it, and while he has an accent it’s not very bad. I’m not very concerned about my own Japanese accent because I am understood and people tell me I have a good accent (may be just being nice) but do you think listening to this will hurt my Japanese? Thank you!

I’d say it’d really only hurt you if you’re learning incorrect Japanese, so if you at all question the accuracy of what the non-native host is saying, it may be good to double check things with other resources for the things you’re learning (i.e. how a word or grammar point is being used, etc)

As far as accents go, you don’t have to entirely rely on the way they’re pronouncing things, I’ve listened to plenty of podcasts involving non-natives and it’s usually balanced with natives so I’m still hearing the “correct” pronunciations and I haven’t felt like it’s hindered me at all

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having a slight accent is not a bad thing. french speakers of english sound charming, and think about how many english accents there are - overwhelming, even as native speaker.
it can’t be thick though, that would make you incomprehensible.

so yeah, aim for good pronunciation, not a perfect one, and then, that podcast shouldn’t hurt you.

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I guess it depends on the fluency, proficiency, pronunciation.

I like listening to LearnJapanesePod as the main host, Alex, is English born but lives in Japan and has been learning the language for decades, is joined by a Japanese person (who usually lives in America, from what I’ve heard).

From my non-native ears, Alex sounds really good.


I’m not a native English speaker. I’ve been to an English only college for almost a year now and I spent most of my free time with international students.
None of them (and almost none of the teachers) were native speakers and honestly, it shows. When you listen to somebody for some time, you tend to pick up a few things here and there. Expressions, accents, weird words.
If I were to go and live in London for a couple months, I’d most likely come back with things like “I was sat outside” and “have you got” (both of which I already use, lol).
Most such changes are subtle, like the way you pronounce a certain word or how you phrase something. It just happens and sometimes you don’t even realize it until it’s too late. Not necessarily a bad thing, but be mindful.

I used to have a Spanish friend and one of my favourite things to do is to ask her if she’s going to the beach. “No, it’s raining. Why would I want to go to the bitch?”


Listen to BilingualNews, Native speak Japanese woman who lived in America with another dude who speaks Japanese and English also. Super good podcast for Japanese listening practice

Depends on what you’re listening for.

If it’s for pronunciation, you’ll probably want to aim for a native speaker. But if the speaker is at a level you trust (genuine fluency) and you’re just listening for comprehension/grammar or vocab review, sure! Can’t hurt.

Edit – Though I would be careful with the “vocab” bit, as far as usage, because even the very best, truly fluent speakers will still sometimes wind up with expressions or vocab usage that might sound slightly off to native speakers (not a knock against them or a big deal; just a natural consequence of … having learned a language instead of growing up through it). So I would double-check if you’re at all unsure. You want to invent your own bad habits instead of copying others’!

Oh, I also liked to ask a German friend: “Fax them.” And she said, “But we don’t have a fuck machine.” And I asked her again with my indifferent face, “What machine do we not have?” and she answered the same.


be so nice to have one tho, for those slow days at the office


Listening to native speakers is best, of course. However there is merit to listening to non-native speakers as well to strengthen your listening ability. If you’re listening for the purpose of repeating/shadowing to work on your pronunciation, I would suggest sticking to native speakers.

I attend Japanese language school full-time in Tokyo with mostly Chinese students. As a result, I’m the one white guy in Tokyo who sometimes sounds Chinese when speaking Japanese. It really throws people off sometimes. :grin:


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