I just noticed that I have been promoted 'a proficient speaker' with 'an excellent grasp of the English language'. I don't know when that happened as I don't pay very much attention to these things, but I would like to thank the team for my new role or title or whatever is the right word. Emotion: smile

I hope I'll meet your expectations in the future as well.

Cheers
CB
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Well done! I've always appreciated your posts, and I think you deserve that.

Keep it up!
LOL - Good thing "powers of observation" are not a heavily weighted category, eh?

Anyway, it's well deserved, CB. Your answers are very helpful. Emotion: smile

And just as a note to others, I want to restate that proficient speaker isn't a reward for a number of posts or for being "nice," but to let the people who are learning know that the answer is from a reliable source.
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TanitWell done! I've always appreciated your posts, and I think you deserve that.

Keep it up!
Thank you, Tanit! I'll try to do that. I check these forums quite often but I don't always have very much time to write long posts. Besides, the native members have a better knowledge of colloquialisms and modern English in general. Your appreciation encourages me to go on. Emotion: smileEmotion: smile

CB
Grammar Geek...to let the people who are learning know that the answer is from a reliable source.

Yes, seconded.

MrP
Ok, I know I'm gonna get into trouble and somebody will probably get me wrong, but I decided to post anyway... I'm writing about non-native proficient speakers.

And the comment is exactly on "...to let the people who are learning know that the answer is from a reilable source." Well, what do you mean by "reliable source"? I personally believe that the only reliable sources are native speakers and no one else. Learners can't be like native speakers, unless they have lived in an English speaking country for most of their lives.
Now, before someone gets me wrong already, I'm not saying that proficient speakers shouldn't be trusted or that their English is not good. Cool Breeze is very skilled,[Y] a very advanced learner and I think he deserved that "proficient speaker" status. I believe I, and others too, can learn quite a lot from him. Proficient speakers' English level is generally extremely high for a learner, so they are definitely very very skilled, but...
But they are learners. Ha! So what's the point? Emotion: rolleyes The point is that proficient speakers can't be reilable sources, because they are learners like the others, very very skilled and advanced, but still learners. Now if all learners learn from learners, what advantage do we get, in the end? I consider a reliable source as a model to imitate, and my models are native speakers. Every learner wants to write, speak, and sound like a native speaker. So the distinction I wanted to make is:
proficient speakers = top level students, among the best. Sources of the best advice you can get from non-natives.
native speakes = teachers, the only reliable sources and models to imitate.

Ok, now I'm ready to get scolded, LOL. Emotion: stick out tongue Cool Breeze, forgive me, but I wanted to take advantage of your post to give this opinion, I'm sure you understand me. I believe that even though your English can be considered almost perfect already, you still see native speakers as your main reference point. So in the end I hope you agree with me. Emotion: smile
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Hello Kooyeen,

You make some interesting points. However, I wouldn't myself agree that native speakers (even teachers) are always reliable sources; in terms of standard English, on any ESL forum, you'll find grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and incorrect advice in the posts of native speakers.

Conversely, you'll find non-native speakers who are punctilious in their spelling and grammar, and have a better knowledge of the technicalities of English than many native speakers.

So it wouldn't necessarily help learners to assess the reliability of a poster, if we adopted the distinction you suggest!

All the best,

MrP
Hi Kooyeen

There is nothing to forgive! I am certainly not in the least offended by your post. In fact, I enjoyed reading it tremendously! Emotion: smile I even agree with you to some extent on some of the points you made.

I am the first person to admit that my knowledge of English isn't as good as that of a native speaker. I know that my knowledge of my mother tongue, Finnish, is far better than my English. I am conscious of my shortcomings. May I just point out that all speakers of all living languages are learners. I learn new Finnish words all the time, and native speakers of English learn new words as these words make their way into the language. The learning process is incessant owing to the fact that languages evolve.

