Nativism or… English like wot we speak!

After spending a few days in London I am now back in Italy with my two kitties!


The last time I visited my family was in summer 2014 and things have, since then, changed a great deal. The roads are dirtier, there is a lot more pollution as a whole, and people’s language has deteriorated- please don’t take this the wrong way, in my family there are many who have learnt English and/or other languages without any formal language training so I know how one cannot expect accuracy all the time.

One of my ‘hobbies’ is observing and listening to those around me so I observed and listened for six days. The samples of language I picked up on were, for me, bad and generally from native-speakers. Here are just a couple:

There was much of ’em steps

The chocolates like what mum ‘n’ nanna likes

I had to switch off teacher mode. I felt very self-conscious when I realised I was cringing from time to time.

You may be wondering why I’m writing this. It is not to be critical of the people I listened to and interacted with (that’s the way they speak in the area I was in) but because it made me even more aware of how hard all the non-native speakers I know, be they family, colleagues, students, or teachers, work on their language in order to speak well. Many shop assistants were non-natives (their accents gave them away) but I can assure you their grammar was extremely accurate!

Non-native teachers of English really have it hard in the world of ELT and yet all you have to do is go to London for a weekend and you learn to appreciate them even more.

Some state that NNSs do not provide good samples of language but… do non-teaching NSs?