language attrition). Being a one-line post, it may attract downvotes and criticism. If we want to define the first language we speak, learn and feel comfortable with, the term first language may seem more appropriate. Is this in the context of individual speakers, or in the context of countries/regions/cities/villages? ), maybe a next one with extended family or locals, a fourth one with friends…. And what does this even mean? 2) Native tongue - Place where you are, have been living; irrespective of the place of your birth & the language spoken by the parents. A first language, native language or mother/father/parent tongue (also known as arterial language or L1), is a language that a person has been exposed to from birth or within the critical period. Speakers of a second language tend to accommodate their L2 to the rules of their tongue of origin. These terms, and others, may or may not be applicable to the situations you mention. rev 2020.12.4.38131, Sorry, we no longer support Internet Explorer, The best answers are voted up and rise to the top, Linguistics Stack Exchange works best with JavaScript enabled, Start here for a quick overview of the site, Detailed answers to any questions you might have, Discuss the workings and policies of this site, Learn more about Stack Overflow the company, Learn more about hiring developers or posting ads with us. period. A chronologically first language with which the speaker is no longer fluent or even competent. First language is generally the language we learn as a child, and the one we speak at home. There seems to be a difference between, say, "John's first language is English" (the first he learnt or the one he is most fluent in) and "English is the first language (the most spoken) in New Zealand". Learn more. Sometimes, first language means the language that a person speaks best (the second language is then spoken less well than the first language, etc. Essentially, these two terms are socio-cultural constructs. Using a term like family languages works if the language situation within the family is stable. Let's consider my personal language situation: my parents only spoke German with me and my sister, so German was our home language, but we were exposed to Italian since day one. Owing to difficulties in observing the comprehension process, little research has been conducted to determine what role the L1 plays in the reading strategies of L2 readers. Native tongue is the tongue of the colonization or oficial in any country. Simultaneous bilinguals or multilinguals are exposed to more than one (or two) languages since day one. One problem in answering your question is that there are also at least two different ways people use the terms "fluent" and "fluency"! Both languages are still equally dominant and valuable for me. And it also works for extended family who share these languages. In his lecture “English and Welsh” in 1955, J.R.R. Their use trigger the counterpart, foreign. Or to others one can easily imagine. A friend of mine was adopted when she was 2 and grew up in a Dutch family: would her mother tongue be Swahili because her biological mother was talking Swahili to her, or would it be Dutch, the language the mother who adopted her talked to her? But that is not the language that we speak, our cradle-tongue, the first-learned. It's the language used every day everywhere you go by the vast majority of the people there. And each of these definitions aren’t wrong at all since each phrase holds different meanings for each of us. Also, the term home languages does not define a any preference of the languages (note the plural form of it!) That's all, really. If you are interested in this topic and would like to know more about it: Your email address will not be published. 1) Mother tongue- Learnt from birth, usually what is spoken by the parents. Terms like native language or mother tongue refer to an ethnic group rather than to the first language. the one we speak most, write in and read, our first language or mother tongue can become a secondary language and sometimes even be lost... (eg. If I analyze the different phases in my life, there were phases where Italian or French or German were dominant languages. In the past 15 years, my most dominant languages were German, English and Dutch, with Italian (the language that still feels like the closest to my heart! At the same time I acquired and improved Dutch. Those languages either flourish through use, or wither and get forgotten by disuse, like any human skill. grammar, semantics) most commonly used by the speaker, which allows the person to practice a particular 'slang' to communicate within the environment they live in, even if they are not fluent using that particular language (in terms of 'academic' language). wikipedia), Your email address will not be published. 1. first language - one's native language; the language learned by children and passed from one generation to the next. Not only does the process of learning a language differ from the process of acquiring a language, but the processes and structures within the brain differ between the two activities as well. The first three, I find, are often used interchangeably in casual conversation. You’ll have plenty of other decisions to make along the way. How do I get the size of a file on disk on the Commodore 64? Whether or not to study in your native language. Wells's novel Kipps? What are the stages of child speech and language development and why? Is there an "internet anywhere" device I can bring with me to visit the developing world? They are their most dominant languages. The different terms are used in different contexts and for varying purposes. Have you ever wondered what is the difference between mother tongue, first language (L1), dominant language etc., and what is the correct term to use? A friend from India insisted his "native language" was Kannada though admitted he learned it at age 6 (previously spoke just Hindi). In the following phase, Italian was the main language I spoke and it was the language I chose to speak to my son. What happens to excess electricity generated going in to a grid? Please. This scenario needs to be further qualified because the critical period may include for some a wide time frame. By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy. During that period I really had difficulties communicating in German and couldn't form a complete sentence in my parents' language anymore. