David Recine

Speaking English Confidently: European and Latin American Accents

Confidence is a very important second language skill. Feelings of confidence can come easily when you speak in your native language, of course. But in your second language, you’ll always be a little bit out of your comfort zone. English speech that lacks confidence is harder to understand, and harder to listen to.

In this series of posts, I’ve explored examples of confident yet foreign-accented speech on TED.com, home to the famous TED Talks—a series of English language speeches given by people from around the world. Previous posts have looked at speakers with Asian accents, Middle Eastern accents, and accented speakers from Sub-Saharan Africa.

In this fourth post in the series, let’s take a look at some wonderful speeches given in English by non-native speakers from Latin America and Europe. If you’re from one of these two regions, you probably know why I’m looking at both of these parts of the world in one post. European languages are spoken very widely in Latin America, although the accents can be a bit different.

European and Latin American Magooshers can look to the posts below for inspiration—you really can speak confidently with your foreign accent. These TED Talks prove that non-native English speakers can speak just as smoothly and effectively as native English speakers. In fact, the speakers below are probably more well-spoken than the average native English speaker. And the things they have to say are fascinating. Enjoy!

Our Unhealthy Obsession with Choice (Renata Salecl—Slovenian accented English)

The direct TED link to Renata’s speech includes a transcript.


Practice for your TOEFL exam with Magoosh.

The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen (Hans Rosling, Swedish speaker of English)

See Mr. Rosling’s fully transcripted presentation here.


Architecture at Home in Its Community (Xavier Vilalta, native Spanish speaker from Spain)

Go here for a transcript of Xavier’s speech.


Why Busses Represent Democracy in Action (Enrique Peñalosa, native Spanish speaker from Colombia)

Peñalosa’s speech includes an interactive transcript, when viewed directly on the TED website.


The Silent Drama of Photogaraphy (Sebastião Salgado, speaking English in a Brazilian accent)

See Dr. Salgado’s speech with a complete transcript here.


  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he’s helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master’s Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he’s presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

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