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Native Language shown on comments and profile

I think it would be helpful for each user to enter their native language which will become visible on their profile and on any comments/translations that are done. This would help when corrections are being made to translations that are based more on grammar or colloquial language as well as help identify those users that have a knowledge of the language as a native speaker.

May 20, 2013



Thanks for the suggestion! For now, you can add this type of info to your short bio. It would be nice to see someone's native language.

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Please remember, if you implement this, that some of us have more than one native language :)


The "displaying a native language will improve language discussions" argument is somewhat problematic to me. Isn't it more important for users, native or not, to provide sources for the things they say? For example, you might not know a word in your own language, but a non-native could prove its existence with a dictionary. Some users seem to think that nativeness makes people infallible which is often far from the case. Instead of arguing over nativeness, it's better to base arguments on more objective sources like dictionaries and grammar books.


I agree with you that being a native speaker doesn't make you am authority and the use of grammar books and dictionary's etc. is always advisable. But as the aim of learning a language is to become fluent and understand colloquial language and all the irregularities within a language, spoken and written, I think having a native or fluent speaker advising on these facts is also helpful.


You're right, of course. I'm glad that there are so many helpful natives around (who are perfectly able to explain the things they say). My main concern was with people starting an argument by saying that something wrong without presenting any evidence or alternative. That kind of discussion is potentially confusing and it's a shame that other people have to spend time debunking it. I find it particularly hurtful when people try to counter other people's arguments by asking "are you a native?". It hasn't happened to me personally (probably because people can see I'm a white guy), but I've seen it happen to others (even staff members). I don't expect any of you to act like that, but I just wanted to point out that nativeness can be pretty personal.


Native speakers might not be entirely accurate, but they would be able to give useful advice on what sounds natural vs formal. We don't always speak like the dictionary or grammar books even if we try to write like them. They would also be able to explain the context of the sentence if it does not make sense to the learner, which is important on sentences that are less straightforward. I think it should be added though because I want to find more native speakers of my target language so I can practice with them. It would not hurt to add it, it would just apply to anything else contributed on this website: use your own judgment and look at varying sources.


I was struggling learning to speak Dutch, in Nashville of all places, and I paid a young Dutch lady to tutor me in pronunciation. She was barely out of high school, working in some kind of non-paid missionary work, on a sort of adventure to America, and while she did help me with my lousy pronunciation, I will always remember the day I told her, in my halting mangled Dutch, that speaking Dutch was "taai" (tough) for me, and she didn't recognize the word, which I spelled for her. The next time we met she said, "Oh I spoke to my father on the phone and he told me you are right, and 'taai' is a Dutch word". Learners are so into dictionaries and so democratically remembering all kinds of words, some of the words we learn are not words that all native speakers use or know.


I fully agree. The only advantage I see to knowing someone's native tongue is how to explain something to them. If someone asks a question in a German forum, and I see that French is their native tongue, I'd explain it to them in French rather than English. Or, if their native language is a language I don't speak (like Russian or Mandarin), I would be more likely to respond in simpler terms than if it was an native English speaker.


I totally agree. It could possibly be even better with a scale of proficiency. My native language is French, but I am fluent in English. Specifying such a thing would be important so that someone I help knows I know the language, and not just learning it.

Or maybe a way to test yourself in a language you already know in order to quickly get to a high level.


I have listed my native language as well as languages that I'm interested in learning in the About Me section on my profile. This is good enough for me for now, although it wouldn't bother me if they implemented a way to list it next to your avatar in the future.

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