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ute Limacher-Riebold and Ute’s International Lounge with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. A language learned to fluency in adulthood (with or without a foreign accent - though I realize the latter is rare). First language and mother tongue have basically the same meaning, whereas the vernacular is the language spoken by the people. The language you learned first from birth and speak the best. Native language is the person who you found out first, the only you grew up talking as a small youngster, and really potentially, the language of your residence nation. Fact is, that no matter if a language is a home language, a dominant language, a mother tongue (if you still want to use this term...) or a L1, a first language, or a second, third or forth language: we all need to nurture our languages, learn the different meanings of words, form longer sentences, find out what register to use in different settings, learn the semantics of words, pragmatics and so much more... which all takes many years! For example, children who grow up in an environment in which only English is spoken and heard will acquire only English as their first language. natural language, tongue - a human written or spoken language used by a community; opposed to e.g. [dubious – discuss] These encounters occurred between the beginning of the 11th century (with the Nordic settlement of Greenland and failed efforts in Newfoundland and Labrador) and the end of the 15th century (the voyages of Christopher Columbus). And the first tongue is a kind tongue that we learn on the first time. Noun. This language acquisition is a natural process, and children learn effortlessly by listening to parents and other caretakers communicating in this language. This is the language that is spoken at home by the family, by the parents. And if a language we acquired or learnt later in life becomes our most dominant language, i.e. A first language, native language or mother/father/parent tongue, is a language that a person has been exposed to from birth or within the critical period. Today – I should better say “at the moment”...– they consider English, German and Dutch as their most important and preferred languages, i.e. Learn about the differences between first language acquisition and second language learning in the following article. 2) Native tongue- Place where you are, have been living; irrespective of the place of your birth & the language spoken by the parents. The only thing I've been able to gather is that the tendency seems to be for "native language" to mean proficient and for "first language" to mean chronologically first. Do you have any sources for these definitions? “All we want for Christmas... is a review...“ ☺️, How to be(come) more resilient this time of the year, Talks organized by Ute for the British School in the Netherlands, Short Online Training: ENJOY raising children with multiple languages, Ute’s E.N.J.O.Y. site design / logo © 2020 Stack Exchange Inc; user contributions licensed under cc by-sa. This post would benefit from adding further details. As a relatively proficient heritage speaker, should I consider myself a “native” speaker, or something else? Again, OAL says that a native speaker is one who speaks a language as a first language. Making statements based on opinion; back them up with references or personal experience. Does a polyglot think in every language he speaks or only in the mother-tongue? Terms "mother tongue" and "native language" can be politically charged. Have you ever wondered what is the difference between, as we all have only one (biological) mother. Conscious vs. Hi Robert, you are right, it should have said 'first language' not L1 in the third paragraph of my response. – Usually, when people ask me which is my mother tongue I answer German and Italian. The term was used by Catholic monks to designate a particular language they used, instead of Latin, when they are “speaking from the pulpit”.That is, the “holy mother of the Church” introduced this term and colonies inherited it from the Christianity as a part of their colonial legacy, thanks to the effort made by foreign missionaries in the transitional period of switching over from 18th-century Mercantile Capitalism to 19th-century Industrial Capitalism in India.” (cfr. It doesn't need to be our first language, it can be any other language we acquired or learned. are invented by people who need abbreviations for commonly-referenced groups of characteristics, usually characteristics that are common only in monolingual places like the USA, where almost everybody speaks only English, and often finds multilingualism threatening. But I'll stop here. Letture per espatriati, ragazzi di terza cultura etc. Tolkien distinguishes the native tongue from the cradle tongue. In bilingual families it can be two or three: the important aspect to define a language as first language is, that the child uses it on a regular basis, preferably every day from the very beginning. For me 'mother tongue' and 'native language' are more or less interchangeable. Successive bilinguals or multilinguals, are those who add other languages after having acquired the first language(s). Oxford (1990: 4) in distinguishing between FLA and NLL argues that the first … In one phase (of almost 6 years) I would mainly speak Italian and French (and study Old-French and Old-Provençal, which felt like “living” in this time and period!). A first language, native language or mother tongue is the language that was learned first by the person. Accents and dialects appear in all different parts of the nation but Mandarin is the only one that used nationwide freely. © Ute Limacher-Riebold and Ute’s International Lounge 2015-2020. (born I Hungary, lived in US from age 3). Physicists adding 3 decimals to the fine structure constant is a big accomplishment. |there really isn't one, both usually refer to the language you learned first. Tolkien, p.18). Also like any human skill. – But what happens if we are exposed to two or more languages in our family because our