The notion of the native speaker put to the test: Recent research advances

Mila Vulchanova*, Valentin Vulchanov, Antonella Sorace, Cristina Suarez-Gomez, Pedro Guijarro-Fuentes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The notion of the native speaker has occupied a prominent place in foreign/second language research and theoretical linguistics: it has influenced both the way we theorize about language and the way we conduct empirical research, and has had practical implications concerning second language pedagogy. In the second language tradition, it was needed as a norm and a standard to evaluate L2 attainment, and, as such, has functioned as a benchmark in terms of goals for L2 instruction (Davies, 2003). In line with this tradition, second language and lingua franca speakers' achievements have ideally been compared with those of monolingual native speakers, although these constitute different groups of speakers, with different needs and abilities. In a similar vein, much psycholinguistic and bilingualism research uses the “native speaker” norm, based on an idealized first language (L1) competence, adopting the inclusion of a control group of monolingual speakers of the language as default in empirical research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number875740
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Early online date29 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • language competence
  • native speaker
  • psycholinguistics
  • second language acquisition
  • sociolinguistics and bilingualism


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