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Stereotypes About Native English Speakers


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People think Australians are very stupid and most of them do drugs. That isn't true. I've been to Australia and they have a lot of museums. I haven't met any potheads or aggressive people.

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Well actually the native language of the United States of America is English, and one can't really blame Americans for being born and raised in the country that majority of people communicate in one language, which is English.

People tend to think that though Americans are open-minded, and unfortunately, there is a stereotype that Americans are shallow-minded. I don't agree that all of them are.

The American culture is so strong, and it is true that foreigners in America tend to become Americans themselves.

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I don't know if Americans are shallow-minded, but I do think they are close minded, many of them think the world is confined to the US and that is not the case.

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One stereotype is that most people think native English speakers are perfect in their language when the truth is no! They also make mistakes especially with their grammar and spelling! You can even ask them that although they will just deny it haha.

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There is a stereotype that Southern people have a drawl (a heavy drawl) and are apparently retarded. There is a stereotype that anyone with a Jersey Accent must be either Jewish, Italian, and/or from a Mob family. There is also the stereotype that every British person must speak the Queen's English or Cockney because that's what it's like in movies.

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I agree with this, but I also want to point out that there are Americans who do want to learn a second language. All my language classes have had Americans in it, weather it was French, Japanese or Arabic. And there are many language classes offered in college and high school. Although I agree most Americans do not want to learn a second language and it definitely isn't the norm, there are some that do and I think more people have wanted to learn a second language in recent years than in the 50s, 70s and 80s. Also looks how many language programs cater to American and English speakers, Rosetta Stone, Teach Yourself, Colloquial, Living Language etc. I think Americans and English speakers are probably the least bilingual but I think (and hope) that it is slowly changing.

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Yes, it is a stereotype that native English-speakers (more specifically, Americans) are monolingual and are not interested in learning another language. Often, though, stereotypes are rooted in truth. Reminds me of a joke:

What do you call a person who speaks three languages? Trilingual

What do you call a person who speaks two languages? Bilingual

What do you call a person who speaks one language? American!

Truth be told, outside of high school language classes, Americans are not exposed to foreign language very much. You can go anywhere in the US and guess what? It's all English! Go north to Canada and guess what? Again, English! Most cites/states in the US are hundreds (even thousands) of miles from a foreign country where English isn't one of the main languages. Add to that the fact that, since English is an international language, Americans can travel to a lot of different places in the world and get by fine with English. So there just isn't a lot of necessity/opportunity to learn a second language.

The stereotype "ugly American" tourist who expects other countries to cater to him - including using English - is, unfortunately, more common than one would wish.

So I think Americans' general lack of knowledge of other languages is due to lack of exposure to other languages, lack of necessity to learn another language and, in some cases, arrogance.

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Wise words, PashaR. I completely agree with you. However, it is really still sad that it is like this. I guess in Britain they have the same kind of problem. Well, one could argue that the problem there is maybe not as bad as Britain is 'surrounded" by many European countries.

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Yes, I agree that it is a sad situation. Too bad Americans do not have more exposure to other cultures and languages. It broadens the horizons and makes us more understanding, patient, and tolerant of other people. We should learn to embrace our differences, but first we must learn what those differences are.

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In my country, English is not the first language and is considered a high class language. People here generally think that people that uses English as their native are showing off or arrogant. It's kind of frustrating that people still have this kind of thought.

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The most stereotype I know of about native English speakers is that they only speak English because they consider it to be the most important language so they don't have to learn others as everyone should speak English after all. I don't think that's true and I know of many native English speakers that are learning other languages.

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I think that is a fair stereotype. Americans are not known for their multilingualism... Nor are the British (even though they are European). The exceptions are countries the British conquered. In these cases, the previous language of the country (before the invasion) become a second language like Scotland's' Scot language.

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As someone already said above, we Asians are forced to go through this language as it's a necessary part of our lives. As far as stereotypes are concerned, most people think that English speakers are arrogant person. Most of the people her won't even interact with an American or Australian tourist. They  avoid them.

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I was very surprised to discover that a volunteer at a children home where I frequent was not an English native. Her English is so impeccable. She told me that she is from Sweden with English being her second language. Most people assume that white people are excellent in speaking the English language. Furthermore they do not understand about accents.

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The stereotypes with Americans is that they don't know any language other than English (which is not true most of the time).

Brits get the stereotype of tea drinking, having an accent, spells a few words differently and all they eat are fish and chips. It's kinda true but not all Brits does one or two of them.

Don't know about Aussies other than kangaroos and hot weather.

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I am a native English speaker but it is actually true, growing up I was told that it is because English is the easiest language to learn. Now that I am grown, I have come to realize that persons who speak other languages are normally bilingual, unlike us English natives. It is probably hard for the majority to learn second languages, other languages are somewhat tricky even though I am trying to learn. :smile:

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There is a stereotype that Southern people have a drawl (a heavy drawl) and are apparently retarded. There is a stereotype that anyone with a Jersey Accent must be either Jewish, Italian, and/or from a Mob family. There is also the stereotype that every British person must speak the Queen's English or Cockney because that's what it's like in movies.

Hahahaha, you just mentioned the most popular stereotypes here!  I think everyone over here has heard about those stereotypes, and yes, over here almost everyone thinks that the people from the UK talk like that!  I actually did... until I met a welsh person!  I couldn't understand a word of what he said!

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The American tourists that I've seen only ever talk in English. Like somebody mentioned, it seems they take it for granted that English will be understood everywhere which is not the case. The last time I was in Hong Kong some people didn't even understand the word 'match' when I asked for one and repeated it over and over again and this was in the middle of the city. I guess there is a stereotype for people from western countries that they can only speak English, especially here in Asia.

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I will not say that I am a native English speaker but I've spoken to a lot of american people and they say that I really sound like a native American, however I am trying todevelop and enhance my pronuntiation way more so I can finally sound like a native American speaker.

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On 1/15/2014 at 4:36 AM, Alfonso said:

I just wanna throw this thought out there. What is the definition of a "native English speaker?". When I think about it, its seems like a flawed definition. I say that because English is the universal language and you have perfectly fluent English speakers from just about every country on Earth. Would you consider a boy from China for example, who grew up in an English speaking house and with perfect English speaking abilities to be a native English speaker?

I'm with Alfonso on this one.  Aren't we being a little biased in just limiting our views to English speakers of North America? Someone who grows up speaking English anywhere is a native English speaker, in my opinion.  Then again, we are talking about stereotyping here lol. 

Some stereotypes I've noticed living abroad is that speakers of other languages immediately think I want to use English all the time.  I'm also burdened with proving to them that yes, I do understand Japanese and other languages quite well.  The other thing living abroad is that people think I'm in the country to teach English.  This isn't the case.  Not every native English speaker is an English teacher.  Lastly, I run into a lot of people who have the assumption that English has no variations (British, Australian, South African, American, etc.).  

Apologies for repeats.

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I am not sure if I can call knowing or not knowing a language a stereotype, however it is true that many Americans only know English. Furthermore if you ask them if they wish they knew another language, the answer in my experience has always been yes. In regards to another comment, I just don't see how it is fair to say that Americans take it for granted that they can go to many other places and run into people who speak their native tongue. I feel it is quite the opposite and it's probably why they do travel so much and certainly appreciate it.. I've noticed that many other countries do push upon their children to know another language, namely English. I wouldn't really put anyone at fault for what a child was taught. Sure they could learn when they get older but then you have to take into account peoples schedules, resources and whatever else that may hinder one from learning a new language. Language is definitely something that has been on the rise, so who knows maybe more Americans will start to enforce different languages as a child as well.

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