Добавил:
Upload Опубликованный материал нарушает ваши авторские права? Сообщите нам.
Вуз: Предмет: Файл:

Native Speaker

.pdf
Скачиваний:
13
Добавлен:
15.04.2015
Размер:
965.05 Кб
Скачать

Conclusion

211

individual’s capacity are likely to stem from a dispute about the Standard or (standard) Language.

An L2 Native Speaker?

To what extent can the L2 learner become a target-language native speaker? We will consider this question in relation to L2 learners in general. Let us again consider the six criteria:

(1)Childhood acquisition: No, the second-language learner, by our own definition, does not acquire the target language in early childhood. As I have noted, if s/he does then s/he is a native speaker of both L1 and the target language (TL) or in his/her case of L1x and L1y.

(2)Intuitions about idiolectal grammar (Grammar 1): Yes, it must be possible, with sufficient contact and practice for the second-language learner to gain access to intuitions about his/her own Grammar 1 of the target language (although, as I will show, this makes an important assumption about criterion 1, childhood acquisition).

(3)Intuitions about group language grammar (Grammar 2): Yes again, with sufficient contact and practice the second-language learner can gain access to the Grammar 2 of the target language. Indeed in many formal learning situations it is exactly through exposure to a TL Grammar 2 that the TL Grammar 1 would emerge, the reverse of the L1 development.

(4)Discourse and pragmatic control: Yes, this may indeed be a descriptive difference between a native speaker and a non-native speaker but it is not in any way explanatory: that is to say it in no way argues that a second-language learner cannot become a native speaker.

(5)Creative performance: Yes again, with practice it must be possible for a second-language learner to become an accepted creative writer in the TL. There are, of course, well-known examples of such cases – Conrad, Becket, Senghor, Narayan – but there is also the interesting problem of the acceptability to the L1 community of the secondlanguage learner’s creative writing; this is an attitudinal question but so too is the question of the acceptability to the same community of a creative writer writing not in the Standard Language but in a (standard) language.

(6)Interpreting and translating: Yes again, this must be possible although international organisations generally require that interpreters should interpret into their L1. (It remains of course unclear what judgements

212

The Native Speaker: Myth and Reality

are made of an applicant for an interpreter’s post; no doubt proficiency tests are carried out but it would be difficult to deny a claim of an applicant that s/he is a native speaker.)

All except (1) are contingent issues. In this way the question ‘Can a second language learner become a native speaker of a target language?’ reduces to ‘Is it necessary to acquire a code in early childhood in order to be a native speaker of that code?’. Now the answer to this question, and this is where the circularity lies, is to ask a further question, what is it that the child acquires in acquiring his/her L1? But I have already answered that question in my previous criteria (2)–(6), and so the question again becomes a contingent one. But we do need, in (2) and (3), to ensure a cultural dimension since the child L1 acquirer does have access to the resources of the culture attached to the language and particularly to those learnt and encoded or even imprinted early. Still, having said that, what of subcultural differences between, for example, the Scots and the English; of different cultures with the same Standard language (for example the Swiss, the Austrians, the West Germans and the East Germans); or of different cultures with different Standard languages (for example the British and the American)? What too of International English or, as I prefer, English as an International Language or of English as a lingua franca?

Given the interlingual differences and the lack of agreement and norms that certainly occur among such groups it does appear that the secondlanguage learner has a difficult but not an impossible task to become a native speaker of a target language which can contain such wide diversities. The answer to the question of L2 learners evolving into native speakers of the target language must therefore be ‘Yes’: but the practice required, given the model of the child L1 acquirer who for five to six years spends much of his/her time learning language alone, is so great that it is not likely that many second-language learners become native speakers of their target language. The analogy that occurs to me here is that of music where it is possible to become a concert performer after a late start but the reality is that few do. The more exact analogy of learning to play the piano as a child and switching to, say, the cello later on is common and is not the relevant comparison I wish to make.

In discussing judgements about language, I referred to Coppieters’ (1987) results which indicate that the confirmed difference native speaker– non-native speaker repeats the elaborated–restricted code difference which Bernstein (1971–5) reported. For in exactly the same way what holds back the non-native speaker (like the speaker of a restricted code) is the early acquired generalising capacity.

Conclusion

213

I concluded that it is difficult for an adult non-native speaker to become a native speaker of a second language precisely because I define a native speaker as a person who has early acquired the language. However, the limitations imposed by the later acquisition, when it is very successful, are likely to be psycholinguistic rather than sociolinguistic. The adult nonnative speaker can acquire the communicative competence of the native speaker; s/he can acquire the confidence necessary to membership. What is more difficult is to gain the speed and the certainty of knowledge relevant to judgements of grammaticality. But as with all questions of boundaries (for the native speaker is a boundary that excludes) there are major language differences among native speakers. Native speakers may be prepared to make judgements quickly about grammaticality but they do not necessarily agree with one another. And so I am left asking to what extent it matters. If a non-native speaker wishes to pass as a native speaker and is so accepted then it is surely irrelevant if s/he shows differences on more and more refined tests of grammaticality. This may be of interest psycholinguistically but for applied linguistic purposes I maintain that it is unimportant.

