This question is often posed by language learners and by professional non-native foreign language teachers as they read job descriptions offering jobs to “native speakers only”. Is being a native speaker the pinnacle of knowledge in a language? Arguably the answer is no. “Native speaker” should not be a work credential.

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In my experience, when you are a complete beginner having an untrained native instructor can be a waste of time and money. A foreign language teacher (native or non-native) that speaks your language is the best choice since he/she can fully understand your language structures and thus explain complex grammar aspects in your language. A native speaker alone, without any teaching training, is ideal for language exchange when you are at least a pre-intermediate or intermediate speaker. What’s been your experience?