The Surprising Benefits of Learning a Language from a Non-Native Speaker

learning language from non native speaker

When it comes to mastering a new language, most of us instinctively seek out native speakers as our mentors. After all, who better to teach us the intricate nuances, cultural inflections, and colloquial charm of a language than someone who was born into it? 

Well, you might be surprised by the answer.

Non-native language instructors bring a unique set of advantages to the learning journey that are often overlooked. In this article, we’re going to delve into the unexpected benefits of learning from someone who wasn’t born speaking the language but has nonetheless mastered it. 

We’ll explore why these teachers, with their firsthand experience of the learner’s journey, their explicit understanding of grammar rules, and their relatable learning techniques, can often provide a richer, more balanced, and (arguably) more effective language learning experience.

Related Reading: Can You Learn Chinese In Five Minutes?

Benefits of Learning chinese

Understanding the language learning landscape

Language education has always been a complicated matter. We know that our young brains are great for absorbing language, but as we get older, we might think that we won’t grasp things as quickly — which can be disheartening and leave us feeling unbothered. 

Make note of these Chinese swear words to learn a bit more about what we think of that.

That kind of lack of thinking is also true when it comes to the roles of native and non-native teachers. Many people have this misconception that only native speakers are competent enough to teach a foreign language, but that’s just not true.

In fact, non-native speakers often have more qualifications and techniques to impart their knowledge to learners efficiently. We’ve all had crappy teachers at some point, so it’s crucial to understand that being a native speaker doesn’t automatically make you the best language teacher.

Learning from a non-native speaker can provide unique insights and perspectives that a native speaker may not offer. At the end of the day, what matters most is the proficiency of the teacher, not the native language of the person teaching it. But saying that, there are some blindingly obvious reasons why learning a new language from a non-native speaker might just be a better option than you think.

Related Reading: Understanding Chinese Characters: the Basics You Need to Know

8 reasons to learn a foreign language with non-native speakers

Discover some of the most popular reasons for learning a foreign language from non-native speakers:

1. Shared language struggles

Learning a new language can be a real struggle. Between the weird grammar rules, strange pronunciations, and a whole new set of words to memorize, it’s easy to get frustrated. But have you ever considered learning from a non-native speaker? Sure, it might seem counterintuitive, but hear me out.

Non-native speakers have been through the language learning process themselves, so they get it. They understand the challenges and obstacles that come along with learning a new language. Plus, they can offer a unique perspective on the language that a native speaker might not be able to.

So next time you’re thinking about diving into a new language, try learning from someone who’s walked in your shoes. Who knows? You might just be surprised at how much more enjoyable the experience can be.

learn a foreign language with non-native speakers

2. Relatable learning techniques

Learning a new language can be exciting but also daunting. What if we told you that someone who was once in your shoes could help you excel? Non-native speakers who have learned a language as a second language may have unique techniques or methods that helped them along the way.

Not only can they offer support and guidance, but they can also provide insights into the benefits of learning a language from a non-native speaker’s perspective. So why not tap into this valuable resource? With relatable learning techniques and a little bit of determination, you’ll soon be on your way to fluency.

Related Reading: 22 Good Chinese TV Shows to Learn Mandarin

3. Understanding of common mistakes

Learning a new language can be challenging, especially if it’s foreign to you. But fear not, non-native speakers have a secret weapon up their sleeve — their understanding of common mistakes.

As someone who’s struggled through the process of learning a new language, non-native speakers are better equipped to help others navigate the tricky terrain of grammar rules and pronunciation. Sure, native speakers may be well-versed in their own language, but when it comes to learning a foreign language, non-native speakers have a unique advantage.

So if you’re thinking about starting to improve your language skills, consider seeking the advice of those who’ve been there and done that.

learn chinese language with non-native speakers

4. Grammar emphasis

Learning a foreign language can be a challenging endeavor. Native English speakers often take for granted their innate grasp of grammar, using it seamlessly without even realizing the rules behind it.

On the other hand, non-native speakers have had to explicitly learn these grammatical rules, which can actually give them an advantage in teaching grammar to others. While it may seem daunting to learn a new language, don’t be discouraged. Understanding the rules of grammar can actually be a fun and exciting process.

5. Comparative learning

Learning a new language can be tough, but you may have a secret weapon in your language-learning arsenal. Being able to compare and contrast the language you’re learning with your native tongue can be incredibly helpful. You might even be able to translate more than just simple phrases, and perhaps even help bridge the gap between cultural nuances.

