Article published in:EUROSLA Yearbook: Volume 1 (2001)
Edited by Susan H. Foster-Cohen and Anna Nizegorodcew
[EUROSLA Yearbook 1] 2001
► pp. 275–286
Reinventing the native speaker
or ‘What you never wanted to know about the native speaker so never dared to ask.’
Precise definition of the term, ‘native speaker’, is extremely difficult and therefore usually avoided even though the concept is vital in SLA as in many other domains dealing with language ability. Most researchers rely on the assumption that there is a common understanding of what a native-speaker is. However, the requirements of scientific rigour make a close examination of this ‘common understanding’ an absolute necessity. We argue that reformulating the concept along the lines first suggested by Eleanor Rosch, i.e. using prototype theory, should provide the best way of introducing the necessary precision. This has the consequence that native-speakerhood becomes a gradient term with, respectively, core (prototypical) and peripheral features. This allows researchers to be more precise about what they, or the particular theoretical approach they adopt, claim to be the essential and non-essential features of nativeness and the necessary rigour is thereby achieved.
Published online: 31 August 2001
Cited by 7 other publications
No author info given
Hulstijn, Jan H.
Liddicoat, Anthony J.
Menke, Mandy R. & Paul A. Malovrh
Mulder, Kimberley & Jan H. Hulstijn
Simon, Ellen & Miriam Taverniers
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