What terms are used for a non-native speaker of a language? I found ネイティブスピーカー and 母語話者 but I want to know the Japanese words for a non-native speaker. Thanks.

  • The Japanese Wikipedia uses 第二言語話者 to mean literally 'a speaker of a second language'. I'm not sure however if this is commonly used. – Ambo100 Oct 9 '19 at 22:26
  • I needed to take French as a second language:「第二外国語」at University. Mais, Je ne parle pas Francais... – kimi Tanaka Oct 9 '19 at 22:46
  • English normally has been in school curriculum until high school. 英語 should be 第一外国語 for many Japanese. Since I was not taught English until Junior-High, I guess my first encounter to foreign language was 中国語 used in the movie of 酔拳: Drunken Master by Jackie Chen. – kimi Tanaka Oct 9 '19 at 23:05

Simply, you can use 非【ひ】ネイティブ or 非ネイティブスピーカー.

  • that answer is too simple :) – Jack Bosma Oct 9 '19 at 23:13
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    @JACK But this is the answer to your simple question "what's the term for nonnative speaker?" :) – naruto Oct 9 '19 at 23:23
  • almost sounds like hinative maybe a word pun. – Jack Bosma Oct 9 '19 at 23:27
  • @JACK What kind of pun? Is this the first time you saw 非 ("non-")? – naruto Oct 9 '19 at 23:34
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    Ah, a pun on HiNative.com and 非ネイティブ! :D – naruto Oct 10 '19 at 0:44

I would call a non-native speaker of Japanese [非日本語話者]{ひにほんごわしゃ}, though it might sound a little bit academic.

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    Uh, that’d be “non-Japanese speaker”. Did you mean 日本語非母語話者? (Not that I’d recommend that either given that it’s a mouthful) – Darius Jahandarie Oct 10 '19 at 2:23
  • No, I didn't mean 日本語非母語話者. Although I googled and found 日本語非母語話者, it is awkward and mouthful as you say. I don't think 非日本語話者 is mouthful. Strictly speaking, non-Japanese speaker and non-native Japanese speaker might be different but could mean the same depending on the context. – canine Oct 10 '19 at 3:44
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    A non-native speaker of Japanese is usually someone who can speak Japanese. They just aren't native. I wouldn't introduce myself as a non-native speaker of German, for instance, because I speak no German. – Leebo Oct 10 '19 at 4:13
  • Thanks Leebo. Now, I've got it. – canine Oct 11 '19 at 0:32

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