A native English speaker criticized my English, and this is how I responded

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What do you do when people criticize your English? Not in a good, loving way, but in a demeaning and patronizing way?

When I get negative comments and criticism (and I do, a lot) I usually don’t respond. But there was something about a comment I received on YouTube recently that triggered me, so I decided to respond in a video.

I wanted to do that so you’ll see that I, too, receive negative feedback, and I don’t let it get to me – and neither should you.

But also, I wanted to show you what Native Speakerism is – the assumption that a select group of people (or teachers) with a certain linguistic background is superior to other groups who don’t share the same background. I think it’s important that we identify it when we see it – as it takes on many forms – and call people out on it.

If you feel like sharing a negative comment you received – write it in the comments, and add your response after watching this video!

More episodes about native speakerism:
Equality in English | The Live English Show
A conversation About Culture, Identity and Language | The Live English Show
DON’T ASK me about my ACCENT

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18 Comments on “A native English speaker criticized my English, and this is how I responded”

  1. Kudos to you Hadar, very well expressed! Each one of us “non-native English”speakers are special in our own way, including the way we speak …. we are unique thank God! There is a personal ‘twang’ in our pronounciation that makes us proud of our background, something that native English speakers don’t have! Grazie for having shared your comments with us!

  2. I want to learn

    And. I love hadar how she learns people that’s a good way really

    Good bless u radar
    Good luck
    Good job
    Good

  3. GO OFF, HADAR! I love it! ? I’m a native English speaker but take so much inspiration from your work. I’m naturally kind of a nervous nellie practicing French with others, and needed to hear this kind of rooted confidence from someone I deeply admire. I cannot believe someone felt the need to criticize you like that. First, definitely not constructive. And second, if you’d never said you didn’t grow up speaking English, I honestly would never have known – yours is so fluid and natural sounding! Keep up the great work, and use whatever freaking slang you want! ?

  4. This is an extraordinary testimony. Thanks for sharing such an experience. The conclusion is remarkable by the way, languages do not belong to anybody. Personally, thank God I have never come across with these type of people, because even though I am a very mild-mannered man I would not have been as polite as you were with this a**hole and I apologize for employing this type of language. Anyway, one teacher said these type of things should not be taken personally, obviously they mean to disdain, but Jeez trying to master more than just one language is something a little bit complicated, I guess. Unfortunately a lot of people around there do not even get it, so you better feel proud of yourself.

    Tons of love Hadar. I am in love of your web page.

  5. Hi Hadar, as always this a wonderful topic you are talking. Being a second language learner, many times we re exposed to similar situations of bulling for not pronuciation words on the right way. Thank you! Love your all you do.

  6. Absolutely perfect full fledge response you ‘reciprocated’. Some people can’t accept others progress. They ONLY feel great about themselves by making others down but unfortunately he/she didn’t get success. What good is that language (SLAM) which does not help in corporate world! We all non native speakers learn English to be able to communicate with all over the world and be successful in real life. You are a master of English as a nonnative speaker. He/she should try to be master in Hebrew as a second language.
    Hadar! Your English is awesome!

  7. “Nativespeakism” is xenophobia and cultural racism. I reject it vehemently. You are completely right.

  8. Hi, Hadar
    As for me, I think even native speakers make mistakes when speaking or when they’re pronouncing words sometimes. I found our accent amazing so don’t take care of what they are seeing. I learned lots of things from you than native speakers.
    Keep teaching us, take care, and stay safe.

  9. The process of acquiring a second language is an act of love that requires dedication and constant effort.
    Only mediocre people find pleasure in criticizing small and stupid things, most probably in a futile effort to negate the fact that a person learning and exposing himself/herself to another language is stronger, smarter, and braver than the one “limited” to just one perspective of the world.
    A second language opens up your mind to different ways of thinking and seeing reality.
    When I find a person who speaks at least two languages I trust that person because I know that she/he was humble enough to go through such a dark journey with the certainty that someday he or she will be able to communicate to other people. We learn another language to communicate with other people that otherwise, we could not be able to do so. That my friend is an act of love.

  10. Hi Hadar! I am feeling so much better that you gave the exact answer that they needed. In fact, some people feel greater than others and try to underestimate others. but I know that you are strong enough to do not to let it put you down. When I grew up, I wish to be like you. I’m just beginning to be a digital teacher, so I needed to hear from someone like you that it can happen, but don’t let it affect my life. A beautiful, amazing, and lovely teacher like you don’t deserve bad comment.

  11. Dear Hadar ! Thank you so much for sharing your unpleasant even humiliating experience. As I have mentioned, in my active age I delivered scientific lectures in English at a dozen of international Meetings. At such meetings lecturers from allover the world also presented lectures in English. And of course their English was quite different although understandable. So, later when I worked in Amerika and listened to mention the “native American accent” as an attribute of superiority I doubted: does exist et all an authentic “native American accent” ? Who is entitled to decid ? There are people who suffer more or less of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. These people usually transfer their fraud feeling into perfectionism. That makes any language into a rigid, unmusical “speech” totally inappropriate to express for instance intimate emotions.

  12. Righteous! Great reply to JR at the end. I concur with all your points. Pointing out that you have no right to use “slang” is ludicrous. I’m not native born but have been told I “sound” native in which I reply that their accent is very good as well. English is fluid and there are so many ways to use it and say it. Thank you for a very insightful and much needed wake up call. As a Literacy tutor, that’s one point I try to emphasize to the students that as long as they are clear as to what they want to convey, accents don’t matter.

  13. Doesn’t matter what this kind of people can think about you. For all of your students and people who follow you, you are essential and help us moving forward, be more confident and take pleasure in speaking English; With you, learning English is definitely a must for me. We need your energy and your skills to support our progress, and keep going.
    Let’s continue!

  14. Hi! Hadar, we really appreciate you.
    Pls continuing teaching us.we love you so much.
    Hadar forget about those that claiming i too know and They don’t know anything.because to us They’re illitrate.just ignoring them with their jealous. they’re jealous because you are popular then them.and if they are thinking they’re well educated. I dare them to speak your language Hebrew or my language Hausa language from nigeria.if They thinking they’re well educated. Please my teacher Hadar leave the arrogant people and continuing your job.because They can’t speak our language and we are speaking their own.so we are better than them %100.and we really appreciate you teacher.thank you so much.

  15. I loved this. Thank you. I am only a year or so into teaching pronunciation to students as I’m a relatively new volunteer at our local literacy council. I often try to assure my students NOT to get embarrassed by their accent or their inability to find the right words (don’t we ALL do that at tunes in every language?). I also told them it is NO reflection on them if someone decides to mistreat you because of it. I’d love to see a short video addressing just that part so I could send it to my students. The actor who played Wonder Woman talked about how she just laughs it off and doesn’t try to hide the fact that she gets things wrong some times. Own it, address it with humor and don’t let it bother you if people are mean.
    Thanks again for this video.

  16. Unfortunately there is not only bias in pronunciation, but also classism. Like it was said, trying to show a kind of power or superiority over another person just because they are native speakers of the imperial language is just so vane. Language is thought and nobody can attempt to control it, or mock the way we (non-native speakers) pronounce it. It is just as if we laugh at the way other people think, just because their ideas are not like ours; absurd, isn’t it?

  17. The gnocchi mater made you very angry, right? But that’s the lessons you’re trying to teach us, we don’t assume think like a native speaker, our english is ours only, we just try to understand and speak a second language, the thing is making fluently, that’s all. This happended to you can you imagine we (Mexicans for example) can expect? Thanks sweetie and sorry for my english. Bye

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