For the distinction native speaker–non-native speaker, like all majority– minority power relations, is at bottom one of confidence and identity. What this means, as Tajfel (1981) points out, is that we define minorities negatively against majorities which themselves we may not be able to define. To be a native speaker means not being a non-native speaker. Even if I cannot define a native speaker I can define a non-native speaker negatively as someone who is not regarded by him/herself or by native speakers as a native speaker. It is in this sense only that the native speaker is not a myth, the sense that gives reality to feelings of confidence and identity. They are real enough even if on analysis the native speaker is seen to be an emperor without any clothes.

The differing positions of the psycho and the socio (as we saw in Chapter 9) are probably irreconcilable. For the psycho no test is ever sufficient to demonstrate conclusively that native speaker and non-native speaker are discrete: when non-native speakers have been shown to perform as well as a native speaker on a test, the cry goes up for yet another test. For the socio there is always another (more) exceptional learner who will, when found, demonstrate that (exceptional) non-native speakers can be equated to native speakers on ultimate attainment. The problem is that we cannot distinguish the non-native speaker from the native speaker except by autobiography. So Cook (1999b) is right. But he is also wrong, very wrong. Making the cut by biography shows only some problems and hides away the exceptions, the bilinguals, the movers away, the disabled

214

The Native Speaker: Myth and Reality

intellectually, the exceptional learners. The fact is that mother tongue is not gender, it is not a given from the womb. It is, classically, social, just as culture is. We cannot distinguish them because our premises are inherently flawed, as Hyltenstam and Abrahamsson (2000) point out.

Our searches for the native speaker have returned, again and again, to the question of the standard language. If British English, Singapore English or indeed English as an International Language can claim to be standard languages, then it makes sense to regard a speaker of one of those codes as a native speaker. The debate about the native speaker will go on. In this debate it will continue to be necessary to distinguish between the two senses of native speaker, the flesh and blood and the ideal, the reality and the myth.; and if others choose to problematise, as I have, the flesh-and- blood native speaker, I believe they will still have a use for the ideal. That indeed is a myth but a useful myth.

In addition to the mythic or idealised definition of native speaker, that product of the homogenised, error-free linguistic Eden, there are different flesh-and-blood or reality definitions. They include:

(1)native speaker by birth (that is by early childhood exposure),

(2)native speaker (or native speaker-like) by being an exceptional learner,

(3)native speaker through education using the target-language medium (the lingua franca case),

(4)native speaker by virtue of being a native user (the post-colonial case) and

(5)native speaker through long residence in the adopted country.

It is clear that definitions (2)–(5) are all ways of compensating for not being definition 1. But they are not parasitic on 1. Indeed they help clarify what it is that (1) means and they challenge us to specify what it is in functional terms they lack that (1) has.

Relevance to Applied Linguistics

An area in which applied linguistics has been attentive to particular nonnative speaker needs in recent years has been that of International English (Kachru, 1985; Smith, 1983; Davies, 1989a). The question which arises for applied linguistics is whether International English means a special variety of English with its own norms which are distinct from any national official standard English, or whether it means a use of English in a number of international conferences, settings, for example the United Nations, academic conferences, trade missions, business negotiations. My own view is

Conclusion

215

that International English usually means using one or the other Standard English in international settings. Therefore, from an applied linguistic point of view it is appropriate to designate the activity as English as an International Language rather than as International English. The emphasis is then firmly put on the use of English and not on its separate language form.

Summary

In this chapter I brought together my arguments on who the native speaker is and noted that all characteristics except that of early childhood exposure are contingent ones. I considered the extent to which the contingent characteristics can be acquired without the substantive early exposure and concluded that it is possible but difficult and rare. I have argued that it is in judgement data that the most intractable differences between native and non-native speakers are to be found. I now end by concluding that the fundamental opposition is one of power and that in the event membership is determined by the non-native speaker’s assumption of confidence and of identity.

Appendix

J.R. Ross (1979), Grammaticality Sentences

1.Under no circumstances would I accept that offer

2.Nobody who I get along with is here who I want to talk to

3.We don’t believe the claim that Jimson ever had any money

4.The fact he wasn’t in the store shouldn’t be forgotten

5.What will the grandfather clock stand between the bed and?

