Pages in topic:   [1 2 3 4] >
Will you ever/can you declare yourself as native speaker?
Thread poster: Mari Noller
Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:23
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Jun 3, 2005

I've looked through a lot of profiles here on proz and noticed how some say "I've lived in **** for X years so I consider myself a native speaker".
Will you really ever be a native speaker of a language?

(And please move this if it's in the wrong place)


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Can Altinbay  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:23
Japanese to English
+ ...
Yes Jun 3, 2005

dinamin wrote:

I've looked through a lot of profiles here on proz and noticed how some say "I've lived in **** for X years so I consider myself a native speaker".
Will you really ever be a native speaker of a language?

(And please move this if it's in the wrong place)


My people are Russian Turks. I was born and raised in Japan, and have lived in the US for over 30 years. Test me against most native born Americans. You bet I declare myself a native speaker of English. After all this time, I sometimes take time to get a word or two out in Japanese, but I read difficult books in Japanese, and once I get into it, my Japanese flows very nicely. Yes, I am native in Japanese.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
RHELLER
United States
Local time: 09:23
French to English
+ ...
It depends... Jun 3, 2005

It depends on the individual.

I am not questioning Can, who is obviously gifted linguistically. Not everyone is. I know people who have lived in the U.S. for longer periods of time who continue to make very basic mistakes.

I hope I am not offending anyone. That is not my intention.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:23
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No, Jun 3, 2005

Of course it's not meant as an insult to anyone. Just a general wondering when you would declare yourself native.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxx00000000
English to French
+ ...
Nativelike Jun 3, 2005

A native language is one you acquired in early childhood. Languages you didn't speak then will never become native. But you can convey the fact that your mastery of the language is in all respects that of a native speaker of equivalent educational level by using 'nativelike' instead of 'native'.

So Can could describe her languages as native Japanese and nativelike English -- if I understood correctly.

Best,
Esther


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Can Altinbay  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:23
Japanese to English
+ ...
I'm not offended Jun 3, 2005

Rita Heller wrote:

It depends on the individual.

I am not questioning Can, who is obviously gifted linguistically. Not everyone is. I know people who have lived in the U.S. for longer periods of time who continue to make very basic mistakes.

I hope I am not offending anyone. That is not my intention.


And clearly I'm not saying that it's not a matter of individual cases.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Can Altinbay  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:23
Japanese to English
+ ...
Oh? Jun 3, 2005

Esther Pfeffer wrote:

A native language is one you acquired in early childhood. Languages you didn't speak then will never become native. But you can convey the fact that your mastery of the language is in all respects that of a native speaker of equivalent educational level by using 'nativelike' instead of 'native'.

So Can could describe her languages as native Japanese and nativelike English -- if I understood correctly.

Best,
Esther


Clearly I disagree. Actually, I have been educated in English all my life, so I began learning English at 6.

By the way, I am not a she.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxx00000000
English to French
+ ...
Studying a language is not the same as acquiring a native language Jun 3, 2005

Can Altinbay wrote:

Clearly I disagree. Actually, I have been educated in English all my life, so I began learning English at 6.

By the way, I am not a she.


Clearly I hadn't gotten the right idea from your description of your childhood in Japan with your Russian Turk parents. That didn't strike me as an environment for native English, but whatever...

Best,
Esther

[Edited at 2005-06-03 06:56]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:23
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Native is nebulous Jun 3, 2005

dinamin wrote:
I've looked through a lot of profiles here on proz and noticed how some say "I've lived in **** for X years so I consider myself a native speaker".


The definition of "native" speaker is nebulous. I believe that "native" speaking means that you (a) speak at least as well as the average person who grew up with the language and (b) you are currently living an a region where that language is a lingua franca.

This "definition" of mine is problematic for translators who live abroad, but I think one might be able to substitute regular immersion for the latter... the thing is that even if you grew up as a speaker of X, but you no longer live in a region where X is regularly used by people around you and regularly seen in the media, you're likely to lose your feel for the language at some stage.

On the other hand, having lived in a new culture or region for quite a number of years and having been forced to use their language and having been immersed by their media, does count for something. What language did you use at home in that new culture... the new culture's language or your original language?

One might say one's native language is the one in which one is most capable of expressing oneself fully... but again this would pose problems when defining the abilities of people in bilingual countries, where one language is used for X and the other langauge is used for Y.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Can Altinbay  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:23
Japanese to English
+ ...
See, the problem is... Jun 3, 2005

Esther Pfeffer wrote:


Clearly I hadn't gotten the right idea from your description of your childhood in Japan with your Russian Turk parents. That didn't strike me as an environment for native English, but whatever...

Best,
Esther

[Edited at 2005-06-03 06:56]


...that I'm not going to get jobs telling potential clients that my English is "nativelike". My English is better than that of most of my neighbors. I'm not boasting. It's true, and many of them will support me in this. When clients ask for native speakers, they are asking for a particular level of ability in the language. As was discussed in another recent thread, this ability includes understanding of nuance, and being able to find the right words for the facts and ideas that are to be conveyed. Are we going to educate our clients not to expect "native" speakers? Should they hire a "native" speaker by your definition because he or she is "native"? Shouldn't they want someone who can do the job? I have encountered way too many technical writers with degrees in English whose writing is atrocious.

So I continue to claim "native". Not "nativelike", but "native".


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:23
German to English
+ ...
Will you ever/can you declare yourself as native speaker? Jun 3, 2005

Can Altinbay wrote:

When clients ask for native speakers, they are asking for a particular level of ability in the language.


Exactly. It's not about where you were born or went to school, or the nationality of your mother. It's about how well you can write. Some people can manage that in more than one language, some in none.

Marc


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Can Altinbay  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:23
Japanese to English
+ ...
Danke schön Jun 3, 2005

MarcPrior wrote:

Exactly. It's not about where you were born or went to school, or the nationality of your mother. It's about how well you can write. Some people can manage that in more than one language, some in none.

Marc


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:23
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No Jun 3, 2005

I wouldn't say you are a native speaker of English. That would be a lie.

From answers.com:
"First language (native language, mother tongue, or vernacular) is the language a person learns first. Correspondingly, the person is called a native speaker of the language. Usually a child learns the basics of their first language from their family."

You could call yourself bilingual, but not native bilingual.

Which is my point.. Unless your parents spoke two different languages in your childhood (or your parents spoke German at home and you grew up in England) you cannot claim a language you have studied for X number of years to be your native language, your mother tongue.

'Equivalent to native' might be more fitting though..


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxsarahl
Local time: 08:23
English to French
+ ...
Case-by-case basis Jun 3, 2005

I agree with Rita that some people never learn.

But I also agree with Can's definition. As far as I am concerned, he has more than one native language.

FWIW

Sarah


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Timothy Barton
Local time: 17:23
French to English
+ ...
It's a question of your ability in the language Jun 3, 2005

It doesn't matter what language you learnt as a young child. It's a question of whether you can translate as well as a native translator. I now don't think I'll ever make it in any of my foreign languages. I think I may have reached it, or at least come close, if I had not moved away from France and had stayed there another 20 years. At sixth form college I had an French teacher who spoke perfect English (no hint of an accent - no mistakes) despite only moving to Britain for university studies, so although these cases are rare, I do believe there are cases in which someone may acquire a native tongue.

Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3 4] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Will you ever/can you declare yourself as native speaker?

Advanced search







WordFinder
The words you want Anywhere, Anytime

WordFinder is the market's fastest and easiest way of finding the right word, term, translation or synonym in one or more dictionaries. In our assortment you can choose among more than 120 dictionaries in 15 languages from leading publishers.

More info »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search