The Native Speaker: Myth and Reality
Linguists, applied linguists and language teachers all appeal to the native speaker as an important reference point. But what exactly (who exactly?) is the native speaker? This book examines the native speaker from different points of view, arguing that the native speaker is both myth and reality.
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Terms of the Argument To be the native speaker of a language means to speak it
' from your mother ' s knee ' ( Bloomfield ) , as your mother tongue or first
language ( L1 ) . Or so it seems . As we shall see such a definition is not
Your first language is the language ( ' tongue ' ) you learned from your mother ,
biological or not . This however , is , straightforward for only a small group of
people and may reflect the monolingual nature of much anglo - centric society .
Cultural membership is ( like native speakerness ) determined by such
knowledge : equally those who feel sufficiently at ease ... This issue has created
controversy since , as Wells ( 1987 ) points out , what the mother tongue is means