I sincerely apologize for posting this question. I believe this has been posted before, but somehow the forum does not seem to support keyword-searching anymore.
I googled the two terms, and found that both are used in books. I recalled back in school one expression was considered "wrong" or "chinglish", but now I do not know which is which. Can anyone help break down the analysis of which is correct and why the other is wrong ? Thanks a ton.
You want native English speaker, not English native speaker.
Yes! You want native English speaker, not English native speaker.
Here is the reason:
A person who speaks English is an English speaker.

The person (the English speaker) is speaking English in a native manner.
Native modifies "English" and not the person (speaker). A native person is someone who is living in the place where they were born, or the original inhabitants of a country (native Americans were called Indians)
Thus, the correct sequence is native (which modifies) English (which modifies) speaker.
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Thanks for the explanation. But isn't it also common to say "are you a native speaker? who is a native speaker? I am a native speaker" in all of which "native" modifies "speaker". 
Yes, you are right. I was only explaining the order in the example. The person's language language can be omitted. In that case, we assume that the language is the one which is spoken where the speaker is living.
You can also specify the language this way::
Are you a native speaker of Chinese?
I'd say you can use either, but "native English speaker" is marginally more logical and definitely more commonly used, so I'd go for that... however, since "native speaker of English" is also correct (as has been pointed out), "English native speaker" is not wrong.

- Dave
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I'm a Canadian native speaker of English.Emotion: smile

Clive Hi,I'm a Canadian native speaker of English.Clive
Hi Clive,

I would like to have a penfriend. If you have time free time. Can I drop one line to my personnal email in order I have you contact details to write to you (Email Removed). Many thanks in advance for your attention!

Best regards,


Thank you very much for the invitation, but I'd rather not.Emotion: smile

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