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ERIC Number: ED481800
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 5
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Native Speaker: Membership Has Its Privileges.
Siskin, H. Jay
This paper responds to Claire Kramsch's essay on the demise of the notion of the idealized native speaker as the model for second language learning and implications for second languages and cultures education. In her essay, Kramsch forcefully argues against the native speaker construct and exhorts teachers and learners not to abandon their unique multilingual perspective on the foreign language and on its literature and culture to emulate the idealized monolingual native speaker. This paper argues that the very belief in the existence of a native speaker motivates many language learners, whose goal is personal transformation by the adoption of behaviors and cultural values imputed to native speakers. The native speakers, or transformed nonnative speakers, serve as immediate instantations of the transformative power of a new language and culture. The paper focuses on the study of French by nonnative speakers. It suggests that although the transformative power of language is not necessarily the primary motivation for language learners, it is a powerful factor, and in order for students to achieve their goal, they must believe implicitly in the native speaker construct. The paper concludes that "to deny our students the privilege of this belief, particularly at the beginning of their course of study, is not in our self interest." (SM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A