This can be especially true if you speak the same native language as the person who’s teaching you. So, for those of you who are native English speakers struggling to learn a foreign language, don’t be afraid to turn to someone who speaks your native language, too. They might just unlock the secret to successful language learning.

Comparative learning

Related Reading: 50 Chinese Slang Words to Make You Sound Like A Native

6. Motivational factor

Learning a new language can feel like a daunting task, especially when you’re starting from scratch. But here’s some food for thought — seeing someone who isn’t a native speaker become fluent in a second language can be a huge motivational factor. It shows us that learning a foreign language is possible, even if English is our mother tongue.

It’s a powerful reminder that with just a little bit of dedication, we too can achieve fluency in a language that initially seemed beyond our reach. So if you’re feeling intimidated by the idea of learning a new language, take heart — it’s definitely possible.

7. Cultural balance

When it comes to learning a foreign language, we often turn to native speakers for guidance. And while it’s true that they can offer valuable insights into their culture, non-native speakers shouldn’t be overlooked. In fact, they can provide a more balanced perspective since they have experience using the language both within and outside of native-speaking countries.

So, if you want to truly understand a language and its culture, it’s important to seek out diverse perspectives. Plus, learning from a non-native speaker can actually make the process of learning a new language more relatable and manageable. So, don’t be afraid to branch out. You just might be surprised by how much more you’ll gain from the experience.

8. Patience and empathy

Have you ever had a language teacher who just couldn’t seem to understand why you were struggling? Maybe they were a native speaker of the language and just couldn’t fathom why learning a foreign language was so difficult. This is where non-native teachers have a distinct advantage.

Having gone through the language-learning process themselves, they understand the struggles and frustrations that come with trying to master a new language. As a result, they are often more patient and empathetic towards their students. So, if you’re struggling with a foreign language, consider seeking out a non-native language teacher. They might just be the perfect person to help you overcome any obstacles you’re facing.

learning chinese in classroom

Related Reading: Giving Compliments In Chinese: 35 Examples

The online experience: learning Chinese from non-native speakers

Learning a foreign language used to mean shelling out big money for a tutor or enrolling in a physical class, but thanks to the internet, those days are long gone. Now, anyone with a desire to learn a new language can do so from the comfort of their own home, no matter where that home might be.

Online language platforms like Mandarin Blueprint have made this not just possible but preferable. And when it comes to learning Chinese, non-native speakers don’t have to worry about finding a native speaker as their tutor. With so many options, it’s easy to find a language teacher who also speaks your native language. So go ahead and pour yourself some hot tea, settle in front of the computer, and you’ll be speaking Chinese in no time.

learning chinese online

Accessibility and convenience

Learning a new skill has never been more accessible and convenient than it is today. With the advent of online learning, you can learn at your own pace, in your own space, without feeling rushed or pressured. If you’re a native English speaker looking to learn a foreign language, online learning makes it easy.

You can schedule classes around your personal commitments, whether that’s a full-time job or taking care of your family. Plus, you’re not limited by geography. You can learn from anywhere in the world and interact with other language learners from all corners of the globe.

With online learning, the world truly is your classroom. So why not take advantage of the convenience and accessibility of this modern approach to learning, and start mastering another language today?

Variety of learning resources

If learning a foreign language seems daunting, have no fear. With the plethora of resources available online, it’s easier than ever to learn another language. Non-native Chinese speakers can dive into video tutorials, try their hand at interactive games, connect with native speakers on chat forums, and even download language apps.

These tools complement traditional forms of learning and offer a comprehensive experience. So, whether you’re a native English speaker or not, there’s no excuse not to explore the variety of resources available to aid in your language-learning journey.

Variety of chinese learning resources

Related Reading: 15 Chinese Jokes to Crack to Your Friends

Exposure to different teaching styles

When it comes to learning a foreign language, finding a teaching style that suits your learning process is crucial. With online learning platforms, students have access to a wide range of non-native Chinese teachers, each with a unique teaching style.

This means that you can choose a teacher who speaks native English, so you can learn the language in a familiar context. Better yet, these teachers come from different cultural backgrounds, which makes learning another language much more exciting.

Whatever your learning preference may be, online language learning platforms have something for everyone. So why not explore the different teaching styles available and find the one that really clicks with you?

Personalized learning

Have you ever wanted to learn a foreign language but felt overwhelmed by the classroom experience? Fortunately, online learning offers an opportunity for personalized education — without the language barrier posed by passively absorbing information from native Chinese speakers. 

