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Are \"native\" and \"mother\" tongues the same thing?
Thread poster: DOUBLE A EN<>ES

DOUBLE A EN<>ES

English to Spanish
+ ...
Feb 21, 2002

This was a response from a friend regarding my usage of the above.



\"native and mother tongues\" is redundant



I responded:



I don\'t agree, dictionaries listing them as synonyms notwithstanding. Say a Japanese couple has a child in Boston who ends up never living in Japan. To me, his mother tongue is Japanese (spoken at home), and his native (raised/grew up in) tongue English. But Japanese is not his native language nor is English his mother tongue.



To me, mother tongue(s) is/are the language(s) spoken at home by one or both parents. To me native means where you grew up or were raised. If the Japanese child grows up in both countries, then his native tongues are English and Japanese, with the latter being his mother tongue. If his father is American and his mother Japanese (or vice-versa), and the child grows up in both countries, then both English and Japanese are his native AND mother tongues.



Is there a subtle distinction? Or are native and mother tongues one and the same? Does \"native,\" or \"mother\" for that matter, simply mean that you don\'t have a \"foreign\" accent when speaking a particular language?



What do you all think?


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asil
Local time: 06:17
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agree Feb 22, 2002

I agree with you, Rick. It is the same thing I see with a friend\'s kids. She is British and he is Chilean and the kids speak English with their mother at home and Spanish on the street and school. Do they have an accent? Yes, their English sounds very British, if you know what I mean, and of course, their Spanish is very \"Chilean\", with all of argot spoken here. So, that´s all, folks!!

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Ursula Peter-Czichi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:17
German to English
+ ...
The first language Feb 22, 2002

I think the extended meaning of mother tongue is like this:

When first our brains develop, so does a natural neuronal pattern for language structure, then for speech itself. The language, which fits this \'original\' pattern tends to feel more \'natural\' to most people.



Having said this, it is now well established that people grow new neurones and connect them \'til death. (Sensible people have always deduced this from observation.)



Conclusion: Mother tongue is the language that a person starts learning first, not second.



Personally, I like your logic much better!


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Are \"native\" and \"mother\" tongues the same thing?

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