parents speak different languages with us and among them? First-language speakers of Polish have no trouble understanding each other, and non-native speakers may have difficulty recognizing the regional and social differences. But English and Dutch are chronologically speaking my 4th and 6th language, that I learned at different stages of my life (one at 11 yo, the other at 39yo). Native speakers are considered to be “authority on their given language due to their natural acquisition process regarding the language, versus having learned the language later in life”. What are wrenches called that are just cut out of steel flats? Do you (still) prefer speaking the first language you learnt, or is another language more important for you right now? All humans (without exceptional physical or mental disabilities) have an innate capability to acquire language. maternal language, mother tongue. A problem also arises for children who are adopted. Are there marked/“hard” phonemes that are acquired very late or never by a substantial number of speakers? For illustration, I used to be born in Russia. Plus, people vary not only in their unique language experience, but in their skill at apprehending and using it. First Language Communication in the Second Language Classroom Abstract The exact role of one’s first language (L1) in second language (L2) education has not been clearly defined in the literature. By concentrating on the natural acquisition process, my native languages would be German, Italian, Swiss-German and Dutch because I did acquire them naturally, i.e. What is my first language: the one I'm more familiar with, or the one I learned first? Key Difference: Here, mother tongue is basically considered to be the native language. DEFINITION • Refers to first-language acquisition, which studies infants' acquisition of their native language. There is so much to say (and write) about this topic! Do strong acids actually dissociate completely? New studies have found that the brain tends to use the mother tongue's linguistic structure as a foundation for the second language acquisition. Is there an easy formula for multiple saving throws? Required fields are marked *, “All we want for Christmas... is a review...“ ☺️ ... See MoreSee Less, Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Linked InShare by Email, www.dutchnews.nl/news/2020/11/mauritshuis-becomes-first-gigapixel-museum-in-the-world/ ... See MoreSee Less. Your first question is intriguing and I also wrote about the scenario in my blog. Why is Buddhism a venture of limited few? My local language is Russian. Home language is what a person speaks at home with their parents and family. My children don’t feel that confident in Swiss-German or Italian at the moment, but I know by my own experience that this can change if the linguistic situation changes again or if they just decide to talk them more often. If there are more than one first languages in a family, we can also use the term of family languages: a child would talk one family/home language with the mother, and another one with the father or the other parent, a third one maybe with a caregiver (i.e. your life in The Hague program, What you wish you would have known earlier…, Lectures pour expatriés et enfants de troisième culture. Thousands of languages were spoken by various peoples in North and South America prior to their first contact with Europeans. Tolkien). I will look out for the sources. I think that Mother tongue is a kind of tongue that we learn with our mother or father at home and it is own tongue of some place. Furthermore, we all can acquire a language in a “natural” way also in a later stage of our life. I believe it's an academic term, but I often see it defined relative to the other three casual terms. Terms in APPLIED LINGUISTICS and LANGUAGE TEACHING.The first language is the language in which learners are competent when starting a new language; the second language is another language that is being learned or has been learned to an adequate level. Switch to new thesaurus. L1 is the abbreviated form of first language. Hi Rita, welcome and thanks for your contribution. If you have become fluent in a language later in life, you have a 'native level fluency'. • This is the acquisition of the mother tongue. This scenario is not very accurate, surely not in today's world where fathers and other care givers are involved in providing input in the home language too. 3) The first language - It may be either of two, or a completely different, a 'third' language, learning which you grew up (usually in the school) . For instance, I speak English with my daughter and my wife speaks Spanish with her. They are Not Ready For Prime Time, in other words, so you shouldn't take them too seriously. Linguists suggested a few years ago that an exposure of at least 20% of the daily time would be optimal for a child to become (almost) equally proficient in the family languages, but this has changed already and the duration of exposure is not the most important factor of becoming a bilingual! I am afraid, have no authoritative references for these though. So almost all kindergartens and primary schools in mainland China will teach Mandarin as compulsory. Regionalism/nationalism was to blame in both cases. Primary language is the only you employ such a lot traditionally to converse, suppose, dream, and so on. Here’s a closer look at the pros and cons of choosing an international program which offers coursework in your mother tongue. Mother tongue is tribe language of your parents. The cradle tongue being the language we learn during early childhood and the native tongue “may be different, possibly determined by an inherited linguistic taste, and may later in life be discovered by a strong emotional affinity to a specific dialect (Tolkien confessed to such an affinity to the Middle English of the West Midlands in particular)”  (pdf of “English and Welsh” by J.R.R. First language is simply the language we learn first. I did not “learn” them at school, I did imitate speakers and copy sentences. I learnt how to read and write them partly at school – German and Italian – whereas for Swiss-German not being a written language, this wasn't possible. L1, or first language, is what is referred to the native or indigenous language of the student. –  defines the first language we were exposed to, chronologically speaking, our L1, the first language we understand and speak. It helps one understand words and concepts in the style of that language. To understand the basic similarities and differences between first language and second language acquisition, let's quickly think of the last time you were around a toddler. Cantonese is my mother tongue and first language. