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Q: Does "native English speaker" refer to a country's national or official language?

I always assumed that because "native" and "national" derive from the word "nation" that a native language is the nation's national language. However, many posts on this site seem adamant that the native language is a nation's official language.

 

Using that argument, citizens of the USA, Australia and New Zealand are not native English speakers, as English is not the official language of these countries. However, Canadians would be considered native French speakers. New Zealanders would be considered native Maori speakers and sign linguists, because they are the only official languages in New Zealand.

 

Are there any links to China's official policy on this?

10 years 36 weeks ago in  Teaching & Learning - Other cities

 
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In my opinion, compensation/salary and the like should be experienced-based and degree-based. I don't think there's something wrong with non-native speakers enjoying the same benefits like what their native colleagues enjoy.

Most non-native speakers who are teaching in China were actually in the teaching field in their own respective countries. They have undergone proper  teaching tranings, are well-versed in classroom management and such. Plus, they also have the same job-title, duties and workload. Sometimes the company expect more from them too. 

 

If this was a better place, they would've been enjoying  the same benefits like their native-speaker chum have. 

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10 years 24 weeks ago
 
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wow i (american) am not a native speaker. native speaker means your native language your primary if not only language you use to communicate with. 

 

you are talking to the wrong group by the way, if you want china to give non-native speakers the same consideration as native speakers, we as native speakers do not decide that or have any influence in that decision. 

crimochina:

if you were a native speaker you would know that "native speaker " and "official/ national language" mean 2 different things

10 years 36 weeks ago
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10 years 36 weeks ago
 
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If you wernt born in the UK how can you be a native speaker.....we talk the queens English not American slang

Traveler:

So Australia, Canada and New Zealand are OK, because they have the same Queen? Maybe the Americans should get special consideration, because England used to own them as well.

10 years 36 weeks ago
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mrpopular:

If you call Australian and the rest native speakers you might as well give up with some of the accents ive heard and the blacks are even worse they speak english but cant pronounce when they say axx they mean ask and they think they are right

10 years 36 weeks ago
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lchickman:

No, "the blacks" know how to properly say "ask"; some INDIVIDUALS may not. Just as YOU obviously struggle with writing correct English but not all of "the whites" do. You are missing a few apostrophes, capital letters and some punctuation in that ignorant bit you just wrote. Guess it's not only "the blacks" who struggle with proper English, huh?

10 years 36 weeks ago
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mrpopular:

so who made you '' God '' who gives a crap about caps and the rest this is just a stupid chat i can assure you if it was more than that i could proberbly teach you correct English get a life know all

10 years 36 weeks ago
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lchickman:

Oh so you can talk about "the blacks" saying "axx" but when someone points out your mistakes you throw a tantrum? Hahahaha. The only thing you could "proberbly" teach me about English is how to speak it poorly and incorrectly. Which "queen's English" are you speaking? Queen Latifah? Psh get serious.

10 years 36 weeks ago
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Traveler:

Ichickman. Nobody is saying that either whites or blacks speak better English. However, it is generally recognised that all languages have different dialects, and this is also true with English. A legal case in Michigan quite some time ago established that Black English Vernacular (BEV) is a different dialect than Standard English, and that Standard English was a second language for BEV speakers. This was a case taken by a black person to get equal rights in education in the USA. The findings in this case have been supported by many academic studies, including the most famous study by Eades in 1993. Most significant was the studies by Anderson and colleagues at the University of the Virgin Island, about Creole dialects. These later led to the UN declaring many BEVs as separate languages from Standard English. When I worked on Aboriginal communities in Australia, the community leaders required that we have TESL certificates or equivalent to teach there. I believe the same is true in many countries where multiple English Vernaculars are the mother tongues in local areas.

10 years 36 weeks ago
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lchickman:

What do you mean no one is saying one is worse or better? Mrpopular clearly said "the blacks are the worst" or am I reading things incorrectly?

10 years 36 weeks ago
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Traveler:

Ichickman: I don't think he was being serious, or if he was, he can't be taken seriously, so it doesn't count. Britain has a multitude of localised accents, many unintelligible, so he is obviously joking or delusional. The Australian accent, incidentally, is basically the same in all parts of Australia, except on some Aboriginal and remote communities. Anyway, your arguments are much more interesting.

10 years 36 weeks ago
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mattaya:

The queens English? What happened to the king...America has more English native speakers.

10 years 24 weeks ago
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10 years 36 weeks ago
 
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@crimochina: The first sentence makes sense; that it is the primary language one uses to communicate with. But then saying the official and national languages are the same thing seems to contradict that. Maybe I misunderstood.

 

My confusion lies with the fact that many people who struggle with English claim they are native English speakers because English is an official language of their country. I am trying to find out if that has any validity.

 

I am also not sure what you mean that I am talking to the wrong group. I asked a question in a question forum. Is that wrong? What group should I be talking to?

 

Also, not sure where you got the idea I wanted non-native speakers to be given the same consideration as native English speakers. The opposite is actually the case.

