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A native speaker is someone who learned to speak a language as part of his or her childhood development. A native speaker's language is usually the language their parents speak and/or the language of their country of origin. It is the only language of a monolingual person, and likely the first language of a multilingual person which is acquired naturally in their native environment. It may serve as the basis for their sociolinguistic identity.
A native speaker of a language has the following traits:
- The speaker learnt the language in childhood,
- mastery of idiomatic forms of the language,
- comprehension of regional and social variance,
- fluent, spontaneous production and comprehension of discourse.
Many people who hire language teachers prefer native speakers.
- Davies, A. (2004). The native speaker in applied linguistics. In A.Davies & C. Elder (Eds.), The handbook of applied linguistics (pp. 431-450). Oxford, UK: Blackwell