Is it weird to learn dialects?

I had a friend that loved that I was learning and Esfahan dialect of Farsi, his home, generally people are happy about it because to them you are speaking accurately.


I think about this with non-native english speakers that learn english from British people, it’s funny to me to hear a Chinese/British accent.

But I agree. In some ways, it’s probably better to get you accent from a single source.

Well if someone lives in an area where a certain dialect is spoken then sure, it would nice and possibly even easier to learn that dialect. I feel like the OP is asking more about choosing to learn a dialect just because it sounds fun or whatever, which is likely to not end that well.


Another thing to consider is writing versus speaking. I had several Kansai friends that were totally fine with teaching me and seeing me using 関西弁 with them. I could see that they were happy that I was open to learn and use it with them… but that was just through chatting… so I do wonder if the speaking experience would be different. I think the shock of seeing a foreigner speaking the language will always be there no matter if you’re using a dialect or not.


I think this video is breaking that rule. He said his main inspirations were Duck Dynasty and Jeff Foxworthy. According to wiki one is from Louisiana and the other is Georgia (not even a cowboy state :cowboy_hat_face:). I’m not Texan but it this doesn’t sound entirely Texan, I’m hear a couple different things going on at the same time.

Fred Armisen does state variation impressions; the more the extreme examples but I find it educational.

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His speech is clearly largely influenced by Texans as he surrounds himself by them even though it’s not perfect and draws on other Southern dialects due to his media exposure. But I don’t even see that worthy as pointing out in this context, because the same will be true no matter what dialect you learn. A foreign language learner is almost never going to sound 100% native no matter what dialect they choose to emulate; be it the one that politics has declared to be the “standard” or some other dialect. That is getting at the crux of the matter I think. I believe some people have this idea that you shouldn’t attempt to learn a regional dialect if you can’t speak it perfectly, but if you learn the standard dialect chances are you won’t speak that perfectly either and won’t sound like a native through that medium either.

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But you said not to mix dialects and I agree.

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I suppose it comes down to what you consider to be mixing dialects. I really think his degree of mixing is minimal, and while it’s impossible to say from such a short clip it seems to be mostly his speech that is not perfect. It’s super, super good though for a non-native speaker. I did not notice any out of place words or phrases or strange grammar. But the fact that he is not a native speaker probably plays a much larger role in his lack of 100% local native-sounding speech than anything else.

When I think of mixing dialects, I think of things like using a pitch accent from one dialect (like in Norwegian or presumable Japanese which I am currently less familiar with) while incorporating grammar from another, and vocabulary from yet another. Or any such combination. What I don’t think of when I think of dialect mixing is an inability to 100% emulate a dialect. Because that is going to happen no matter what dialect you choose, be it the standard dialect or a different one; even if you limit your exposure to only people and media who use the dialect you wish to emulate, which is nearly impossible and certainly not something I would want to do. And it’s not a restriction that people who learn standard dialects place upon themselves either.

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I agree to a point. I think I’d find it a bit strange if that person had never actually spent time in the place of the accent/dialect they were speaking-having no connection-not even a teacher from that place. However, I have had students who have done homestays or studied abroad and managed to pick up and retain the accent. One student sounds very American. Another Australian. The Australian one is a bit of a trip though-I’ve known her for nearly 20 years when she was just 13-14 years old. She went to England, then to Australia to study in university. When I met her after she returned, it was a bit strange to hear her her Aussie accent. It was a bit hard to wrap my head around. Another student studied in England for 5 years and combined with her personality, she always reminded me of a little English Granny.


Your first sentence is exactly what I was trying to explain why I think it’s weird

As for some stories… I used to live in Malaysia for a while and over time got adjusted to the accent my co-workers and friends spoke over there. I didn’t realized first but when I came back to my home country some of my friends where pointing out the way I talked sounded different (to them).

Another one would be me getting interested in Scotland. I started to expose myself to Scottish tv shows, news and so on. When I went there for business it even helped me to understand people and be understood more easily. On the other hand, I wouldn’t try to emulate a Scottish accent let’s say back in Malaysia.

This one is another very nice story of picking up/using a dialect. To me it feels natural to learn and actively use a certain dialect with friends from that area.

So, if you’re interested in learning (about) different dialects I definitely encourage you to do so. And I’m sure if you come into an environment where you are actively exposed to it you’ll benefit from your studies.


If someone did pick up a very specific accent/dialect without any connection to the place, you’d certainly have to give them credit for it. It’s hard enough learning the standard language with all the materials available, but to hone in on a particular one…gosh, the amount of effort needed to curate the resources!


I don’t (usually) say y’all even though I live in the southern US (it’s weird to me on a rare occasion that I do) so it’s completely normal to have a different dialect than other speakers, and it could change as you spend time somewhere (In my case, our family is from Chicago - but we moved when I was only 5)

I mean it used to be worse. I spent most of my life in New Jersey and made fun of for accent now it’s mostly gone.

I’m sorry to hear people made fun of you… although it kind of goes the other way for me - I find it a bit strange to hear people using y’all, but in Texas, it happens sometimes!

Did you spend time in the South, or you just enjoy using y’all? It just seems more natural to me saying “you guys” or something like that…

No lol I have no idea why I say it. I go to California and new York, not south.

New York’s weird - it’s kind of borderline - some people say “youse” there apparently!

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Pretend I shared it for someone else then. :wink:

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To @MegaZeroX’s point, you can sound like a joke easily if you don’t tread carefully. But there is a humanist beauty to accents in the sense that when someone is emotional or excited, their accent will spill out not matter what. So you can practice and play the part of something else but it’s really not authentic if it’s contrived.

I talk with Tokyo natives and they can snuff out the country bumpkins who are trying to hide their accent with their temporary Kanto-ben when they come to the city though they may fool outsiders. Likewise, they struggle to understand each other all the time as I do too; I can hardly understand thick Touhoku-ben and sometimes, it’s just too much. I recall a conversation between someone using Hakata-ben being a real struggle. As a language learner, I really looking for clear/effective communication as priority so I can’t imagine trying to intentionally emulate this at risk of functionality.

I’m reminded of this scene when Alabama meets Brooklyn: