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Native speaker definition

 
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eslnewbie



Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:48 pm    Post subject: Native speaker definition Reply with quote

I've been reading the posts about what constitutes a "Native Speaker" and I'm still unsure if I am considered one. I was born in Ethiopia and moved to Madison, Wisconsin when I was five years old. I have since earned a BA in English and have been told that I sound "British" when I speak. My concern is that prospective employers will take issue with the fact that I was not born in an English-speaking country.

I appreciate any thoughts on my situation.
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St. George



Joined: 06 Oct 2004
Posts: 108
Location: Ex Libya

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:11 pm    Post subject: Native speaker Reply with quote

You won't be considered to be a native speaker if you keep telling everyone that you were born in Ethiopia and if your name is Unga Bunga, then I would change that too.

People are prejudiced, so don't mention where you were born unless you have to. Don't put it on your resume or CV but say that you are a native speaker and let them judge you on your 'British' accent, at interview, on the telephone or face to face. When you have to tell them, then say that you moved to the US when you were very young and therefore, you were brought up in an English speaking environment.

If I were you, I would probably tell them that I was born in the US, as it is unlikely that they will ask you for your birth certificate. I am assuming that you have a US passport.

St G
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eslnewbie



Joined: 17 Mar 2009
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, St. George. I have a US passport and I'll take your advice. You are a true dragon-slayer with your words of widsom Very Happy
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sammy



Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 37

PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

good advice you got there st. george. i should agree with that. if you have something to show off, then show off. you don't need to tell them everything unless they ask you.
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LHuang



Joined: 29 Sep 2009
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This message follows on from the discussion at this part of the forum
that occurred during March 09, which was prompted by a posting
by an English teacher who was born in Ethiopia.
I had myself grown up in an English speaking country
(I studied all primary and secondary schooling in Australia), and have the
similar situation of not originally being born as a Caucasian
as I am ethnically Chinese.
I have been an English teacher on-and-off since the 1980s, to
students whose first language is not English. I have also
taught other subjects at university level.
I believe it is in the interest of those who offer jobs to ESL teachers
(and it is more honest too for them) and for those persons who aspire to a career within the field, for the truth to be made known to persons who wish to be involved with this field who are not of a Caucasian background. I have read most of the literature about this topic, and also most of the postings at online forums such as this one, as well as having accumulated stories from other people who are English teachers.

The truth about this topic I believe are already well known ie.
- in most situations, hirers prefer persons of Caucasian origin
partly due to stereotyped understanding of what makes for a
good English teacher;
- this doesn't mean jobs are not available for other races. Experience
counts. In places where there is a shortage of English teachers
the task is easier for non-Caucasians.
- I believe what recently happened to a friend of mine who has been
teaching in China for the past four years is a fair indication of what
to expect. Her background is from Africa. She was laid off from a job
about six months ago. The employer preferred to employ a person
who is Caucasian, and was quite open about the reason. After searching, she was able to find a replacement job, but had to move to a different part of China.

In Asia, there are now overseas Chinese, Filipinos and Africans involved
within the English teaching field, but these are relatively few in number.
I have a relative who is a Filipino who is a married to a mainland Chinese and
the two of them now operate a successful private English tuition college in
mainland China. But in terms of overall percentages, the vast majority of
English teachers, agents who do placements, and owners of tuition
institutions are native English speakers of Caucasian background. There is nothing unusual about that, in the sense that Caucasians form the majority in
the major English speaking countries also.

Some colleagues in the field tell me, they can see signs of reform in this
area. But change typically takes a long time to occur.

If someone who is essentially of a native English standard by virtue of having
studied all or most of their schooling in English, who is not of a Caucasian
background, is still keen on pursuing a career in this field, the above
situation would best be understood and accepted. Otherwise the person
may find they will be happier from following an alternative career path.
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