“We are cheaper, so they hire us”: Discounted nativeness in online English teaching

Joy Hannah Panaligan, Nathaniel Ming Curran

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This article considers the rapidly expanding online market for English teaching. Drawing on interviews with 11 Filipino online English teachers and the first author's own experiences teaching English online, we examine how teachers feel under the conditions of precarity they experience in the gig economy for language teaching. In addressing the experiences of Filipino teachers, we introduce the notion of “discounted nativeness.” Discounted nativeness describes Filipino teachers’ ambivalent position within the online English teaching industry: platforms take advantage of Filipino teachers' high levels of English proficiency—up to and including passing them off as American teachers—while the teachers experience discrimination from students and maltreatment by the platforms. The article concludes by discussing the need for sustained research into the burgeoning market for online language teaching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-264
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Sociolinguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


  • digital labor
  • English teaching
  • gig economy
  • native speakerism
  • Philippines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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