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Native speaker

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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:

  1. The speaker learnt the language in childhood,
  2. mastery of idiomatic forms of the language,
  3. comprehension of regional and social variance,
  4. fluent, spontaneous production and comprehension of discourse.

Many people who hire language teachers prefer native speakers.[1]

Further reading

  • 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