Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Vol.6. No.4 December  2015                                           Pp 141-152

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Deconstructing the Dichotomy of Native and Non-Native speakers of English: An Analysis of Current Research 

Nawal I Alhodithi
Composition & TESOL Program, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Indiana, PA, USA


This paper deconstructs the dichotomy of native (NS) and non-native (NNS) speakers of English and their assumed roles as experts and novices, respectively, during interactions. The paper adopts a qualitative methodology inspired by the lenses of discourse analysis and social constructivism. In an attempt to discover how the identities of NSs and NNSs are being constructed by researchers, two types of studies were analyzed. First, studies that constructed the NS as a relative expert compared to the NNS were examined. Second, studies that deconstructed the notion of native as experts through various methods were analyzed. The author argues that NSs’ linguistic experiences should not be the defining elements of expertise in these interactions; rather, individual characteristics and expertise must be factored into the equation. In conclusion, the social construct of the expert-novice identities among NS and NNS is unfair to both parties, especially to the NNS. Implications for teachers and suggestions for future research are also discussed.
Keywords: expert-novice, linguistic competence, native speakers, non-native speakers, peer-response groups


Nawal Alhodithi is a PhD candidate in English Composition and TESOL at Indiana University
of Pennsylvania. She has a Master of Arts in English (TESL) from the University of Central
Oklahoma and a Bachelor degree in English Education from King Khaled University in KSA.