As an adult, I'm working on learning French, coming from a background growing up speaking a few languages natively. According to French friends of mine I practice with, I have a "good" accent, but I've never been a big fan of "good". So to me this begs a question:

Given a few more years of work, could I as an adult reach the point where as far as, say, 95% of native speakers can tell from my accent, I'm Parisian by birth?

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    Judging from the stories for some European catholic priests who spent most of their lives in Korea, I'd say "it's possible, for some people, if you're willing to spend a decade or two of your life living among the natives."
    – jick
    Nov 8 '17 at 3:09
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    Why is this question being downvoted? Is there something wrong with the question? Nov 8 '17 at 7:15
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    Don't take it personally, this stackexchange is particularly awful with the downvotes. Though they gave no explanation, they probably want you to ask in languagelearning instead (though I personally think your question, as stated, is a perfectly cromulent linguistics question). Try searching the other forum for "accent". Long story short is, it's probably possible, but it's likely to be hard, and unlike an infant, you'll need conscious phonetics instruction (search for "accent elimination" courses and the like; these cater to actors etc). Nov 8 '17 at 7:31

Yes, it has happened, thus it is possible, but it depends on many factors.

Not all people can do it, and there will always be some holes, under a thorough enough test, unless you go redo all steps of life.

And it is much more likely that you end up with an accent in both LN and L1.

The most practical way to mask a non-native accent is to learn a different standard of the same language.

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    I've never seen evidence that it has happened. Can you point us to your evidence?
    – user6726
    Dec 23 '17 at 22:42
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    @user6726 It mostly happens for English, given the params. You haven't ever met someone who speaks some variety of English accentlessly only to learn that the person grew up in a non-English speaking society and arrived with an accent? Dec 24 '17 at 9:24

It is possible but it is difficult. It is especially difficult after puberty. Before then one naturally picks up a native accent. Afterwards, only with lots of training is it feasible.

Consider getting a dialog or acting coach used by actors. They are directly interested in helping you adopt a particular accent, even if it is not your native language.


Might be a weird perspective but it should be possible with the help of a speech and language therapist.

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