Great that you are advancing this topic!
I would however think that whether I am native or non-native and what my native language is, and whether it really had much of an influence might not be that easy to answer.
Think about people who were born and who lived in lots of Arabic countries, so their native tongue could be considered Arabic, but they studied in British or American boarding schools and learnt the language from native speakers and spoke it exclusively throughout most of their youth. American or British English is not their native language, but still most people who listen to them might think it is. So which box do they tick? Native American English? Non-native Arabic? A mixture?
Also not uncommon appears to be when people learn one non-native language first and bring its pronunciation into a second non-native language. Consider people who speak Persian with a thick Gulf Arabic accent, but actually they are German and live there. And remember that Gulf Arabic sounds nothing like e.g. Maghreb Arabic, so it’s not even as simple as ticking “Arabic”. So Persian is not their native tongue, and what influenced them was not their native tongue either, but some third language. Which boxes do they tick?
And finally what about passport-wise native speakers, who lived with their families abroad? Their passport says they are British or American, but they carry unmistakably some aspects of a Spanish accent? Which boxes do they tick?
I would suggest to step away from a native / non-native binary and present everyone with the same simple question and options: What influenced your accent?
- I don’t know
- list of:
- language + proficiency + location