Pages in topic:   < [1 2 3 4] >
Will you ever/can you declare yourself as native speaker?
Thread poster: Mari Noller

Can Altinbay  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:12
Japanese to English
+ ...
In memoriam
To bother you with more detail... Jun 4, 2005

Xola wrote:

but his parents adopted the Turkish spoken in Turkey somehow, and passed it on to Can.



During the Korean War, some wounded Turkish soldiers ended up in Tokyo for treatment. The Kazan Turks living there took the attitude that these were "Turks like us" and helped them out. Partially in recognition, the Turkish government gave the Turks in Japan citizenship. At the time, it was next to impossible for foreign people to become Japanese citizens, and many were not really interested in doing so anyway. I was born stateless and became a Turkish citizen when I was still a preschooler.

Turkey established a one room Turkish school for the Turkish students in Tokyo, and I attended it on Saturdays for a couple of years until Turkey decided to close it. My mother was very active in supporting our embassy in Tokyo. I attended Middle East Technical University in Ankara for 4 years. When I graduated, my Turkish was quite good. It's been over 30 years, and it has degenerated some. I am reading Turkish books now and beginning to associate with Turks in town more, so eventually, it will get back to a pretty decent level.

And I think that completes the clarafication of the "mystery" to which you allude.
I will entertain any and all questions (or queries if you prefer).


 

Nazim Aziz Gokdemir  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:12
English to Turkish
+ ...
Just passing through Jun 4, 2005

I just wanted to let people (other than Sara, Xola, and Can himself) reading this thread know that Can is pronounced John.

Waitaminnit, it's Friday night. I'm gone.

Aziz


 

mstkwasa
Local time: 11:12
English to Japanese
+ ...
Away from biological determinism! Jun 4, 2005

Can Altinbay wrote:

I think when I claim that I am a native speaker of Japanese that most clients understand that my name is not Japanese, and hence there are unusual circumstances. I point out in my CV and in my cover letter what my circumstances are. I have had a good number of people accept this and allow me to help them.


I can only say, as a native-speaker of Japanese [however you may define the term, I certainly am], that Can often comes up with the most appropriate translation in JP > EN, EN > JP fora. Indeed since his grasp of both English and Japanese is so good, in many cases he puts others including myself to shame by being able to convey style and nuance naturally. I dare not say about English – not my first language – but I will be offended if someone questioned his language ability as a native in writing Japanese [I cannot say about speech, since I have never heard him talk] or [the following has been altered] if he is accused of lying with regard to English just because of his ethnic origins or because he had not been born there. [Edited in order to avoid confusion]

Away from biological determinism! Away from the dogma that once you are born, you are stuck with it for the rest of your life! I think assertions reproduced below are not helpful since they ignore and make presumptions about many people's experiences and are too dogmatic in definitions which do not correspond to more recent understanding of 'native language', 'first language' or 'bilingual'.

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'.


dinamin wrote:

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.


See the following regarding 'native language', 'first/second language' and 'bilingual'.

The term native language "dates from the Middle Ages, when it was widely believed that language is physically inherited, one's birth determining both language and nationality. Because of this association with birth and birthright and the confusion associated with the word native, some linguists consider that the term should, like native speaker, be avoided or used with caution in scholarly work."
Source: "NATIVE LANGUAGE" Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. Ed. Tom McArthur. Oxford University Press, 1998. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Oxford University. 4 June 2005 http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t29.e821

"The first language is the language in which learners are competent when starting a new language; the second language is another language that is being learned or has been learned to an adequate level. In many countries, a specific L2 is learned, usually at school, for national or international use. English is the second language for many purposes in such countries as India, Nigeria, and Singapore. An L1 may or may not be a learner's mother tongue, because a chronologically first language may not be the functionally first language of adulthood. Under certain conditions, such as migration, an original L2 may become a person's L1 or only language."
Source: "FIRST LANGUAGE" Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. Ed. Tom McArthur. Oxford University Press, 1998. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Oxford University. 4 June 2005 http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t29.e472

Bilingual: "Having an effectively equal control of two native languages. Thus a minority of people in Wales are bilingual in Welsh and English; many in England are bilingual in English and e.g. Punjabi. A bilingual community, as in Welsh-speaking parts of Wales, is one in which bilingualism is normal.

