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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

NS vs NNS: From EFL students' point of view

Discuss the basic division between native speakers and non-native speakers of English and why has it become so controversial.

The following are excerpts from students' Essay test:

From Ingrid
The division between native and non-native English speakers is based on whether it is their first language or their mother tongue. We used to use regions to decide whether a person is a native speaker. If a person is born in countries such as US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, then we usually consider he or she a native speaker. However, because of the large amount of immigrnats, there are large amount of ESL speakers appear in those Inner circle countries. Now, the controversy is the standards of distinguishing nagtive and non-native English. "Competence" in English becomes the considering division instead of accent and region, and many non-native speakers schieve the competence of native speakers or they even know more English vocabulary and grammar than those native speakers. This makes the division of NS and NNS so controversial because English is so widely used and the standard English differs from regions and places. The amount of ESL and EFL speakers are increasing and many of their English competence are considered better than some of the ENL speakers. Therefore, it is really hard to tell whether a person is native or non-native speaker by regions, accents, and countries. English has become an international language and from the phenomenon of code switching and code-mixing, we can see Englsih has been developed into many different kinds. The standard English does not only mean English used by native speakers, and the division of native and non-native English has become vague and without clear divisions, and that's why we said it has become controversial.

From Aaron
The basic division of native speakers and non-native speakers conventionally would be whether the person is born and raised in a English-speaking country. However, to define 'standrad' English is not an easy task in a highly globalized world today. That's when schools of genetic division, geographical and division ofn circles come up. The reason why it has become so controversial is because some ESL countries is 'standardizing' their English, and the proficiency of non-native speakers has become better than those who 'own' English.

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