6.I urge that anything he touch be burned

7.All the further we got was to Sudbury

8.That is a frequently talked about proposal

9.Nobody is here who I get along with who I want to talk to

10.The doctor is sure that there will be no problems

11.The idea he wasn’t in the store is preposterous

12.Such formulas should be writable down

(NB: Sentences (11) and (12) in this list were (12) and (13) in Ross’s. I omitted Ross’s Sentence (11) in my study for the reason Ross himself gives:

I have omitted from discussion the results of the eleventh questionnaire sentence, where some additional questions of a semantic kind, were asked, because the variation among the respondents was so overwhelming as to defy analysis. (Ross, 1979: 134, fn 2)

Eisenstein and Bodman’s Gratitude Situations

(Original numbering: the three used in my study are asterisked.)

1.* It’s Friday. You look in your wallet and notice that you only have $2.00. Your good friend at work notices this and hears you say ‘Darn, I’ll have to go to the bank.’ Your friend asks if you need money, and you say that you forgot to go to the bank. Your friend says: ‘I have plenty. How much do you need?’ You say: ‘Could you lend me $5.00? I’ll pay you back on Monday.’ Your friend says ‘Sure. Are you sure you don’t need more than that?’ You say you don’t. Your friend gives you the $5.00.

216

Appendix

217

3.* It’s your birthday and you are having a few people over for dinner. A friend brings you a present. You unwrap it and find a blue sweater.

4.You work for a large company. The Vice-President of Personnel calls you into his office. He tells you to sit down, You feel a little nervous, because you have only been working there for six months. The Vice-President says ‘You’re doing a good job. In fact, we are so pleased with you that I am going to give you a $20.00 a week raise.’

7.You find yourself in sudden need of money – $500.00. You mention this to a friend. Your friend immediately offers to lend it to you. You are surprised and very grateful. Your friend writes out a check for $500.00 and gives it to you. At first you say: ‘Oh, no, I didn’t mean for you to lend it to me. I couldn’t take it.’ Your friend says: ‘Really, it’s all right. What are friends for?’ After your friend insists again, you take the check.

9.Your friend suggests going out to lunch. You say that you’d like to go, but you only have $2.00. Your friend says, ‘Ah, don’t worry. I’ll take you today.’ Your friend takes you to a very nice restaurant – a much more expensive one than the ones you usually go to. You have a wonderful meal. Your friend pays and you get up to leave.

10.You have just gotten a new and better job. A friend at the office tells you she has organized a farewell party for you.

14.* You have been invited to the home of a rather new friend. You have dinner with him and his wife and a few other friends of theirs. The food was great, and you really enjoyed the evening. As you leave, your hosts accompany you to the door.

218 The Native Speaker: Myth and Reality

Eisenstein and Bodman (1986: 173)

Table 2 Summary of results of all students on individual questions

Q.

Q. topic

No Resp

Not accept

Prob.

Accept

Perf

NotComp

Resist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

$5.00

5

3

9

9

39

1

1

 

 

7.5%

4.5%

13.4%

13.4%

58.2%

1.5%

1.5%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Sweat

2

3

19

14

29

0

0

 

 

3.0%

4.5%

28.4%

20.9%

43.3%

0%

0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

Raise

5

10

16

14

18

1

3

 

 

7.5%

14.9%

23.9%

20.9%

26.9%

1.5%

4.5%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

$500

9

3

14

15

21

1

4

 

 

13.4%

4.5%

20.9%

22.4%

31.3%

1.5%

6.0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9

Lunch

5

11

22

9

14

1

5

 

 

3.0%

16.4%

32.8%

13.4%

20.9%

1.5%

7.5%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10

Farewell

14

7

21

11

13

0

0

 

 

20.9%

10.4%

31.3%

16.45

19.45

0%

0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

14

Dinner

7

2

34

23

11

0

0

 

 

10.4%

3.0%

35.8%

34.3%

16.4%

0%

0%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Agnihotri, R.K. and Kanna, A.Y. (1997) Problematizing English in India. New Delhi: Sage.

Aitken, A.J. (ed.) (1973) Lowland Scots. Association for Scottish Literary Studies Occasional Paper 2. Edinburgh: Association for Scottish Literary Studies.

Alderson, J.C., Clapham, C. and Steel, D. (1997) Metalinguistic knowledge, language aptitude and language proficiency. Language Teaching Research 1 (2), 93–121.

Alderson, J.C., Clapham, C. and Wall, D. (1995) Language Test Construction and Evaluation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Alderson, J.C. and Urquhart, A.H. (1983) The effect of student background discipline on comprehension: A pilot study. In A. Hughes and D. Porter (eds)

Current Developments in Language Testing (pp. 121–127). London: Academic Press.

