Why the dichotomy ‘L1 versus LX user’ is better than ‘native versus non-native speaker'

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Dewaele, Jean-Marc (2018)

The traditional dichotomy, ‘native’ versus ‘non-native speaker’ has to be rejected because of the inherent ideological assumptions about the superiority of the former and the inferiority of the latter. Cook's (2002) substitution of ‘non-native speaker’ by ‘L2 user’ represented a big step forward in creating a more balanced dichotomy but it kept the first part, namely the term ‘native speaker’. The present contribution argues that the final step should be the substitution of ‘native speaker’ by ‘L1 user’. The dichotomy ‘L1 user’ versus ‘LX user’ does not imply that one is superior to the other. They are equal and can be complementary. It also suggests that variation can exist within both L1(s) and LX(s) and that all individuals can be multicompetent users of multiple languages.
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