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Service. A quick Google search seems to reveal there is a lot of confusion around these terms, and possibly no straightforward answer. This is my understanding of the three aspects-. Native language, Opting to study abroad is just the first stop on your international adventure. For multilingual children, the linguistic situation within the family and social context changes constantly, and if this happens in their early years, the concept of, By concentrating on the natural acquisition process, my, In his lecture “English and Welsh” in 1955, J.R.R. The first language or mother tongue plays an important role in sociolinguistics, as it is the basis for many people’s sociolinguistic identity. The first language is like an instinct which is triggered by birth and developed with the experience of being exposed to it. What are the differences between theoretical perspectives of the uses of the term “register”? ). A language learned to fluency in childhood (within the critical period) that is not chronologically first. Greek: differences between words marked as αρχαιοπρεπής, λόγιος or παλαιότερα. this changed again when they started attending the Dutch daycare and then an English school. For me, personally, the language I prefer speaking and that is closest to my heart and I’m more spontaneous in, is not the language my parents talked to me during the first period of my life. Note: I'm not a linguist, and I realize I might be treading in a grey area here. Synonym for native language Native Language is where your born ( America = English ) and First Language is the language you speak, like what you know|First language and native language are the same thing. ( “English and Welsh” by J.R.R. @hippietrail Yes, fluency was definitely not the best word. I guess proficiency would be the right word then? Hi Cecilia, welcome and thanks for your answer. It's a local language in Guangzhou and Hong Kong SAR. OK, the fact of the matter is that everybody learns their own languages, in their own ways, in their own times, places, and circumstances. Likewise, a girl from Ukraine claimed Ukrainian as her "mother tongue" though admitted she had grown up speaking Russian, (studied Ukrainian at college). ), French and Swissgerman (and adding Spanish to the picture which I have a great passive knowledge in but where I'm working on the verbal fluency). Can a fluid approach the speed of light according to the equation of continuity? Mother tongue/native language, however, involves a brain process - training, which starts when we are born and that includes components, elements and other types of communication (i.e. We each have our own personal linguistic potential: we each have a native language. Squaring a square and discrete Ricci flow. How does the compiler evaluate constexpr functions so quickly? Do you know the difference between first language acquisition and second language learning? But in my country English functions as a second language, and as a result I've never considered myself a native speaker of English. In one sense, we all have a mother tongue as we all have only one (biological) mother. I personally use L1, L2 etc., to avoid the NS (native speaker) vs NNS (non-native speaker) dichotomy and all ensuing unnecessary connotations. The predilection of a language is more important than the chronological place it has in our language acquisition and learning history. One could add the term of. They are most dominant in terms of me using them on a daily basis, as well as doing most reading and writing in these languages. Why? In contrast, the term L1/First language are clinical terms to describe language acquisition in individuals who have acquired one or more languages. I'm looking for non-so-limited vocabulary, and little to no textbook errors. But though it may be buried, it is never wholly extinguished, and contact with other languages may stir it deeply. at daycare, school etc. Native 'of' the place. Instinct. The first language, on the other hand, may refer to the first language that the person learned. Native language, L1, and mother tongue are other names for first language. In academic linguistics though, are there generally accepted differences between these terms? http://multilingualparenting.com/2014/02/21/mother-tongue/. The term 'first language' is as far as I understand not the chronologically first language, but the one a speaker is fluent in and feels most comfortable to speak. I did re-activate and improve it when we moved to the Netherlands and it increased even more when our children started attending an English school. Talking about language is confusing. Native 'of' the place. without "studying" them. .. etc. underscoring language acquisition and subsequent language shift. The term of mother tongue refers to a traditional/conventional family situation where the mother is the person who passes on the language to the child and is the main provider for input in that language for the child in his or her first years. a computer language. Mother tongue, first language, native language and so on, we all define these phrases differently. According to my experience, the overwhelming majority of SLA researchers use L1 in the sense of chronologically first language. From a chronological point of view, Italian and Swiss-German are the "first languages" for all of my children. For example, a child in an Indian househ… For example, growing up in the United States, your native language would be English. It only takes a minute to sign up. There is unfortunately no clear-cut answer if you speak more than one language. As far as the scenarios listed in the original post: I wrote a blog post about this very topic last week, on the International Mother Language Day.
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