Loosely or more generally, in some accounts, of people or communities that have two or more different languages, whether or not control is effectively equal and whether or not more than one is native. Bilinguals in the ordinary sense are then variously called 'eambilingual' or 'equilinguaf', or are qualified as 'full', 'true', 'ideal', or 'balanced' bilinguals."

"bilingual" The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics. P. H. Matthews. Oxford University Press, 1997. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Oxford University. 4 June 2005 http://www.oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t36.e333


[Edited at 2005-06-04 22:58]

[Edited at 2005-06-05 11:30]

[Edited at 2005-06-05 11:31]


 

Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:12
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well.. Jun 5, 2005

First of all there are as many definitions of the word "native" as there are native speakers.
Secondly, this was a discussion of whether or not you would/could call yourself a native speaker, not if Can was a native speaker.

...

In my teens I attended a college in Oslo. Anyone who's been to a college in Oslo know how few "Norwegians" there are in the schools.
This is because of the high percentage of immigrants, or second generation immigrants, living in th
... See more
First of all there are as many definitions of the word "native" as there are native speakers.
Secondly, this was a discussion of whether or not you would/could call yourself a native speaker, not if Can was a native speaker.

...

In my teens I attended a college in Oslo. Anyone who's been to a college in Oslo know how few "Norwegians" there are in the schools.
This is because of the high percentage of immigrants, or second generation immigrants, living in the capital.
In my class, with 26 students, I was the only Norwegian. But not the only native Norwegian speaker.
Because of the large amounts of immigrants in the capital, the government decided to split the subject Norwegian into two parts;
Norwegian and Norwegian 2 (Norsk, Norsk 2).
Those attending Norwegian 2 would still be native Norwegian speakers, however, few of them would be able to put together anything meaningfull in Norwegian without consulting a dictionary.
But, they were still considered native Norwegian speakers (this even if they never learned New-Norwegian).

In secondary school we had a native Swedish speaker teaching us Norwegian (!), there were three Swedes in my class and I had Swedish relatives and friends.
In college everyone was presented with Swedish and Danish texts and the teachers expected us to understand all of it.
And most of the time we did.

But even if I've lived so close to the Swedish and Danish language my entire life, not to mention English which I've studied for 13 years, I cannot call myself anything else but a native Norwegian speaker.
Not even when I'm 60 and have lived in England for over 40 years.

I won't call myself a native speaker of a language from a country where I've never lived as a child. To me, being a native speaker is not just about the language. It's the culture.
Which is why I won't call any of my old classmates native Norwegian speakers. Even if they were born and raised in Norway, they had their own culture, their own language.

I've had proofreading jobs in the past where I've had to question the translators work. It was so obvious the translation was not done by a native Norwegian speaker. The agency/client would get back to me saying the translator was born and raised in Norway and was bilingual (English and Norwegian) and therefore considered a native speaker.

I had a rather interesting test from a nordic agency a few weeks back. They wanted me to not only translate an English text into Norwegian, but write a short summary of a Swedish and Danish text.
To them you were a not a native Norwegian speaker if you couldn't understand Swedish and Danish.
To some this may seem strange, but it's completely justified as far as I'm concerned. A native Norwegian speaker would understand Swedish and Danish (at least in the written sense, when the Danes start counting no ordinary Norwegian stand a chance).
My former classmates in college were native speakers (as they were born and raised in Norway), but couldn't understand Swedish nor Danish (nor New-Norwegian or any dialect outside of Oslo).

I'm chattering again, but my point was.. If you choose to call yourself a native speaker of a language your parents did not speak, it's totally up to you. But for the sake of your client, make sure you also know culture.
Collapse


 

mstkwasa
Local time: 11:12
English to Japanese
+ ...
Agree to disagree? Jun 5, 2005

dinamin wrote:

First of all there are as many definitions of the word "native" as there are native speakers.


