A few years ago, a German consultant came over to join our meeting in Taiwan, and we always speak local language occasionaly. The German consultant always remind us "Speak in English, please!" seriously.

Since that day , I used to say:

"I am a native speaker in Chinese"

"He is a native speaker in German"

"I am not a native speaker in English"

German consultant however is not a native speaker in English either.

I would like to know if I can say:

"I am not a native speaker in English" ?

or just say

"I am not a native speaker" ?

or something else?

Furthermore, German consultant sometime emphasized in short:

"In English , please!"

Is that okay to a native English speaker or not?

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    It depends on context. Here on ELL it would be fine to omit "of/in English", since the relevant language is contextually implied. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Oct 23 '17 at 15:23
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    I'll vote to reopen - but I'm not a mod, so it would require 4 others to agree. Note that if the specific language (that either is or isn't one's mother tongue) is NOT contextually obvious, native speakers of English tend to choose different phrasing anyway, rather than fret about which preposition to use... – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Nov 9 '17 at 14:48
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    I just searched Google NGrams for a native speaker * XXX with XXX = English, French, German, Russian. In each case there was only ONE result (but the word matching the "placefiller" * was always of). There's no grammatical or syntactic argument against in though, so it would be a harsh critic indeed who told you it was somehow "wrong". – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Nov 9 '17 at 14:52
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    Imho it wouldn't be impossible for someone to say (truthfully!) I'm a native speaker for English in certain contexts. Unless some specific construction is sufficiently common as to have a clear-cut idiomatically established form, there's often a degree of flexibility in respect of preposition choice. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Nov 9 '17 at 14:57
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    If an actual "native speaker of English" were in your German consultant's situation, they'd know perfectly well that "In English, please!" is just a shortened version of the imperative command/request [Would you] speak in English, please? But in your context, the English language is just a "lingua franca", so it doesn't really matter how "grammatically" or "idiomatically" the non-native speakers speak, so long as they are understood. It's not a context where it's important to know exactly how native Anglophones might speak. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Nov 9 '17 at 15:57

You use the preposition "of", not "in" as follows:

I am a native speaker of Russian.

I am not a native speaker of English.

| improve this answer | |
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    How about "I am not a native English speaker" ? – McMillan Cheng Oct 23 '17 at 15:20
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    @McMillanCheng, It's OK – Khan Oct 23 '17 at 17:16
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    I am not a native English speaker is, to me, more natural and it is what I would use if I were saying that. To your original question, though, you can drop "English" if it's obvious you're talking about English, e.g. Do you speak English? -> Yes, but I'm not a native speaker. – Jim MacKenzie Nov 9 '17 at 15:22
  • German consultant sometime say "In English, Please!" in short. Is that okay for a native English speaker? – McMillan Cheng Nov 9 '17 at 15:44

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