Native Speaker Credibility

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Native speaker credibility refers to the level of competence a student of language aspires to achieve whereby their grasp of the new language is as good as that of a native speaker.

I struggle with the idea that I don’t belong anywhere. Despite English being my first language, I grew up in a foreign land. Being asked, over and over again, “Where are you from? I mean, originally?” leaves me with the idea that I am being identified and positioned as Other due to how I look and sound.

I look Chinese. East Asian, if you’d like to play it safe. I look female. I sound – I do not sound like the other East Asian people on this isle. I do not sound Chinese. I sound the way I do depending on who I am speaking to and what the situation is. I am an actor; a shape-changing, voice-morphing, alien attempting to move from moment to moment, trying to communicate with other beings without being shot out of the sky. What information can I present to you, faster than the speed of light, before you process and project your data onto me?

 

Image: Le Soleil de Paris 1977 – Chagall

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