We can probably agree on this point that it is a vague term that escapes a water-tight definition. I suppose we have to agree to disagree on what makes someone a native-speaker. Incidentally, it was interesting to note that we share a similar attitude towards English but for different reasons. English is and will remain a foreign language because in your case you feel that you have not spent your childhood in that culture and in my case I believe that my linguistic abilities are limited.

Cultural knowledge is invaluable and there would not be disputes on this point. I would go further that I would not consider or call someone to be a native-speaker unless he/she has cultural awareness. Yet, the difficulty lies yet again with definition – what is culture? Customs, food, belief systems etc.? I somehow doubt that we are using the term in a strict sociologist or anthropologist manner. Of course there are other problems since a language such as English might be used very widely and in different cultures (UK, US, India etc.) so you might be a native-speaker of English as a language but are not culturally competent in the UK since you have never lived there. Again, with the first language issue, I am not sure if you could link culture necessarily with parentage and childhood. I know a number of people who have migrated in their low- or mid-teens and were assimilated into the host country both linguistically and culturally. This does not mean everyone who migrates will do so [probably a small minority] but being a migrant does not necessarily mean that you remain an alien to the host country [may be true for many].

Secondly, this was a discussion of whether or not you would/could call yourself a native speaker, not if Can was a native speaker.


I am slightly at a loss here. It may have started as such but then it developed into a discussion on what qualifications you need for being a native-speaker. During the course of this debate, Can stated the reasons why he considers himself a native-speaker of both English and Japanese by giving us an account of his background. Your point of view was that a native-speaker had to be born in that culture, must be raised speaking that language and the language must have been used by the parents. Hence in responding to Can you stated
I wouldn't say you are a native speaker of English. That would be a lie.

It is vitally important to establish whether it can be agreed whether people who have similar backgrounds to Can are native-speakers or not. According to your initial set of preconditions for being a native-speaker, such people cannot be and should not call themselves native-speakers. To do so would be a lie. Instead, they should be call themselves equivalent to native or nativelike which are confusing labels at best and what do they actually mean?

This point raises somewhat facetious questions: what is the difference between calling oneself and being a native-speaker? Would you call yourself a native-speaker if you [believe you] are not a native-speaker? Could one subjectively be a native-speaker, yet others disagree or if you like objectively not; but does that person’s definition of native stand?

[Edited at 2005-06-06 09:04]

[Edited at 2005-06-10 17:21]


 

Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:12
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Like I said Jun 5, 2005

You are free to call yourself whatever you like.
My point was that *I* don't see Can as a native speaker. But that's *my* personal opinion.
Same as I don't describe myself as a native English or Swedish speaker because I choose not to.


 

Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:12
Member
English to Turkish
+ ...
Well, this brings in the ethnic component Jun 6, 2005

which is in fact the underlying fault line in all such discussion topics. Can -sorry, Can, for I have to use you as an example once again- was born and raised in Japan, and Japanese was the first language his mother spoke to him, but he cannot be a Japanese native speaker. Nor can he be a native speaker of English despite the fact that he received all his schooling in English (which is something a tad different from learning English as a foreign language for 13 or more years). What factor remain... See more
which is in fact the underlying fault line in all such discussion topics. Can -sorry, Can, for I have to use you as an example once again- was born and raised in Japan, and Japanese was the first language his mother spoke to him, but he cannot be a Japanese native speaker. Nor can he be a native speaker of English despite the fact that he received all his schooling in English (which is something a tad different from learning English as a foreign language for 13 or more years). What factor remains then? Ethnicity. Oh, this is a strangely-used term, though, in our word-corrupting world, they say, for instance, 'ethnic music', as if there could be any music that was not ethnic, but FYI I use the word in its authentic sense.

