*Call for Papers: 49th Annual Northeastern Modern Language Association
(NeMLA) Conference*

April 12-15, 2018, Pittsburgh, PA

*Session Title: *"Interrogating the Native Speaker Ideal in Second Language

*Session Chairs: *Dr. Karin Maxey (Vassar College) & Dr. Amanda Randall
(St. Olaf College)

*Description:* Since the 1990s, foreign language instructors and
researchers have called for the subversion of the nativespeaker construct.
Perhaps the most well-known of these calls comes from Claire Kramsch
(1997), who suggests that the term "native speaker" itself is ill-defined,
and that non-native speakers have valuable perspectives on a language and
culture as non-members of a group. Similarly, Cem Alptekin criticizes the
utopian, monolithic idea of native speakership as a linguistic myth (2002,
see also Singh 1998, Hensel 2000, Liddicoat, 2016).

Yet, despite declarations from others that “the native speaker is dead”
(Paikeday, 1985) this construct remains for language teachers and students
the ideal example of proper language usage. Commercial curriculum packages
routinely follow this model: whether the discourse is didactically
contrived or extemporaneous, ethnically-marked native speakers demonstrate
the standard language in audio and video recordings for students to
emulate. Even as the broadening cultural diversity of the German-speaking
world, for example, are gaining recognition in language curricula and
instruction--albeit often as a side-issue or separate unit, not fully
integrated as a part of mainstream culture--the regionally “unmarked” native
 German speakerpersists as the spoken and written linguistic and cultural

Studies have shown that second language learners, even language majors,
rarely reach a state of nativeness, whether in speaking (Glisan et
al. 2013) or reading and listening (Tschirner 2016). Scholars thus continue
to wonder whether we are setting impossible goals for students by striving
for a particular native speaker ideal (Cook 2007, Medgyes 1992). In this
session, we ask: What are the social and ethical implications of the “native
 speaker” construct, when the most prevalent model voices heard in
instruction reflect “accent free”--in the linguistic and the cultural
sense--regions or cultural backgrounds? What role should awareness-raising
of language ideologies play in the foreign language classroom?

We invite papers that consider these and other critical questions:

   - How do teaching practices reinforce or challenge monolithic or
   exclusionary ethnic constructs of the nativespeaker?
   - What alternatives to the construct of "nativeness" are there and what
   do they imply for language and cultural learning?
   - Where is the place in the language classroom for the intuitive
   linguistic and cultural knowledge that native speakers possess?
   - What does it mean for language learners to occupy a linguistic and
   cultural in-between space that reflects one’s own learning processes? How
   can instructors help students to embrace the ambiguity that comes with
   developing translingual and transcultural competence?
   - How can one initiate critical conversation about the native
speaker construct
   with students?
   - How do insecurities resulting from aspiring to the idealized native
   speaker manifest themselves in teachers, in students, and in classroom
   - What are the ethical or social implications of the native speaker
   What are strategies used to decenter or subvert it as a means of teaching
   about social justice through language education?

Submit your 300-word abstract by September 30, 2017 at

For questions, contact Dr. Karin Maxey ([log in to unmask]
<[log in to unmask]>) and Dr. Amanda
Randall ([log in to unmask]
<[log in to unmask]>).

The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Sean Franzel
Assistant Editor: Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
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