Has anyone else noticed that there seem to be several non-native English speakers here who have only entered 'English' on their profile?
While I'm all for freedom of choice, and would uphold anyone's right to state that their mother tongue is Klingon if they so desire....I can't help thinking that claiming that a particular language is the only one you speak is a teeny little bit dishonest.If someone has an English user name, five green bars for English and no other language on their profile, other users will naturally presume that this is their native language.
But this isn't always the case. On a number of occasions recently I've seen answers in unnatural and sometimes even completely incorrect English given by users who seem to be suggesting that English is their first language. These errors are obvious to any native speaker. The problem is that the OP often doesn't realise that the fluent and confident answer they've received is actually inaccurate, and they accept it in good faith.
What do other members think? Is this nobody's business but their own? Should we be able to state - or omit - whatever we want on our profiles? Or do we have a duty to other users to make it clear when we are giving advice about a language of which we have a fluent but imperfect command?
I agree with you Su.ki. There are also others who say they are fluent (not native) in a given language when in reality they're far from it.
Something else I've noticed is that if you don't "look" native or if your name isn't "native" (whatever a native name might be in a country), people automatically assume that you're lying about your language ability.
It's a shame how people don't understand that in this day and age you have many cultures mixing in different countries a person may have a different cultural background, yet still be as native as someone else especially in western countries.
It's a free forum so anybody can post. If there is a wrong correction, then other people can correct it. I dare say even though I am a native speaker of English, I get things wrong in English on occasions. Please feel free to discuss or correct me. I don't have a deep background in English language or literature though I am open to witty remarks. :-)
I'm surprised nobody's brought up the "downvote" tool in Italki!
You'll notice that unlike Facebook Italki allows you do "dislike" anything you see. Why did they bother including a tool so obviously prone to personal abuse?
I think it's intended exactly to expose bad corrections. If you see a bad correction it's your duty to downvote it, no matter if you hurt the feelings of the poster.
As for bad advice, it's a more contentious matter. If advice is given respectfully to the person who asked I definitely won't downvote, even if I disagree. But if someone posts something insulting, support the questioner and downvote the comment!
Last time I posted something about this topic, a Canadian teacher called me racist. It seems like dishonesty is the new normal.
I completely agree with you SU.KI. Perhaps some people do this as a way to gain a language partner, due to the fact that there is a lot of demand for English speakers. I tend to stay away from correcting others grammar, due to currently improving my own. I realised that the state of my grammar was quite poor, and I was quite lazy when it came to checking what I had typed. So now, I help people only with the pronunciation of words, and also their meaning, and tell people I won’t help with their grammar because I wouldn’t want to mislead them. Although I would say my English is certainly getting better now that I am not so lazy, and I sadly laugh at how bad it had gotten, since I got an A in A level English at college.