Teachers can customize online curriculums to cater to individual students, focusing on areas that they find challenging, such as grammar, vocabulary, or conversation. This new, flexible approach to language learning is a game-changer for non-native speakers, who can benefit significantly from the personalized, carefully-paced curriculum that it offers for learning another language.

Personalized chinese learning

Real-world application

Non-native Chinese teachers who have lived in China or interacted extensively with native Chinese speakers can offer valuable insights into the language and culture that textbooks simply can’t. For those planning to travel or work in China, these teachers can share real-world applications of the language, including practical communication tips and etiquette guidance.

By learning from someone who has experienced it firsthand, students can gain a deeper understanding of the language and culture they are studying. So, if you’re learning another language, consider seeking out a teacher who has lived and breathed it. Your language skills, and cultural knowledge, will thank you later.

Ignite your language-learning journey with Mandarin Blueprint

Ready to transform your language learning experience? Mandarin Blueprint makes learning Chinese fun, easy, and effective. With our native and non-native speakers guiding you, you’ll be speaking Chinese with confidence in no time. Don’t just learn Chinese, master it.

Start your journey with the Mandarin Blueprint today.

Non-native language teachers FAQs

Why should I consider learning Chinese from a non-native speaker?

Non-native speakers offer many benefits when teaching a language. They have gone through the same language learning process, giving them an understanding of common challenges and mistakes. This can be especially useful when learning Chinese, a language known for its complexity and distinctive features.

How can non-native speakers help in understanding the complexities of Chinese characters and tones?

As non-native speakers have undergone the learning process themselves, they possess explicit knowledge about the intricacies of Chinese characters and tones. This experience equips them to provide more relatable learning techniques and tools, making the learning process more accessible for language learners.

What advantages do non-native speakers bring to teaching Chinese grammar and sentence structure?

Non-native speakers have an explicit understanding of Chinese grammar rules and sentence structure. This knowledge comes from their own language acquisition journey, and it allows them to teach Chinese in a way that highlights common areas of difficulty and to explain complex grammar concepts clearly.

Can a non-native speaker effectively teach Chinese cultural nuances and contexts?

Absolutely. Non-native speakers bring a unique cultural perspective to language teaching. They understand the importance of cultural contexts in language use and can effectively communicate these nuances to students, enhancing their understanding of Chinese culture and society.

What unique challenges might I face when learning Chinese from a non-native speaker and how can I overcome them?

One challenge might be slight differences in pronunciation or usage. However, these differences can also serve as an advantage by exposing you to variations in language use. Non-native speakers can also offer effective strategies for overcoming common language learning challenges based on their own experience.

How can non-native speakers aid in preparing for Chinese proficiency tests like HSK?

Non-native speakers, having likely prepared for such exams themselves, are equipped with the knowledge of what is expected in proficiency tests like HSK. They can provide practical tips, targeted practice, and strategic study techniques to help you perform well in these examinations.

What are some tips for maximizing my learning experience when studying Chinese with a non-native speaker?

Make the most of your learning experience by communicating effectively with your teacher about your goals and difficulties, embracing the learning process, including making mistakes, and regularly practicing outside the foreign language classroom. Non-native teachers can guide you on the most effective ways to practice as they have utilized these strategies themselves.

Unlocking the future of language learning

The benefits of learning a language, particularly Chinese, from non-native speakers are surprisingly extensive and incredibly valuable. Non-native speakers bring a unique blend of experience, expertise, and empathy to the table, allowing learners to engage with the language in novel and enriching ways.

While native speakers will always play an integral role in language education, the invaluable advantages that non-native speakers offer must not be overlooked. By offering a distinctive perspective on language acquisition, they provide an enriched, balanced, and often more relatable learning experience.

Regardless of the language learning journey you embark on, remember that the ultimate goal is communication and understanding. Both native and non-native teachers can guide you toward fluency, each offering a different but equally important piece of the puzzle.

Are you inspired to embrace these unique benefits and start learning Chinese? If so, Mandarin Blueprint offers an array of courses tailored to your individual needs. With a team of highly experienced Chinese teachers, they’re committed to making your language learning journey a memorable and successful one.

So why wait? Embark on your language learning journey today and discover the joy of learning Chinese with Mandarin Blueprint. A world of new understanding awaits.

Take The Mandarin Fluency Scorecard!

Answer 12 questions to get an assessment of your current Chinese skill and a customized guide to fluency in under a minute!

  • Gauge your overall Chinese level
  • Get Results for 5 skill areas: pronunciation, reading, listening, speaking, and habit
  • Get personalized, immediately actionable advice and resources
  • Takes less than a minute