who's a native speaker?

Page Stephens hpst at EARTHLINK.NET
Tue Feb 3 10:32:52 UTC 2004


If I were you I'd stick to your original criteria even for online
publications since if you attempt to narrow it down you will only end up in
a quibble over terminology or an academic shit fight which is even worse.
The only caveat I have in terms online writing is that it is impossible to
know whether an online writer meets these criteria but that would be true no
matter what the criteria were.

Plato is long dead as are platonic ideals. "American English" is an
abstraction which does not and never has existed. Take it from an expert: If
you attempt to restrict the criteria further you will inevitably get in

Great project but just don't make more problems for yourself than are
absolutely necessary.

In other words ignore the idiots who make quibbling over terminology their
raison d'etre and keep up the good work.

Page Stephens

----- Original Message -----
From: "Erin McKean" <editor at VERBATIMMAG.COM>
Sent: Monday, February 02, 2004 4:41 PM
Subject: who's a native speaker?

> ---------------------- Information from the mail
header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Erin McKean <editor at VERBATIMMAG.COM>
> Subject:      who's a native speaker?
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Folks  -- does anyone want to weigh in or point me towards sources
> about who is or who isn't a "native speaker" of American English?
> We're trying to hammer out guidelines for people who want to
> contribute their online writing to the American National Corpus
> project (http://americannationalcorpus.org).
> Right now, for some published authors, we're taking birth in the US
> or working/writing in the US for more than X amount of time. This
> seems to work because this published writing is heavily edited by US
> copyeditors, etc.
> However, the same rule seems a little lax for online, unedited
> American English, as it doesn't take into account home language or
> anything like that. We don't want to be unduly restrictive, but at
> the same time we don't want to get too much unrepresentative writing
> in the corpus.
> Again, this is for WRITTEN material, not spoken, which means that
> there will be, I would hope, fewer issues than with near-native
> spoken American English, even though it is very casual writing.
> Any help would be appreciated.
> Thanks!
> Erin McKean
> editor at verbatimmag.com

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