As for your classmates, dinamin, who were not ethnic Norwegians, I don't think they apply here anyway, because we are talking about the language profession, and counter examples abound, like a former American neighbor of mine who used to call me to ask whether he should put an apostrophe between the t and s when writing "It's a birthday party", or another American I knew for whom I had to spell Christmas once in a year, because he had grown used to writing it Xmas, and just couldn't put it together in full form. Do these examples disqualify them as native speakers of English, now? Of course, not. Just as those who were not able to put together anything meaningful in Norwegian without consulting a dictionary would still be native speakers of Norwegian together with many ethnic Norwegians in a similar situation. Being a native speaker is something, being poorly educated is something else, and being a native language professional is something entirely different. And in none of these I see the ethnic component as determining.


Yet, I still wonder what you think the native language of Can is, in this case. Or do you think that he doesn't have one at all? I also wonder if Missy Eliot and Prince Charles would be ever able to communicate smoothly. And that which one of them is not a native speaker of English. But that's another story, after all the ebonics movement -oh, it's so 'in' now- hasn't arrived at Europe, yet.
Collapse


 

vorloff
Bosnian to English
+ ...
This is a great thread! I really enjoyed reading it.... Jun 8, 2005

I was born in South Korea, yet speak no Korean. My father is Russian, yet I speak no Russian. He was born and grew up in China (until the age of 18), but is certainly not a native Chinese speaker. I lived in Indonesia from the age of 3-5 (formative language learning years) and spoke Indonesian then, but can't remember anything now.

My "mother tongue" is Serbian/Bosnian, and I lived in Serbia from the age of 5-8, attended first grade there, and lived there again for four years recen
... See more
I was born in South Korea, yet speak no Korean. My father is Russian, yet I speak no Russian. He was born and grew up in China (until the age of 18), but is certainly not a native Chinese speaker. I lived in Indonesia from the age of 3-5 (formative language learning years) and spoke Indonesian then, but can't remember anything now.

My "mother tongue" is Serbian/Bosnian, and I lived in Serbia from the age of 5-8, attended first grade there, and lived there again for four years recently (returned to the US a year ago) and yet I am not confident enough to call myself a native speaker of Serbo-Croatian because I didn't receive the bulk of my education in that language. When I moved back to the US at the age of 8, the kids made fun of me for my accent and I couldn't pass a spelling test to save my life. Now English is the only language I feel confident in expressing myself in in writing.

I think it does depend on the person: certain people are more linguistically talented than others. From reading Can's writing, I would identify him as a native English speaker, if I didn't know anything else about his background. I think the issue here is translators being truly honest about their language capabilities. It seems to me that many translators will try to claim many "native" languages, in an attempt to get more jobs, when in fact only a rare few, like Can, are actually being truthful. I think those who do have native proficiency in more than one language are an incredible rare breed. In my opinion, my mother, who lived in Yugoslavia for 29 years, no longer has a native language. She writes English wonderfully, but still has trouble with some articles ("go feed *a* dog"; "what *any* dog??", my sister and I would say) but has a strong accent in English, but has "lost" a lot of her Serbo-Croatian by living in the US for more than 30 years. She is much better at interpreting than I am, though, because I am a "slow thinker" and perfectionist, and she had formal training for that, and since I prefer translation, I pass a lot of those jobs on to her.

Since many of us translators come from these complicated backgrounds, I think all we can do is try to be honest with ourselves and our potential clients. I would like nothing more than to have more than one native language and be better at interpreting (better pay; less competition). Maybe, some day, I will accomplish that. For now, I feel good that I am being honest, even though I probably lose many jobs in doing so. But, if you have a respect for the profession, and the concept of "native language" (and being good at what you do), as subjective as it may be, then it's worth it.
Collapse


 

Arthur Allmendinger  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:12
English to German
+ ...
„Native English speaker“ doesn’t necessarily mean “good English user" Jul 3, 2005

Konstantin Kisin wrote:

I learned Russian first, I only started learning English when I was nine and I only came to the UK when I was 11, however, I speak English without an accent and find it much easier to use than Russian. I have absolutely no hesitation about calling myself a native speaker of both languages and I have not had anyone doubt my skills in either language. If someone claims that "I can never be native because I didn't learn English at the age of 5" they're welcome to give me a call and see for themselves



Well, Konstantin, „native English speaker“ doesn’t necessarily mean “good English user”.

