Call for Papers: 49th Annual Northeastern Modern Language Association (NeMLA) Conference
The German Studies Call for Papers List
Editor: Sean Franzel
Assistant Editor: Olaf Schmidt
Sponsored by the University of Missouri
Info available at:
April 12-15, 2018, Pittsburgh, PA
Session Title: "Interrogating the Native Speaker Ideal in Second Language Curricula"
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 ideal.
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
construct, when the most prevalent model voices heard in instruction
reflect “accent free”--in the linguistic and the cultural sense--regions
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?
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
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 interactions?
- What are the ethical or social implications of the native speaker construct? 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 https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/16900.
For questions, contact Dr. Karin Maxey ([log in to unmask]) and Dr. Amanda Randall ([log in to unmask]).