You say that every nonnative speaker wants to write, speak and sound like a native speaker. That is not true. I don't. I have mentioned this earlier in my posts in other threads. I have always thought it paradoxical that even though English has an extremely large vocabulary, native speakers are in many situations limited to a few fixed phrases that they 'must' use to sound natural. I don't necessarily want to sound 'natural'. That's why I don't always conform to generally accepted phrases and idioms.

Nor do all others. In the Far East, for example, an English dictionary has been published which contains such words as farang and actsy. They say they have colonised the English language. Emotion: smile English is the lingua franca these days, and whether native speakers like it or not, it will transform in the various localities and connexions where it is used.

Another factor is what I might call national pride -- for lack of a better word. I don't want to sound British, American, Canadian, Australian or anything else when I speak English. I am a Finn and I want to sound Finnish. I know my accent is close to American English and I have been taken for an American on a number of occasions. Finland is an unknown country and I prefer it that people know where I am from when I travel. I am often in for better treatment that way. Finland never colonised anything and has not been involved in any major international wars or skirmishes recently, which means it has few foes. I never have to hear 'Finn, go home' slogans on my travels. A couple of years ago the US embassy in Latvia or Lithuania issued a warning to US citizens travelling in the Baltic countries asking them to keep a low profile and to avoid conversation in a loud voice. We all know why.

You are partly right as to what I consider my 'main reference point' regarding correct usage. It is usually native speakers when the use of a word or an expression is in question. When grammar is involved, we must bear in mind the fact that many authoritative grammar books were written by nonnative speakers such as Otto Jespersen and R.W. Zandvoort. Of course that does not mean that grammar books by natives are no good.

Please feel free to post a reply, Kooyeen. I look forward to it! As a matter of fact, I'm counting on getting one! Emotion: smile

Cheers
CB
PS: I hope no one minds my spelling of nonnative. I have not been able to find a hyphenated non-native in any dictionary.
Phew, I didn't get scolded much, I see! Emotion: stick out tongue
I perfectly understand whay you, CB, and MrPedantic are saying. But I see that we disagree on some points mainly because we are considering the same things form completely different point of views. So in the end it's ok if we disagree! Emotion: smile

I noticed MrP said: Conversely, you'll find non-native speakers who are punctilious in their spelling and grammar, and have a better knowledge of the technicalities of English than many native speakers. Here MrP mentions spelling, grammar and "technicalities" of English. There's no doubt that ESL students knows more than natives about that. Most native speakers don't know what "reported speech" is... and why should they know?

You, CB, said this: May I just point out that all speakers of all living languages are learners. I learn new Finnish words all the time, and native speakers of English learn new words as these words make their way into the language. The learning process is incessant owing to the fact that languages evolve. Here you mention the process of learning, and you focus on "learning new words". Well, I don't think that's exactly what ESL students learn. Very advanced learners may focus on learning more vocabulary and idioms, but beginners and ESL students in general have to master a lot of grammar rules first. And that's what native speakers never did. I just read an article on the net about how we learn to speak our native language when we are still little children. Well, the fact is that maybe you remember when you started to ride you bike and maybe who teached you how to do it, but you probably don't remember when you started to use passive constructions in your sentences. That happens because native speakers never learned grammar rules in order to speak, they learned how to speak jusy by copying what the others said. Basically, they don't need grammar rules at all, since grammar rules were invented in order to describe a language they already know how to speak. For example, I speak Italian as a native speaker, but if you ask me about Italian grammar rules, I'll answer I have absolutely no idea if there are actually any. I just know what would be ok to say and what would not.

So, in the end, I see we disagree on some points because I think you and MrP gave opinions that tend to be from a prescriptive point of view, which takes account of grammar rules and technicalities, while my opinions are basically given from a descripitive point of view. I'm totally against prescriptivism, I'm usually more interested in what natives commonly say than what is formally considered correct. So it's all about "prescriptive VS descriptive" grammar, and maybe this is the reason why we are not agreeing. Now, even if we really strongly disagree on something, I don't think we should kill each other! Everyone has their own opinions, don't they? Emotion: smile
Let me know what you think or if I have misunderstood you. Emotion: smile

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