English as a ‘De Jure’ or ‘De Facto’?

Below, the first image shows a job posting from The Princeton Review Korea (TPRK).

Take a look at the list of countries where TPRK believes speak English as a native language.


The list contains US, Canada, Australia, UK, New Zealand, Ireland, and South Africa.

Now, the next question is, the concept of ‘De Jure’ and ‘De Facto.’

Let me provide brief explanation of the two terms based on what Wikipidia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_jure) says.

De jure (/d ˈʊər/, /d/;[1][2] Classical Latin: de iure [deː ˈjuːrɛ]) is an expression that means “of right, by right, according to law” (literally “from law”),[3] as contrasted with de facto, which means “in fact, in reality” (literally “from fact”). The terms de jure and de facto are used instead of “in law” and “in practice”, respectively, when one is describing political or legal situations.

Now, let’s remind ourselves of the list NES countries provided by TPRK’s definition and take a look at the status of English in these countries on the link below:

English as a ‘de jure’ vs. ‘de facto’

Based on wikipedia, Only Ireland and Canada (except Quebec) truly qualify as they hold the status of English as a ‘de jure’ (official) language while it is also their primary language.

In terms of UK, USA (yes, majority of the country subdivisions do hold English as their ‘de jure’ but not all–e.g. Connecticut–yet, no one hardly questions about such division or status), New Zealand, and Australia, the status of English is ‘de facto’ (in practice), but NOT a ‘de jure’ (official) despite it being their primary language.

Regarding South Africa, English is their ‘de jure’ language, but only a small number of NESs use it as their primary language.

On another note, the Philippines use English as their ‘de jure’ but as Teri (Conversation with NNEST 1 – Teri) says, which I agree to be an issue, in the context of South Korea, hardly any stakeholders think or believe or know that the Philippines use English just as much as Ireland and Canada do.

Clearly, a simple glance at a list of countries is not only insufficient but also inaccurate to define who should be considered as a NEST and as a NNEST.

As for the ELT employment procedure, ELT educators should be reviewed based on their teaching qualifications and capabilities, not by an unjustifiable logic coming from geographical mix with history and politics outcome.






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