You are an excellent English user, Konstantin, and your English may be too perfect to be called “native English”.



Most native speakers have a touch of a “dialect”. Perfect English, Russian or German is taught at school by professional teachers, and not by your mother in your family.

Take Russia for example. Are all native Russians speakers necessarily good users of the Russian language? People from south Russia, Ukraine or Belorussia have big difficulties speaking standard Russian, though they are native Russian speakers. Many non-Russians in the USSR had a better command of Russian than native Russian speakers, because they learned standard Russian at school and didn’t have any touch of a Russian dialect (Govor).

There are lots of native Germans speakers in Germany who speak a dialect in their families and switch to standard German when they speak with a “foreigner”. There are lots of Germans in Germany who cannot speak standard German language (though they can write it), but all these people are, nevertheless, native German speakers.

I grew up in the USSR in a German family. My grandparents couldn’t speak Russian, my parents could speak Russian, but only as a foreign language. We spoke German in our big family, because my grandparents couldn’t speak Russian. Did we speak standard German in our family? No, of course not. We spoke a German dialect.

Am I a native German speaker? Of course, German was the first language I learned. But I would never dare to say that I am a good German user if my mother was not a teacher of the German language and if she didn’t teach me standard German before I started learning Russian in a Russian school.

Am I a native Russians speaker? To say the truth I am not a native Russian speaker (though I declared Russian as a native language in my profile). My Russian is too correct and too standard to be called “native”. No genuine Russian would speak the Russian language which is taught at school. I have to speak the Russian language that was taught at Russian schools in the USSR, because my parents spoke German and didn’t teach me a Russian dialect (Govor) in our family.

I think that you can easily recognise a native Speaker when he speaks. You can get rid of a foreign accent, but you cannot get rid of a foreign “rithm” when you speak a language which is not your native language.

Give me a ring, Konstatnin, I would like to hear your English. If you do not have, say, a Yorkshire accent, then you are not a native English speaker.







[Edited at 2005-07-03 21:16]


 

paula arturo  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 08:12
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Jul 3, 2005

Can Altinbay wrote:

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.


I was born in Argentina, but lived in the U.S. from age one to twenty two. My mother is Argentean and spoke to me in Spanish and my father's American and spoke to me in English. Even though I wasn't born in the States I do consider myself a native English speaker and have a harder time expressing myself in Spanish.


 

Francesco Sani  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:12
Italian to English
+ ...
Native ability can be acquired later in life. Apr 22, 2017

This video really explained to me the psychological process of second-language learning from birth and debunked some of the myths about the 'optimal' age after which it is deemed utterly impossible for a person to develop native-like linguistic ability in a second language:


https://youtu.be/WiCC7fzP2cY

I am myself an ESOL speaker, having only moved to Britain aged seventeen,
... See more
This video really explained to me the psychological process of second-language learning from birth and debunked some of the myths about the 'optimal' age after which it is deemed utterly impossible for a person to develop native-like linguistic ability in a second language:


https://youtu.be/WiCC7fzP2cY

I am myself an ESOL speaker, having only moved to Britain aged seventeen, yet I can translate into English 'like a native' because since my arrival I spent years totally immersing my linguistic brain in the English language, by which I mean that I would only speak Italian to my family when visiting Italy four times a year, or on the telephone from abroad.

In 2008, after fourteen years out of my country, I realised that I had become 'native' in English and started truly struggling with conversation in my mothertongue: I had experienced and verbalised some of early adulthood's most life-changing feelings (like first love) in English, thus forming emotionally strong ties with this language. My idiomatic and lexical growth through English from ages seventeen to twenty-one was truly outstanding, and I forged a new English-speaking identity with a neutral, RP-like accent...

I am not British but I know how to 'talk British' and understand the subtleties of British English inside out...not only that: they are now part of my own emotional and cultural baggage.

