May 17, 2011

Native


I am sometimes confused with the meaning of the word native, especially when it comes to native English speaker. What I know is, a native English speaker is a person who speaks English as his/her first language, and/or is born in one of the English speaking countries.

According to Oxford Dictionary, the word native [noun] is defined as:
  • a person born in a specified place or associated with a place by birth, whether subsequently resident there or not: native of Montreal
  • a local inhabitant: New York in the summer was too hot even for the natives
  • dated , often offensive a non-white original inhabitant of a country, as regarded by European colonists or travellers.
  • an animal or plant indigenous to a place: the marigold is a native of southern Europe
  • British an oyster reared in British waters.

So, based on my understanding, I am not a native English speaker.

But the thing is that, even though I am not a native English speaker, I speak English as good as those native English speakers. When I still taught in Indonesia, some students often asked me whether I studied abroad in America or England, because I have the native accent. And when I went out with Antonio and his friends, a friend of him who is an English teacher said that I spoke great English as the native speakers had.

Yet, it is difficult for me to apply to some English teacher positions here, which only accept native English speakers. What is wrong actually by not being a native English speaker? I speak English as good as them. Also, because I learned English (and was not born and grew up in an English-speaking environment), I believe I understand English better than the natives, especially about the grammar, which makes me easier to explain it to students (because I used to learn about it, too).

But well, still, for those native-speaker-preferred companies, I am not a native English speaker. Let’s just think positively:

If I don’t get it, then it’s not mine. There are lots of better opportunities for me in the future. God just prepares me for the best.

(I don’t know why Antonio thinks those sentences are meant for the pessimists. I personally think they are full of optimism)


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