Allwright, D. (1988) Observation in the Language Classroom. London: Longman. Altmann, G.T.M. (1997) The Ascent of Babel. New York: Oxford University Press. Altmann, G.T.M. (2001) The language machine: Psycholinguistics in review. British

Journal of Psychology 92 (1), 129–70.

Annamalai, E. (1998) Nativity of language. In R. Singh (ed.) The Native Speaker: Multilingual Perspectives (pp. 148–57). New Delhi: Sage.

Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G. and Tiffin, H. (1989) The Empire Writes Back. London: Routledge.

APU (Assessment of Performance Unit) (1984) Language Performance in Schools(1982 Secondary Survey Report). London: Department of Education and Science Atkinson, J. M. and Heritage, J. (eds) (1984) Structures in Social Action. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press.

Atkinson, P. (1985) Language, Structure and Reproduction: An Introduction to the Sociology of Basil Bernstein. London: Methuen.

Bachman, L.F. (1990) Fundamental Considerations in Language Testing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Baker, C. and Jones, S.P. (1998) Encyclopedia of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education.

Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Barnard, A. and Spencer, J. (eds) (1996) Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology. London: Routledge.

Barth, F. (ed.) (1969) Ethnic Groups and Boundaries. London: George, Allen and Unwin/Bergen: Universitets Forlaget.

Bartsch, R. (1988) Norms of Language. London: Longman.

Bereiter, C. and Englemann, S. (1966) Teaching Disadvantaged Children in the Pre-school. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Bernstein, Basil (1971-5) Class, Codes and Control (Vols 1-5). London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

219

220

The Native Speaker: Myth and Reality

Bex, T. and Watts, R.J. (eds) (1999) Standard English: The Widening Debate. London: Routledge.

Bhatt, R.M. (1995) Prescriptivism, creativity and World Englishes. World Englishes 14 (2), 247–58.

Bialystok, E. (1997) The structure of age: In search of barriers to second language acquisition. Second Language Research 13, 116–37.

Bialystok, E. (1998) Coming of age in applied linguistics. Language Learning 48 (4), 497–518.

Birdsong, D. (1992) Ultimate attainment in second language acquisition. Language 68, 706–55.

Bishop, E. (1983) One art. In Complete Poems(p. 178). London: Chatto and Windus. Bloomfield, L. (1927) Literate and illiterate speech. American Speech 2, 432–9. Reprinted in D. Hymes (ed.) (1964) Language in Culture and Society (pp. 391–6).

New York: Harper and Row.

Bloomfield, L. (1933) Language. New York and Chicago: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Reprinted in 1984 by The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Blum-Kulka, S., House, J. and Kasper, G. (eds) (1989) Advances in Discourse Processes Vol. 31: Cross-Cultural Pragmatics: Requests and Apologies. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Bongaerts, T., Mennen, S. and van der Slik, F. (2000) Authenticity of pronunciation in naturalistic second language acquisition: The case of very advanced late learners of Dutch as a second language. Studia Linguistica 54 (2), 298–308.

Braine, G. (ed.) (1999) Non-native Educators in English Language Teaching. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Brass, P.R. (1974) Language Religion and Politics in North India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Brown, A. and Lumley, T. (1995) How can English proficiency tests be made more culturally appropriate? A case study: The assessment of English teacher proficiency. In S.K. Gill (ed.) Intelec ‘94: International and English Language Education Conference: National and International Challenges and Responses (pp. 122-8). Kuala Lumpur: Language Centre, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

Brown, A. and Lumley, T. (1998) Linguistic and cultural norms in language testing: A case study. Melbourne Papers in Language Testing 7 (1), 80–96.

Brumfit, C. (ed.) (1983) Language Teaching Projects for the Third World (ELT Documents 116). Oxford: Pergamon Press in association with the British Council.

Burchfield, R. (1985) The English Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Burling, R. (1981) Social constraints on adult language learning. In H. Winitz (ed.)

Native Language and Foreign Language Acquisition (Annals of New York Academy of Sciences 379) (pp. 279–90). New York: New York Academy of Sciences.

Burt, M.K. and Kiparsky, C. (1972) The Gooficon: A Repair Manual for English. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Cameron, D. (1998) The Feminist Critique of Language: A Reader (2nd edn). London: Routledge.

Campbell, R. and Wales, R. (1970) The study of language acquisition. In J. Lyon (ed.)

New Horizons in Linguistics. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Canagarajah, S. (1999a) On EFL teachers, awareness and agency. ELT Journal 53 (3), 207–13.

Canagarajah, S. (1999b) Resisting Linguistic Imperialism in English Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Соседние файлы в предмете [НЕСОРТИРОВАННОЕ]