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Native speaker. From idealization to politicization

Abstract : By politicization, I refer to a process that leads to the fact that native speaker, as a linguistic categorization, issaid to be conveying political ideologies about language. Initiated in the late 1960s by Hymes’s searching critique of the ideal speaker-listener (Chomsky 1965), this movement was to be taken to a globalized level with the “emergence of subaltern voices” in postcolonial settings – a phenomenon that is translated as the “rise of World Englishes” in the field of applied linguistics. Even if central in many current bodies of work, the politicization of linguistic concepts does not go without practical as well as theoretical problems of which researchers are obviously aware. In that sense, the goal of this paper is also to show that the politicization of the term native speaker leads, paradoxically, to the rejection of politics outside the boundaries of scientific theory to a certain extent. In other words, native speaker would not be a proper category for linguistics precisely because it is more political than scientifically accurate. Politicizing the term would then be a way of lessening its scientific relevance by emphasizing its ideological dimension: native speaker would primarily be an ideology of the nation-state.
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Contributor : Valelia MUNI TOKE Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, February 2, 2015 - 1:06:35 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 2:11:48 PM


  • HAL Id : ird-01111963, version 1



Valelia Muni Toke. Native speaker. From idealization to politicization. Histoire Epistémologie Langage, 2013, 35 (2), pp.69-93. ⟨ird-01111963⟩



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