PrettyNyssa:

In my opinion, compensation/salary and the like should be experienced-based and degree-based. I don't think there's something wrong with non-native speakers enjoying the same benefits like what their native colleagues enjoy. Most non-native speakers who are teaching in China were actually in the teaching field in their own respective countries. They have undgone proper teaching tranings, are well-versed in classroom management and such. Plus, they also have the same job-title, duties and workload. Sometimes the company expect more from them too. If this was a better place, they would've been enjoying the same benefits like their native-speaker chum have.

10 years 24 weeks ago
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10 years 36 weeks ago
 
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You have a point but have the idea of a political nation and the word native confused, Yes if we look at New Zealand in the sense of the word native (pertaining to the land of origin) then we can say Maori would be the official language.

 

BUT if we look at New Zealand in the scope of the word NATIONAL then we can definitely say English is the NATIONAL language.

 

Because native does not equate to national, as anyone fron north america or australia could tell you, that the natives in their country do not and never will fall within the idea of a Political NATION.

 

Alot of countries whose colonists came to be in power , usually try to avoid this confusion by having two official languages. I can hink of exceptions though.

Traveler:

That seems a good point. If the colonists are still in power, then it is the national language. But what about countries that have no official language, like USA. There are moves at present to change the US Constitution, so English is the official language by law. There we have a distinction between national language and official language. But I am still unsure whether that allows English to be the native language. As I recall, it was colonised by many countries, but none of them are now in power. In Australia, New Zealand and Canada, there are still colonial ties to England, but not in the USA. The term "Native English Speaking Country" might be a misnomer. Perhaps they meant "countries where English is recognised as the de facto language."

10 years 36 weeks ago
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Straw_ManNz:

Well USA a barrel of monkeys there , i can't say what should of been their official language, I do think english had as much a role in forming the nation as did many other of the continentals.

10 years 36 weeks ago
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To me (and feel free to disagree), a "native speaker" on any language is the language learned from your crib.  Take my case (and I am shooting myself on both feet), I am first generation Southern American (commonly known as Coonass).  My parents emigrated in their youth from Spain to Louisiana, USA, and I was born there.  At home, my parents spoke Castillian (correct name for "Spanish"), and I learned it at birth.  Actually learned English (or Southern Drawl) at age 3 when allowed to play outside with playmates (in less thyan 6 months).

Now, the way I understand it, I am a native Spanish speaker, but since born in USA, I am consider a native English speaker with Castillian (Spanish) as seco0nd language. 

Opps, I better go fly a kite !

Straw_ManNz:

Perhaps the word NATIVE needs more clarification/distinction?

10 years 36 weeks ago
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I agree with you Happyextpat, since "native" means "by birth", it actually means the first language you learned after your birth, and it doesn't have anything to do with a notion of nation... though both "native" and "nation" originate from the same word.

You can be born in Russia and be a native english speaker, or just as you, born in the USA , born in the USAAAAAA.... and be a non-native speaker.

All this talk is just semantics and is not going anywhere

Traveler:

As far as I am aware, English is neither the national or an official language in Russia. Russia has no current political allegiance to England, as far as I know. I don't see how it's citizens could claim to be native English speakers. Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps you could explain it. By the way, I was born in Australia, not the USA, and English is my first language. Real English, with proper spelling.

10 years 36 weeks ago
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kikoya:

Native doesn't go with nationality or place of birth. It's just the language you have first learned. The example with Russia, is that you could be born there from english parents, or even from english-born parents with russian nationality and still be a native english speaker.

10 years 36 weeks ago
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kikoya:

And I never meant EVERY russian citizen, try to understand what you read

10 years 36 weeks ago
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crimochina:

kikoya you are wasting your time native speakers know that "native " speaker is not tied to a country's national language or official language. but some people will never realize that,, i have come across too many non-native speakers who are too sure of their english and would never take correction from native speakers

10 years 36 weeks ago
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Okay, really i think it's like this, some people need to understand the word native as been said from an English /commonwealth (early)colonists pont of view.

 

When they use the word native and national language,they know clearly what connotation each word has attatched. 

They might not say it so as to be PC but native is a native and national language is the language you speak from the nation you identify with.

In today's common usage i wouldn't say "i am a native of, such and such western country"

even though it's correct the mere statement has two conotations where i come from, mingbai le?

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As far as I am concerned, all these craps on native English speakers are cropped out from commercial business people. In that way, one would pay more for the langauge services. All these craps about cultural & langauge perfection, ask yourself, for what purpose? If really so, send the learners overseas for immersion etc. It's a Chinese way of showing off too - to be able to slang & have a native accent. Notice how most Shanghainese look down upon their fellow Dongbei ren (northen folks) for their English accent even though most of the northerners fare better in English?

 

In the first place, most Chinese do not know English , yet will tell you how they want their children or themselves to be taught.  Frankly. the only thing a person who can teach himself/herself and others to do is how to wank!

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Well, the Chinese word, "muyu', literally means "mother language". "Mother tongue" is another, and "cradle tongue" was popular in the olden days, as was "the language learned at one's mother's feet."

