Created by Dr. Jamil A. 9 replies
Native and Non-native speakers. I understand the frustration that many of you are going through with this business of being native as compared to non-native. Well, I hope I can add some clarity to the situation. If you were not born and raised in a country where the only medium of speaking is and has always been the English Language then you can not expect to be considered a native speaker. For example, many of my friends from Ghana speak English very well,as well as another native language that they speak also. In America, we only have English no other language is there for us to know or learn. Now some people want to say, "what about the way the Black Americans talk"? Ok is it not still English words just given the meaning that they want
It's the grammar. If English is not a first language, people usually have trouble with the singular and plural, tenses, plus nouns, verbs and adjectives. In today’s western world the emphasis is on meaning and diversity, where even ‘text speak’ is acceptable. Conversely, in much of the rest of the world it’s formal English, as in English literature. I also think a major problem is many of the younger generation of whatever colour, have such a poor western education, that many in interviews sound as if they’re on Facebook!
Others will say its racism, but specifically in Asia where there are no minority quotas or racism laws, westerners have to abide by the preferences of the host recruiters and not compare it to their own ideals.
Formal dress, polite manners and respect for authority will open many doors in Asia, yet those are attributes sadly lacking in many young westerners and has nothing to do with colour. Perhaps that’s just my age showing though :)
Stephen Njoke M.
Dr Jamil you could be right but I am gonna ask you to justify the cases of Wales where Welsh is the native language and Ireland (Northern I think) which has its own native Celtic language.These languages are used in public life out there and you can even detect the impact of these languages when a Welsh or Irish speaks English.For example Police in Ireland is known as Garda.
Secondly most young people in some former British colonies in Africa do not know any other language than English.I can agree with differences in accent which is just an aspect of geography.
It is a fallacy to say "African Americans" as if that is the norm for all speakers in the United States. There are many differences in geographic dialects even in the United States among all races. Most African Americans in Alaska, where I lived, speak very proper and without use of any slang. In the south, you will find slang and dialects used by both White and Black Americans. So, I will leave you with the following quote I came across while researching language diversity. Hudson (1996) writes, “…a Briton and an American could watch the same American film, but learn quite different facts from it about language-what for the American viewer counts as a new fact about how poor Whites in the Deep South talk might count for the Briton simply as a new fact about how Americans talk” (p. 11). Sociolinguistic differences does occur based on how one’s society uses language.
I am reminded of the antidote of a South Korean teacher during the English craze of the early 2000 years in Korea. He claimed he knew a very intelligent French Canadian who was hired by EPIK. Her English was so poor and heavily accented that it warped the EPIK standards of 'Native English Speaker." I am also reminded of the Dutch descended South Africans who are admonished by their academy employers to sound more American! Ha ha. Anyway, I think the Quebec Lady story must be false- or at least could not happen now- as EPIK in South Korea does live skype interviews.
I see this as mere discrimination. It is actually out of contest to say that because someone is from Ghana so the person cannot teach English language. I know many of them that speak and write better English than many of the so called Native speakers. it is really not fair and if something can be done about it, its cool.
As a woman stated later in the thread, America and African English contain many dialects. I dislike how many people from Africa will point to African-American's flaws as a means to say we are better than this group. I'm an African-American who comes from a working class Southern family and I have held a job in ESL for five years and I speak Standard American English. I think we need to address the bias against African-Americans by Africans. Where I come from Africans often want to be associated with other Immigrants because of the overwhelming perception that American Black is lazy that has been push forward in the media. This seems to be bleeding into your perception of African-American and their ability as speakers and teachers. Moreover, just as you may not use the same dialect when speaking with family and friends as when you are working, this is something many African-American do, it is called code switching. Instead of doing the classical technique of pulling down one group to make y our group look better let's have constructive discussion and attempt to uplift each other.
Could not agree more with Kimberly Watts and Jacob Mccall, avoiding overgeneralization and assumptions around the English language and its vast dialects, especially for an ESL teacher is part and parcel of knowledge sharing.
South Africa has other native and indegenous languages,yet they are regarded as Native English speaking country, America also speak lot of Spanish,, well ,, British colonies like Ghana uses English as the main medium of instruction in all schools.
The official language of Ghana and many other African countries is English and therefore they are no different than Americans or Canadians etc......... They were all former British colonies. The British and Irish are the only native speakers of English because the word native means exactly that. The origins of the language.
Unfortunately people these days use the word native speaker to classify people from North America, Australia and New Zealand etc............ which is incorrect.
If you are a native Indian (as they are called) then you are from North America and your origins are from there. americans today either white or black are not native Americans because they are not from there. they were born there and grew up there but are not native.