None of this makes me the same as someone who grew up in Britain in an English-speaking family, say, but from a strictly linguistic point of view (and as a translator) I have such a command of the English language that I cannot see any difference in practice between me and someone British born and bred when it comes to translations.

I know that people prefer black-and-white to shades of grey when it comes to linguistic identity, but I am very much a blurred line... I look Italian and have all the right pedigree to sound like Super Mario when speaking English but when I open my mouth I am to all intents and purposes a 'native' English speaker...

Of course my English is a construct of my own, not handed down by my parents or through growing up in a regional dialect of English, but it is nonetheless a fully-fledged British English that instantly and correctly conveys my intentions and all the degrees of emotional intensity that an adult is built to feel.

How much of this proves anything about what 'native' means, I am sure will remain a topic for much debate in many a Proz forum and beyond...

I am teaching my daughter Italian, not English, yet this is a choice of necessity for her bilingual learning, for there are a thousand things that I would rather say to her in English and cannot ring true in Italian.

Life shapes us in incredible ways and we choose our destiny, so my final point is that anyone who 'owns' a language, feeling it deeply and not just grammatically, should not call himself or herself a mere borrower of it but also a true bearer of its heritage.

Without granting this to non-natives, we could never accept Conrad's English writings as anything other than mere 'translations', or Beckett's French plays as anything but 'surely not from a second-language speaker of French'!

Collapse


 

Francesco Sani  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:12
Italian to English
+ ...
Great post. Apr 22, 2017

Arthur Allmendinger wrote:

Konstantin Kisin wrote:

I learned Russian first, I only started learning English when I was nine and I only came to the UK when I was 11, however, I speak English without an accent and find it much easier to use than Russian. I have absolutely no hesitation about calling myself a native speaker of both languages and I have not had anyone doubt my skills in either language. If someone claims that "I can never be native because I didn't learn English at the age of 5" they're welcome to give me a call and see for themselves



Well, Konstantin, „native English speaker“ doesn’t necessarily mean “good English user”.

You are an excellent English user, Konstantin, and your English may be too perfect to be called “native English”.



Most native speakers have a touch of a “dialect”. Perfect English, Russian or German is taught at school by professional teachers, and not by your mother in your family.

Take Russia for example. Are all native Russians speakers necessarily good users of the Russian language? People from south Russia, Ukraine or Belorussia have big difficulties speaking standard Russian, though they are native Russian speakers. Many non-Russians in the USSR had a better command of Russian than native Russian speakers, because they learned standard Russian at school and didn’t have any touch of a Russian dialect (Govor).

There are lots of native Germans speakers in Germany who speak a dialect in their families and switch to standard German when they speak with a “foreigner”. There are lots of Germans in Germany who cannot speak standard German language (though they can write it), but all these people are, nevertheless, native German speakers.

I grew up in the USSR in a German family. My grandparents couldn’t speak Russian, my parents could speak Russian, but only as a foreign language. We spoke German in our big family, because my grandparents couldn’t speak Russian. Did we speak standard German in our family? No, of course not. We spoke a German dialect.

Am I a native German speaker? Of course, German was the first language I learned. But I would never dare to say that I am a good German user if my mother was not a teacher of the German language and if she didn’t teach me standard German before I started learning Russian in a Russian school.

Am I a native Russians speaker? To say the truth I am not a native Russian speaker (though I declared Russian as a native language in my profile). My Russian is too correct and too standard to be called “native”. No genuine Russian would speak the Russian language which is taught at school. I have to speak the Russian language that was taught at Russian schools in the USSR, because my parents spoke German and didn’t teach me a Russian dialect (Govor) in our family.

I think that you can easily recognise a native Speaker when he speaks. You can get rid of a foreign accent, but you cannot get rid of a foreign “rithm” when you speak a language which is not your native language.

Give me a ring, Konstatnin, I would like to hear your English. If you do not have, say, a Yorkshire accent, then you are not a native English speaker.







[Edited at 2005-07-03 21:16]


Thank you for this great story, which shows just how complex the issue is..


