Skynet wrote:PeterMollenburg wrote:Speaking to a real life living actual French person the other day, I specifically asked for some pronunciation feed-back. She was the second French person in the last couple of weeks who stated that I sounded Belgian. This French woman clarified further and stated "but not necessarily Walloon, but in fact Flemish, as your French 'r' is too strong". She went on to provide examples ("don't say it so strong, just lightly touch the 'r'). Thus I've been actively working to soften it.
Mmmmm, I had been told (on my first thread) that Belgian and Parisian accents were indistinguishable from each other. Perhaps your Dutch is flavouring your Flemish French? I recently gave up the pyrrhic war that I had waged against having a non-native French accent - it's not worth my effort. Congrats on bringing the entire family on the Pimsleur bandwagon!
For me, I view it differently. I won't get into whether or not one can acquire a native-like accent. However, it's very much a part of my routine, in fact, it's automatic while using course material, to attempt to imitate as closely as possible, the pronunciation of native speakers. I enjoy doing this. I'd feel extremely odd if I weren't doing this.
If I'm told something is a little off in my pronunciation, I'll listen acutely for it in my own speech and I'll then analyse the speech of native speakers mainly through audio portions of courses and attempt to adjust my pronunciation to match more closely (ie adjust the problem phoneme), as close as possible that is, the pronunciation of the native speakers. Sometimes we can't hear something in our own pronunciation and it takes someone else to point it out for us to hear it. I always focus on attempting to move as close as possible to native-like pronunciation as I can, by focusing on audio and shadowing. The more little tweaks I can make over time, arguably the closer I'll become to sounding native-like. I really enjoy this aspect of language learning and I wouldn't want to change that about my own approach to learning languages. Everyone has different objectives, has a different personality and so on. This is certainly what I do, but it's not for everyone, and that's fine.
As for Dutch influencing my French. It's a good/valid theory, but I haven't been (re-)studying Dutch for long enough for the strong 'r' to be coming from my current Dutch learning. This isn't a recent phenomena, as I've been pronouncing the 'r' this way for some time, perhaps years - I knew it was strong, but it took someone else to point it out, to realise it was in fact too strong. Dutch may not be influencing my French now, but it may have been the reason I began pronouncing the 'r' the way I do, since some years back when Dutch was the main focus, I certainly became adept at producing guttural Dutch sounds. For the record I've never really felt that I've had language interference, although I do feel sometimes that my native English does indeed influence my pronunciation and of course I strive to eliminate such influence. I'm not totally certain why I do this, I guess it's a perfectionist thing perhaps, but the odd thing is I quite like a nice accent in a foreigner learning/speaking English, provided it doesn't strongly hinder communication.