I know some professors of phonetics teach phonetics(in a country like India) in a laboratory almost similar to that of the native speakers.But when they come out of the class their pronunciation does not sound like native English.

Is it possible to speak like a native speaker learning the phonology without living with the native speakers?

  • 2
    Try ell.stackexchange.com
    – Nardog
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 11:54
  • 1
    @Nardog.I think it is the best site for the question.ELL discusses only language especially grammar Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 12:18
  • Also try languagelearners.stackexchange.com
    – Mitch
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 14:08
  • 1
    The simple answer is no. You could learn the theoretical details of many things and yet be unable to use them in practice, because they are different skills.
    – LjL
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 16:54

2 Answers 2


Learning the rules of phonology in a language might make the lowest levels of acquisition easier in some languages that have complicated phonologies (such as first-year Arabic or Klamath), perhaps 10% easier. It could help to reduce the chaotic appearance of the inflectional system, all of that complicated stuff about vowel changes and glides coming and going (in Arabic). You will still not sound like a native speaker even a little bit. For English, no amount of studying the putative phonology behind word pairs like "cone, conic", "obscene, obscenity" will make you sound like a native speaker. I have (or had) a reasonably good understanding of Klamath phonology, and not the slightest idea what the language actually sounded like.

You might also intellectually master knowledge of the acoustic and articulatory phonetics of a language, that is, read all of the phonetic literature on the language – read myriad articles that measure amplitude, pitch, formants, duration in some language. That will still not tell you what the language actually sounds like. The only thing that will help you sound more like a native speaker of the language is being exposed to native speakers of the language: you have to speak the language, with native speakers. You don't have to live with / among them, but you have to intensively interact with them.

India presents the additional complication that the national standard for pronunciation isn't the same as that of the US, UK, Australia, that is, Indian English is a separate language. I don't know of any research into the phonetic and phonological properties of Indian English monolinguals or at least first-language speakers. I would take differences in in-class vs. out-of-class performance to be evidence that the person has not natively mastered English phonetics – unless the instructor is actually trying to teach American English pronunciation, and is a fluent Indian English speaker.


I think your answer is comprehensive.We can not speak like a native speaker despite our mastery over phonetics and phonology. I would like to give a classic example for this.once a professor of Linguistics from The English and Foreign Languages University, the best university for teaching English in the country, was choosen by The British council as The best English teacher of the year.When he was talking to the members of the British council he mispronounced the word Child. A British councl member immediately questioned the professor about the correctness of his pronunciaion.

The professor himself revealed this while he was interviewed by a TV channel in India.

I listen to the cricket commentary too often and observe the pronunciation of Indian commentators like Sunil Gavaskar and the native speakers.Though Gavaskar is an excellent speaker of English , his pronunciation has got some Indian flavour.He has been associated with native speakers for many years but he has lived in India since he was born.

So I think that one can not speak like a native speaker unless one lives with the native speakers

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