 

 

"Nation" and "native" are both derived from the Latin word for birth, and are generally used to describe an ethnic group regardless of political status (the First Nations in Canada, the Basque Nation, the Catalonian Nation, etc). A people sharing a common history, language, and customs would be an older generation's definition.

 

kchur:

Come to think of it, colonization makes the native thing a bit confusion (someone can mean native to mean "local" or "aboriginal"). Still, this is the first time I've heard "native" lawyered that way. I'd suggest the term "mother tongue". Sounds a lot nicer.

10 years 36 weeks ago
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There have been a lot of people's personal opinions about what a native speaker is, but not what China means by a native English speaker, or who qualifies as a native speaker for employment purposes. I think "people sharing a common history, language and customs" seems to be the most logical, and perhaps official language has absolutly nothing whatsoever to do with it.

 

That would seem to negate many non-native speakers claims that, because English is one of their country's official languages, they are native speakers. Perhaps native speakers are those that have language and cultural commonalities to the original native speaking country, England.

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From what I have seen, native speaker is usually inferred to mean a citizen of one of the Big 5 countries, with a passport from that country, whose native language, or the language spoken most commonly at home and in school, was English.  It is one of the selection criteria that is in place.  As much as I have tried, I have been unable to persuade my school that there are a good number of persons from the Republic of South Africa who are native speakers and even though I have seen stellar candidates from that country, the school won't touch them.  Additionally, Ireland, for some reason, falls into a gray area, of neither yes nor no.  The school recently hired a person from Northern Ireland and told me that it was he was a British passport holder, that it was OK.

It's just amazing in a very bizarre way.

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10 years 24 weeks ago
 
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It's a subtle way of them saying: WE ONLY WANT CAUCASIAN TEACHERS! frown

981977405:

You got the point for sure. I just didn't want to be so blatantly direct.

10 years 24 weeks ago
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981977405:

You got the point for sure. I just didn't want to be so blatantly direct.

10 years 24 weeks ago
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kchur:

I can't believe there are still "whites only" jobs ads in 2012. And I x100 can't believe that they're not being posted by white people.

10 years 24 weeks ago
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PrettyNyssa:

I don't think the students actually care (Caucasians or not) as long as they are really learning something from the class/ enjoying I think it's a propaganda made by the people who run the school.

10 years 24 weeks ago
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10 years 24 weeks ago
 
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In my opinion, compensation/salary and the like should be experienced-based and degree-based. I don't think there's something wrong with non-native speakers enjoying the same benefits like what their native colleagues enjoy.

Most non-native speakers who are teaching in China were actually in the teaching field in their own respective countries. They have undergone proper  teaching tranings, are well-versed in classroom management and such. Plus, they also have the same job-title, duties and workload. Sometimes the company expect more from them too. 

 

If this was a better place, they would've been enjoying  the same benefits like their native-speaker chum have. 

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10 years 24 weeks ago
 
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I know here NO NATIVE speaking NATIONAL language

more correct than the proper native ones.......

 

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9 years 36 weeks ago
 
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You can be native Canadian and not speak a word of French or be a US national and speak broken English. It means are you white, are you white enough (not "ethnic" looking) and lastly do you speak the language properly and know the culture of an immigration country as so much of the English teachers job is acting as a cultural interpreter. 

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Quite interesting the answers i see here. many valid points. Here's my two cents.

Native English speaker certainly refers to someone who was born and grew up speaking English language as their first langauge usually this follows the country's National Language where they were born.

 

However, in Asia especially, this term is not widely accepted. it is believed that only WHITE American, British Canadian and South African people are Native speakers of English.

 

When in reality many African countries are former colonies of Britain and English is their Native Lanauge.

 

Now what does that mean? Everything from all levels of Education, Media, written or Broadcast is in English and this is what they have spoken since Birth.

 

This does not mean that there are not other langages or dialects, as with most countries.

 

 

Note: Many Asians due to lack of exposure often do not understand that Native speakers of English language have different accents. 

 

America has over 10 differnt accents of English languge spoken around the country.

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According to the Chinese policies, you are considered a Native English speaker if you have a passport from a designated list of countries. It isn't really about whether you are a native English speaker in the sense of it being the first language you learned.

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"native speaker" is a pure marketing in China has nothing to deal with quality

Stiggs:

It's not a marketing thing. If they're abiding by the law schools don't get to choose whether or not their foreign teachers are native speakers, it's a government requirement.

 

If you see the English ability of some of the non-native speakers who are hired to teach English it's obvious they should never be teaching English, they certainly aren't there legally in most cases. By hiring teachers from the 'native speaking' countries schools and the government can at least be sure their English is fluent and their accent more or less understandable.

 

That's not to say that some non-native speakers don't speak excellent English, some do but there would be no way to individually assess each potential teacher's ability so they go with the native speaker system.

1 week 4 days ago
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Very simple. China has a defined list of what is considered "native" speaking countries for work permit applications.

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