Does the speaker matter?

I’ve written a lot about trying to listen to as much language as you can, whether it be in real life, or (even better) in a format that you can listen to more than once, and hopefully read along with.

I’m lucky to have a language teacher who has a very pleasant voice and manner of speaking, so when she records texts for me, it’s never a chore to listen to (although I do sometimes have to talk myself into listening to lessons rather than music or podcasts in English). However, I’ve heard a lot of people whose recording voices are almost painful to listen to, and I would struggle to make it through the few minutes it would take to listen to an article.

One particular example was an audiobook version of a book I’d already read and liked. The narrator had a grating accent and manner of speaking that emphasised all the wrong parts of the sentence and set my teeth on edge. I had to stop listening after less than a chapter.

I’ve found that I am more judgemental of speakers of my own language, though. I tend not to notice accents so much with foreign languages, and I’m not advanced enough yet to know if they are pronouncing things wrong. I haven’t found a foreign language speaker that I can’t listen to yet, which is probably a good thing!

Have you ever had to switch audio off because of the reader?

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