There was probably somebody famous who said, "when you can't reach your goal, change your goal to what you can reach." Now Wafa Zoghbor wants to add to that so that you also need to change your method. She proposes that aiming for an accent which retains your native language identity could be more desirable than reaching a native accent.
I have never read anything so ridiculous before. If people want to accept not reaching a native accent, that is fine but there is no need to do anything differently. They can just keep doing what they are doing and be assured that they will have a foreign accent. The article says that intelligible pronunciation is all that is necessary because of the fact that there are more non-native speakers of English than native ones.
First of all, if learners don't aim for a native accent, they will not be intelligible. Thanks to some kind of effort to work on pronunciation, learners can be understood by natives and non-natives. But just using the sounds of one's own native-language to speak English or any other foreign language is not going to produce intelligible language output.
Most of us have met somebody who may have just started learning English or only remembers a little of what they studied. Most of that beginner learner's output is not understandable. Can you imagine them just keeping that pronunciation? That's what they will likely have if they don't work on improving it and just use a lower standard as their model.
It takes time to get used to and to be able to understand some of these foreign accents. When I went to college I had a roommate from Hong Kong. When I first met him I really couldn't understand most of what he was saying. I had to learn to listen carefully while he was speaking. I think his pronunciation got better as well as my ability to understand what he was saying. At the end of the first semester (4 months) I could understand him without any problem. After 3 years of school, he went to Vancouver and worked an internship for a year. When he came back I picked him up at the airport, and BAM! I got hit with the same experience as when I first met him. I had trouble understanding what he was saying.
I haven't spoken to him for years and he has been living in Hong Kong. I wonder how his pronunciation is now.
Article link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090720083219.htm