Should L2 learners aim to speak like native speakers?
Do native speakers make better language teachers than non-native speakers?
What kind of role do non-native speakers have in the coursebook you are most familiar with? Powerful successful people? Or ignorant tourists and near-beginner students?
Defining the native speaker
Oxford Companion to the English Language (McArthur, 1992)—‘a person who has spoken a certain language since early childhood’
(i) subconscious knowledge of rules,
(ii) intuitive grasp of meanings,
(iii) ability to communicate within social settings,
(iv) range of language skills and
(v) creativity of language use;
(vi) identification with a language community;
(vii) the ability to produce fluent discourse,
(viii) to know differences between their own speech and that of the ‘standard’ form of the language,
(ix) ‘to interpret and translate into the L1 of which she or he is a native speaker’.
1. Implicit status of the native speaker
The native speaker in SLA research
James (1998, p.2) fossilisation and errors in L2 users’ speech add up ‘to failure to achieve native-speaker competence, since in Chomsky’s words, native speakers (NSs) are people who know their language perfectly’
The native speaker in language teaching
Kramsch (1998, p.28): ‘Traditional methodologies based on the native speaker usually define language learners in terms of what they are not, or at least not yet’.
2. Differences between L2 users and monolingual native speakers
Nature of the L2 knowledge of L2 users
Nature of the L1 knowledge of L2 users
The processing of language by L2 users
Different thought processes of L2 users
3. L2 difference or deficit?
Halliday (1968, p.165): ‘A speaker who is made ashamed of his own language habits suffers a basic injury as a human being: to make anyone, especially a child, feel so ashamed is as indefensible as to make him feel ashamed of the color of his skin’.
4. Consequences for foreign language teaching
Use of L2 user language
Use of L2 user situations
Use of L2–based descriptions
Use of teaching methods that acknowledge the students’ L1 (continued next week)
Cook, V.J. (1999), ‘Going beyond the native speaker in language teaching’, TESOL Quarterly, 33, 2, 185-209
Davies, A. (1996). Proficiency or the native speaker: what are we trying to achieve in ELT? In Cook, G. & Seidlhofer, B. (eds.), Principle and Practice in Applied Linguistics (pp. 145-157). Oxford: OUP
Firth, A. & Wagner, J. (1997). On discourse, communication, and (some) fundamental concepts in SLA research. Modern Language Journal, 81, 285-300
Kramsch, C. (1998). The privilege of the intercultural speaker. In Byram, M. & Fleming, M. (Eds.), Language Learning in Intercultural Perspective, (pp.16-31), Cambridge: CUP
Rampton, M.B.H. (1990). Displacing the "native speaker": expertise, affiliation and inheritance. ELT Journal, 44/2, 338-43
1999 Cook Paper Draft paper on Native speaker
1997 Cook paper on the Native Speaker bias in SLA methodology
Set A quotations (adapted!)
‘It is common for women to fail to acquire men’s language fully'.
'The lack of general guaranteed success is the most striking characteristic of women’s language learning'.
'Unfortunately, language mastery is not often the outcome of women’s language learning'.
‘failure to achieve male competence, since in Chomsky’s words, male speakers (NSs) are people who know their language'
‘Very few women appear to be fully successful in the way men are’.
‘Women often failed initially to produce correct sentences and instead displayed language that was markedly deviant from men’s norms’
Set B quotations (genuine)
'In L2 acquisition, on the other hand, it is common for the learner to fail to acquire the target language fully'. White (1989, p.41)
'The lack of general guaranteed success is the most striking characteristic of adult foreign language learning'. Bley-Vroman (1989, 43)
‘failure to achieve native-speaker competence, since in Chomsky’s words, native speakers (NSs) are people who know their language perfectly’ (James, 1998, p.2).
'failure to acquire the target language grammar is typical'. Birdsong (1992, p.706)
‘Very few L2 learners appear to be fully successful in the way that native speakers are’. Towell & Hawkins (1994, p.14)
‘learners often failed initially to produce correct sentences and instead displayed language that was markedly deviant from target language norms’. Ellis (1994, p.15)