Was perusing the page (you can find it here), I came across the paragraph "That said, word order is a complex aspect of language, never wholly mastered by non-native speakers.

What is the idea behind this? Does that mean that as a Native English speaker I have mastered concepts that foreign speakers will not master? What would some examples of this be? And is reverse true, as I am learning German no matter what level of proficiancy I obtain a native will understand better than I?

  • 2
    I think the viewpoint expressed there is only one opinion. People don't have perfect data about the acquisition of grammar by non-native speakers; we can aggregate the most common errors and determine what general tendencies of error non-native speakers may have based on their language of origin, but we don't have any absolute evidence that non-native speakers can "never" master complex aspects of second languages. (The theoretical reasons for suspecting this might be the case are also controversial.) Anyway, "mastery" is not well-defined. – brass tacks Feb 5 '16 at 17:26
  • Generally speaking, there's a logic mistake in that sentence, it is impossible to prove that something will never happen. – Yellow Sky Feb 5 '16 at 17:55
  • The quote is a bit of an exaggeration, but there is truth to the idea that non-native speakers are granted less poetic licence. As far as German specifically, I can say that the rules for word order differ between the formal language, the informal language and the dialects, but that's true of many features of all languages. – Adam Bittlingmayer Feb 5 '16 at 20:05

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