It is said that native speakers are preferred because of their knowledge about their own culture.
First of all, I’m not at all sold on the idea of language and culture having strong relationship, the belief that language is influenced by culture, especially when talking about wide-spread languages like Spanish, Russian, French, Arabic and English.
A native speaker of Spanish from Barcelona and one from La Paz
There will most certainly be vocabulary differences related to business and technology but the core language is still Spanish, as a tool of communication is still Spanish,
whereas the culture is vastly different.
We could probably make a similar comparison between North and Sound Korean language
How about a native English speaker from Miami Florida and one from Dublin Ireland
I’m really fuzzy on the relationship between culture and language,
but for the sake of argument let us agree that they are closely related, to teach a foreign language you need knowledge of the culture.
My first question is: who is that English language teacher who would be so bold to say that he or she knows Anglophone culture.
An English teacher from Buffalo New York telling you he knows American culture,
America, this melting pot, the most multicultural country in the world.
Really you know American culture? You speak on behalf of 320 million people
What does an ESL teacher born in Canada to Indian parents know about Canadian culture? What is Canadian culture?
Even I, born and raised in a small country, would not presume to say that I know Bulgarian culture, stereotype people one way or another, make sweeping generalizations about what Bulgarians are like
My second question: is that the job of a language teacher, explaining culture?
If you want to know about American or British culture just read books written by experts on the subject,
don’t listen to some guy from Birmingham England,
save yourself some time and money and buy an online course for instance
Or just google it, meanings of idiomatic expressions, etymology of words and so on and so forth.
Dictionaries, Wikipedia, forums, it’s all there, for free
The last point I want to make is that
by becoming the only true global language, English belongs to nobody culturally, socially or any other way
Nobody can make cultural, social, ethnic claims on the English language, it belongs to the world now.
This culture and native speaker argument
is such a ridiculous one, you won’t find anything about culture in my book Virtually Native, but you know what you are going to find, you will find how to use movies to learn English.
The truth of the matter is that to master a foreign language you need to listen to a lot of native and non-native speech and the best and most fun way to do that is through movies and TV shows, you practice your listening and learn about culture,
Movies are the best way to learn about a culture.
In the chapter on Listening I talk a lot about learning English through movies, something native speakers know nothing about