The benefits and drawbacks of native vs non-native speakers of English

Автор: Островская Марина Игоревна

Организация: -

Населенный пункт: г. Санкт-Петербург

If I were to remake a film “Catch me if you can”, I would make it about English teachers. In the film, an imposter personifies a pilot, a doctor, a Secret Service agent. In real life, an English teacher personifies a dictionary, a podcast, an encyclopedia and a grammar index.

Jokes aside, non-native English speakers are under a constant pressure – not only do we have to know how to form a third conditional, we must also make no mistake using it. Having mastered all constructions and being certain of how to pronounce difficult words, we realize that we are standing on a quicksand of new vocabulary, changing grammar and trendy concepts like mindfulness and sustainability. But we are focused, determined and, worst of all, perfectionists. Although after fighting this battle, a squeaky voice in our heads pronounces, “But language is not only about rules and words and skills. What about cultural aspects?”.

Why it seems easier for native speakers is because they have been presented to classic Dickens, feminist Woolf and tiresome Dreiser at schools. While we were busy understanding Dostoevsky and drowning in Tolstoy’s novels, native speakers were given an opportunity to learn something actually useful for our jobs. We are both expected to be experts in the lines of successions when it comes to the British throne, but as a non-native speaker, I also know all about the Rurikid and Romanov dynasties.

All of that aside, I understand how hard it might be for native speakers. I can easily juggle the explanation and the translations of the words. It is no difficulty for me to use my personal experience with this particular language and predict my students’ hardships. I can curse and blame the medieval English monks for their orthography, as they were not my country’s monks. Those things would be empirically or ethically tough for native speakers.

To conclude with, would I have pushed a magic button and turned into a native speaker, if I had been given an opportunity at the beginning of my career? Probably, yes. Would I have regretted that decision later? Probably, yes.

Опубликовано: 24.12.2021