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<...All we'd need to do would be to collect some short pieces of writing, post them here, and see how good MrPedantic is at detecting whether a writer is a native speaker of English or not...>

Of course, we would need to know that the non-native writer had composed the piece without aid, and that the native speaker had no intention to deceive.

For instance, it might be possible for a non-native speaker to create a patchwork from existing native texts. Eventually, of course, he might cobble together two texts that didn't quite accord; but it might be quite convincing for a while.

MrP
I don't think you can necessarily tell if someone is a native speaker.

However, you CAN tell when someone is not a native speaker.
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Nona The BritI don't think you can necessarily tell if someone is a native speaker.

However, you CAN tell when someone is not a native speaker.

What's the difference? Emotion: rolleyes
EnglishuserI agree. But it also depends a lot on how dedicated the writer is. You can surely write a page or two without sounding non-native at all, for instance, even though you are not a native speaker of a language.

I think Indians, Filipinos, Singaporeans, or people from other bilingual English-and-mother-tongue-language speaking countries can be able to do that, and there would be no way for you to tell where they are from.
SimplyblessedwithloveI think Indians, Filipinos, Singaporeans, or people from other bilingual English-and-mother-tongue-language speaking countries can be able to do that, and there would be no way for you to tell where they are from.
Actually, Singlish is fairly distinct. That said, I can't tell whether a Singlish speaker is a L1 speaker. (Can't speak for the others -- waiting to hear from them)
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Hello everyone,

Some of you seem to be very confident as far as their ability to distinguish between native and non-native writers of English is concerned. What about posting some text samples for you to assess?

Let me know what you think,

Englishuser
no thanks, rather a pointless excercise.

Sorry if my statement was confusing.

I meant

You can't necessarily tell if someone is a native speaker: A piece of writing could be either by a native speaker or a non-native with a high level of English and you have no way of knowing which it is.

You CAN tell if someone is a non-native speaker. Most non-natives don't have the skill to fall under the category above and it becomes obvious that they are non-native speakers/writers. It's true that many natives also make mistakes and errrors, but they tend to be of a different type. Non-native writing of a good level can still stand out through unatural word choices, creep from their own native grammar and syntax, inappropriate use of idiom. Basically, the 'flavour' of the writing is different.

Although what is a native speaker anyway? Something that seems odd to me might be perfectly normal in another version of English. All I can realistically do is recognise most non-native British-English writing.
Hi nona the brit,

You wrote:
A piece of writing could be either by a native speaker or a non-native with a high level of English and you have no way of knowing which it is.
Non-native writing of a good level can still stand out through unatural word choices, creep from their own native grammar and syntax, inappropriate use of idiom. Basically, the 'flavour' of the writing is different.
Something that seems odd to me might be perfectly normal in another version of English. All I can realistically do is recognise most non-native British-English writing.
I totally agree with you. Let's see what MrPedantic thinks...

Englishuser
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I still believe that you can tell a non-native 90% of the time though as few get to true native standard or style. When you meet an immigrant who has been living in England for 50 or more years, quite often their English is still not exactly the same as a native's.
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