The Native Speaker: An Achievable Model?

| June 29, 2005
The Native Speaker: An Achievable Model?

Keywords: Native speaker model, communicative competence, competent language user

Joseph J. Lee
San Francisco State University

Bio Data
Joseph J. Lee taught ESOL for six years in South Korea before returning to the U.S. to do graduate studies. He is currently in the M.A. English: TESOL program at San Francisco State University.

In this more mobile and globalized world, the concept of what it means to be a native speaker of a language is becoming ever more difficult to define, especially in regards to English. In recent developments in second language acquisition and language teaching, this concept has been the focus of attention for numerous scholars (e.g. Davies, 1991; Medgyes, 1992; Phillipson, 1992) to get a better understanding of this concept, and, perhaps, to reevaluate and revise the “native speaker model” in the field of language teaching. In this article, the definition of the native speaker is explored based on the works of various scholars who have investigated this concept. Based on the findings of what it takes to be a native speaker, the issue of whether the native speaker model is the appropriate model in language teaching is discussed.

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 7 Issue 2