Similar to nationality, mother-tongue can indeed be a very complex beast to fence into a neat label... Is 'native' always synonymous with best quality?

The jury is out.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:12
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Going native Apr 26, 2017

I am a native speaker of English. I live in the UK.

I lived and worked in Italy for more than 20 years, hardly ever speaking English to anyone. I speak Italian without an accent and Italian sometimes ask me what part of Tuscany I'm from.

But I am NOT native in Italian and it really ****** me off to see others here who claim to be native in it as well as being native in English.

You can't be born in two places and you can't be native in two languages, no ma
... See more
I am a native speaker of English. I live in the UK.

I lived and worked in Italy for more than 20 years, hardly ever speaking English to anyone. I speak Italian without an accent and Italian sometimes ask me what part of Tuscany I'm from.

But I am NOT native in Italian and it really ****** me off to see others here who claim to be native in it as well as being native in English.

You can't be born in two places and you can't be native in two languages, no matter how fluent you are in both of them. That's just simple logic.

You might have been born in Italy and spoken Italian in the family circle, before moving to (say) America, where English became your first language as you grew up, but you can't say it's your NATIVE language. Even if your Italian is old and restricted to family chats, is is still your native language.
Collapse


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
My 2 cents Apr 26, 2017

As a Scots-born and raised UK native English speaker, I hereby accept Can into my own priviliged clan of honorary "native speakers" of English, which is, lest we forget, still the world's lingua franca

After three decades living in Spain, I've been told that my knowledge of Spanish is as good as that of most Spanish people, if not better in some cases. However, I realise that I'm far from being a native speaker, and
... See more
As a Scots-born and raised UK native English speaker, I hereby accept Can into my own priviliged clan of honorary "native speakers" of English, which is, lest we forget, still the world's lingua franca

After three decades living in Spain, I've been told that my knowledge of Spanish is as good as that of most Spanish people, if not better in some cases. However, I realise that I'm far from being a native speaker, and most Spanish people recognise me as a "guiri" after a while, although they are not always sure which foreign country I hail from.
Collapse


 

Francesco Sani  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:12
Italian to English
+ ...
Native or not, it is your current level of knowledge that matters. Apr 26, 2017

Tom in London wrote:

I am a native speaker of English. I live in the UK.

I lived and worked in Italy for more than 20 years, hardly ever speaking English to anyone. I speak Italian without an accent and Italian sometimes ask me what part of Tuscany I'm from.

But I am NOT native in Italian and it really ****** me off to see others here who claim to be native in it as well as being native in English.

You can't be born in two places and you can't be native in two languages, no matter how fluent you are in both of them. That's just simple logic.

You might have been born in Italy and spoken Italian in the family circle, before moving to (say) America, where English became your first language as you grew up, but you can't say it's your NATIVE language. Even if your Italian is old and restricted to family chats, is is still your native language.


i think you have a point

Thanks for your input, it is like a reverse story to mine...

There is nothing to get upset about, people can get too stuck on labels etc.

I think that as long as you do not lie about your history and heritage then there is nothing

wrong to feel that your new / adopted language has become your own - okay, so it is not

'native' but we are more interested in what is a workable language for translation work.


Frankly if someone were 'native' in a language that they had not used for thirty years

it would be like saying that you have a ten-year no-claims bonus based on keeping your car

parked the entire time: would you not trust more someone who had a couple of accidents

but has recent experience of driving that car in all conditions than someone who on paper

has a better record but has no idea about driving?

I would rather pay someone with working knowledge of a second language, native or not,

to do my translation into or from that language, than someone who was born in that language

but subsequently abandoned it: I would rather have someone doing a good job now than

someone doing a good job thirty years ago...

That is my own point of view, sorry if I offended anyone (unintentionally)!


 
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







SDL Trados Business Manager Lite
Create customer quotes and invoices from within SDL Trados Studio

SDL Trados Business Manager Lite helps to simplify and speed up some of the daily tasks, such as invoicing and reporting, associated with running your freelance translation business.

More info »
TM-Town
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »



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