Native speaker

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A native speaker is someone who speaks a language as his or her first language or mother tongue. Native speakers can often speak the language well since it was part of their 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 teachers of languages are native speakers of the language they teach.

Further reading[change | change source]

  • 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