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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10445/8045

Title: Speakerhood Status, Institutional Discourse and Voices from the Inside: An Exploration of the Native-Speaker Criterion and Native-Speakerism in Japanese Higher Education
Authors: Rivers, Damian
Abstract: Despite obvious theoretical shortcomings (Musha-Doerr, 2009) and roots within the politics of nation-state affiliation (Bonfiglio, 2010; Hutton, 1999), the term “native speaker” has remained a stable point of reference within linguistics and foreign language education for at least half a century (Coulmas, 1981; Houghton and Rivers, 2013). However, the past three decades have given notable rise to increased expressions of dissatisfaction with the centralized language models which “native speakers” are seen as being innately bound to. Evidence of this discontent is reflected in the rise of World Englishes (Kachru, 1985, 1992) and other more contemporary evolutions such as English as an International Language (Jenkins, 2000) and English as a Lingua Franca (Seidlhofer, 2005, 2011). But, these supposedly progressive approaches to language use and appraisal—as reactions against centralized cores of language use and political power—continue to make reference to the concept of the “native speaker”. This referential act legitimizes a profoundly illegitimate linguistic point of reference and crudely divides speakers of English into those who have (i.e., “natives”) and those who do not have (i.e., “non-natives”) the desired attributes. The mistaken principle being that all “native speakers” of English are assumed to have “perfect competence and therefore right to ownership” thus further connecting “linguistic identity and political membership by the way of the nation” (Hackert, 2009: 306). So why is the term “native speaker” so prevalent within institutional discourse? The starting position of this lecture is that continued use of the term “native speaker” in employment advertisements, employment categorization and curriculum design relates to Japanese sociohistorical constructions of a bounded homogenous nation-state with a fixed language and fixed speech community (Befu, 2001; Lie, 2001). Consequently, when the term “native speaker” is casually used within the Japanese context—without formal definition or validating research evidence (Rivers, 2013a, 2013b)—powerful links between the individual, nation-state membership and supposed language competency are reaffirmed (Hackert, 2012; Rivers, 2010b, 2012d).
Research Achievement Classification: 国内学会/Domestic Conference
Type: Conference Paper
Peer Review: 招待/invited
Solo/Joint Author(s): 単著/solo
Date: 7-Mar-2015
Appears in Collections:Damian Rivers

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