‘Non-native English-speaking teachers’ (NNESTs) have tended to be conceptualized within ELT along the same lines as NNS in general. The second language acquisition literature traditionally ‘elevates an idealized ‘‘native’’ speaker above a stereotypicalized ‘‘nonnative’’, while viewing the latter as a defective communicator, limited by an underdeveloped communicative competence’ (Firth and Wagner 1997: 285). The resulting (in)competence dichotomy positions the NNS/NNEST as a deficient or less than-native speaker (cf. ‘near-native’, Valdes 1998). In an attempt to solve this problem, a number of alternative terms have been suggested, for example ‘proficient user’ (Paikeday 1985), ‘language expert’ (Rampton 1990), ‘English-using speech fellowship’ (Kachru 1992), and ‘multicompetent speaker’ (Cook 1999). However, the field is still a long way from reaching a consensus about whether to adopt any of these labels.

By Ali Fuad Selvi

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