[Deactivated user]
what are the requirements for an English speaker who's not a native speaker?

I'd think that a complete mastery of the English grammar along with perfect pronunciation is mandatory. But how deep and excessive their vocabulary should be?

for example, if I'm studying English with a Russian teacher and ask how 'ward' (in my native tongue) is translated into English and he/she would give me a blank stare and a shrug. This person is unfit to teach English because he/she doesn't perfectly know vocab. Or the contrary? 


your thoughts?


can't edit the title, I meant English teacher... ;(

Apr 7, 2017 4:15 PM
Comments · 18

I think that "perfect" grammar and "perfect" pronunciation from a non-native speaker in any language is a lot to ask. Of course, we should all try our best when we are learning a new language, and we should all strive to get as close to perfection as we can.

That being said, fluency is different for everyone. Why are you learning English? Is it for work? School? Friends? Each purpose leads to a different sort of fluency. Even native speakers each have a different set of vocabulary they commonly use. Someone who is a doctor may not know all of the words that a computer technician knows, and vice versa, even though they are both speaking English. In your Russian teacher's case, they probably have no reason to know the word "ward," as they've probably never had to use it. Sometimes, learning thousands of words that you'll never use is unnecessary. If you just love vocabulary, then go for it! :) However, everyone that learns a language has a different reason for learning it, and may not need to learn every single word in existence.

April 7, 2017

In Serbia they have to have a university degree in the language they are teaching. There are no other requirements, as far as I know. On italki they have to have C2 level, but nobody is checking if they really do so they can easily cheat. After having heard some opinions of native speakers about some non native teachers' pronunciation and grammar, and having seen some teachers' profiles and discussions, I would only ever pick a non native teacher if I have a trusted native's confirmation that he or she speaks well. Native teachers from various colonies fall into the same category.

April 30, 2017
Ah ah, that sounds like a good case of "Yeahhhh, I'll let you research that...".
April 7, 2017

Some native speakers might not have very extensive vocabularies. But they certainly have enough to get by :)

In the 1970's, English grammar was not taught in some schools, including mine.

I cannot remember saying or writing the word "ward" in the past 18 months prior to visiting a hospital yesterday.

The word 'ward' can have very different meanings. It depends on the context.  

The best teachers admit they don't know everything and encourage you to clarify the context and look up the word.

I don't have a set requirement as to how deep or extensive their knowledge of the language has to be. But I would expect it to be at least at level C1 under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (or its equivalent elsewhere) to help me learn the basics.  I don't expect them to be able to explain the grammar.

Was just about to post this and noticed your update :) 

I haven't used the word "wart" for ages either.  Last time was when I saw a toad.  

April 7, 2017
In terms of single word that confused you, a good dictionary would be the best tool for you to approach and understand the new word. I consider even though the best teacher needs a good dictionary at times to confirm the answer. 
April 29, 2017
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