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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Dec 19th, 2006, 07:19 pm
emile's Avatar
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Default Defining a native speaker

How would you define a native speaker of English?

1 A person who speaks English as their best or first language?

2 A person who comes from a country where English is the language most widely spoken?

3 other...?
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Unread Dec 20th, 2006, 07:33 am
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Default Re: Defining a native speaker

Ho ho - a hornet's nest. An area with lots of shades of grey I think. The extremes are easy, but in the middle??? My son is definitely a native speaker of Italian, but is he also a NS of English? He's never lived in an English speaking country for more than a month, but he's been brought up speaking English, and speaks fluently, and idiomatically - but with very occasional interference errors due to Italian, and probably not exactly the same as a British kid of his age would. So ....???
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Unread Dec 20th, 2006, 08:03 pm
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Default Re: Defining a native speaker

3. I define NS as having fluent or near fluent command of English.

fluent or near fluent command - define that!

Like Sue said, you can be a NS of more than one language.
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Unread Jan 2nd, 2007, 07:37 pm
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Default Re: Defining a native speaker

Quote:
I define NS as having fluent or near fluent command of English.

fluent or near fluent command - define that!

It could be defined using the IELTS or ALTE levels, but wouldn't a native speaker have perfect fluency?
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Unread Jan 3rd, 2007, 02:07 am
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Default Re: Defining a native speaker

I think it would be combination of 1 and 2. Even if you are really fluent in many (or more than 1) I think there would be one language that the speaker would "translate" from. For example; I can speak understand Chinese, however, I still translate it into English in my brain before/after I have heard/said anything. No matter how good someone is at a language, if they are still translating words/sentences from the language into their base language, then I will only go as far as to define them as Near Native Speaker. Harsh, I know, but that's just what i think.
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Unread Jan 3rd, 2007, 07:56 pm
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Default Re: Defining a native speaker

Quote:
No matter how good someone is at a language, if they are still translating words/sentences from the language into their base language, then I will only go as far as to define them as Near Native Speaker
That sounds fair to me. If you translate when you speak, you will be using English 'thought-patterns' to present Chinese sentences. In the case of Chinese, ever noticed how some students get the grammar correct but still somehow don't sound natural?
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Unread Jan 9th, 2007, 02:09 am
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Default Re: Defining a native speaker

Quote:
Quote emile
In the case of Chinese, ever noticed how some students get the grammar correct but still somehow don't sound natural?
YES!!!
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