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1: He is a speaker.
2: He is an English speaker. ('English' functions in an adjective role to modify 'speaker')
3: He is a native English speaker. (is 'native' an adjective in relation to 'speaker'? I was thinking that it was perhaps modifying 'English' which in itself is an adjective. I have it right now, I think. Emotion: thinking
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I think it modifies both: a native (English speaker). An old (pipe seller). An angry (animal doctor).
Jackson66121: He is a speaker.
2: He is an English speaker. ('English' functions in an adjective role to modify 'speaker')
3: He is a native English speaker. (is 'native' an adjective in relation to 'speaker'? I was thinking that it was perhaps modifying 'English' which in itself is an adjective. I have it right now, I think.
It seems to me that you can analyze this either way.

"a native English speaker" can be "a native speaker of English" or "a speaker of native English", though I believe that the first is the more common paraphrase.

In the first, both native and English modify speaker. The speaker was born into an English-speaking community. (The opposite is "a non-native speaker of English".)

In the second native modifies English and English modifies speaker. The English spoken is practically indistinguishable from that of a person born into an English-speaking community. (The opposite is "a speaker of non-native English", i.e., a speaker of foreign-sounding or heavily accented English.)

Others may disagree.

CJ
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Mister MicawberI think it modifies both: a native (English speaker). An old (pipe seller). An angry (animal doctor).
I'm not sure I understood this. By saying "modifies both", it seems you are saying this.

a native speaker of native English
an old seller of old pipes
an angry doctor of angry animals

But because of your parentheses, I doubt it. I think you're saying it (the first adjective) modifies the final noun.

a native speaker of English
an old seller of pipes
an angry doctor of animals

Or you may be saying something else. Emotion: smile

Actually, old pipe seller seems a little ambiguous to me. It could be a seller of old pipes.

CJ
What I'm doing is trying to step outside the box, Jim, and suggest that in many cases we can't really assign the adjective to another single referent. The cases I mean are those in which the noun phrase is a single concept: English speaker, animal doctor, ballroom dancer.

If I say 'He's an old animal doctor', I don't see that the speaker means either that he treats old animals or that he is an old doctor per se; the speaker means 'He's an old veterinarian'. I don't think I have to generate more examples for you to see what I'm saying.
Mister MicawberIf I say 'He's an old animal doctor', I don't see that the speaker means either that he treats old animals or that he is an old doctor per se; the speaker means 'He's an old veterinarian'.
Actually, I think I did misunderstand your focus on compound nouns. Got it now.

CJ
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Thank you, Mr Micawber, CJ, for your explanations.

I get it now. 'English speaker' should be treated as a single unit, a noun phrase.
CalifJimI'm not sure I understood this.
It's not that I don't understand it. It's that "misunderstood" which I need to confirm something about. When you were in the process of writing that post there could be two possiblities: either you misunderstood it completely, or you had several interpretations and wasn't really sure which one was really meant. I believe you had the latter in mind. By using "misunderstood" you tilted the balance toward the hypothetical, doubtful side, otherwise everything was pretty much happening in present tense context at that time. Do you find my analysis correct? Please let me know.
Perhaps, you ignored it, don't know. Would you please care to comment if my approach is correct?
hmmm

still waiting bro... ?
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