A Critical Discussion of a Postmodern Approach to the Concept of the Native Speaker

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GRIN Verlag, Oct 1, 2009 - 28 pages
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Seminar paper from the year 2009 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Linguistics, grade: A, - (Kings College London), course: Theory and Methodologies of the Social Sciences, language: English, abstract: This paper argues for the prominent influence of the postmodernist paradigm on the evolution of the concept of the native speaker and, focusing on one particular postmodern theory, proposes to examine several views of the concept that offer alternative definitions that could be suitable for all speakers who do not fit neatly in the clear-cut categories represented by the terms native and non-native speaker. This paper recognises the validity of several propositions particularly the notions of home language, expertise and affiliation, but suggests that there is no unique solution; different concepts cater for different aspects of the relationship between the speaker and the language, and the concept of the 'native speaker' is not one of them. Indeed, given its fuzzy nature, its irrelevance in the present world with its shifting language practices, and its inadequacy in meeting the need for valid definitions, this paper sympathises with Paikeday's statement (1985) that 'the native speaker is dead'.

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