Pages in topic:   [1 2 3 4] >
How to determine your mother tongue?
Thread poster: Cristina Golab
Cristina Golab  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:07
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mar 24, 2006

Hello everyone!
I was not sure where to post my question. Hope I am in the right forum. Well, this is my issue. Everytime I am asked which is my mother tongue, I have a hard time deciding. I speak, read, write and understand both English and Spanish. I was raised in Spanish but have been exposed to English not only through my education, but also through my daily life, friends, colleagues, relatives, etc, and I feel vey confortable with both languages.
How do you determine which one is your mother tongue?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:07
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Bilingual Mar 24, 2006

If you truly believe both your English and Spanish are on the same level, you are bilingual and have two mother togues.
As I always say - my mother tongue is Latvian, father tongue is Russian, and husband/children tongue is English.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:07
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Something to help Mar 24, 2006

So as not to give a long answer:

http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/611/

Schooling may be a determining factor when it takes place in the environment where the language is naturally spoken. It is expected to reinforce the judgement of what is correct and stylistically acceptable. All the same, bilingualism is subject to priority.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
How about "near-native" Mar 24, 2006

Just being comfortable in another langauge doesn't really make it your mother tongue. When I was studying linguistics in Montreal years ago, the distiction "ambilingual" was used for people who were so equally bilingual that there was no difference on any level of ability. It is very rare. My son who has been educated 100% in German(with years of English classes, travel), and speaks, reads, hears English every day, is, to me not a native speaker, but a near-native. His mother's tongue is English. I guess, it's how you define it.

In addition, having a language as a "mother tongue" doesn't necessarily mean that a person can use it correctly. Lots of native speakers are illiterate. And lots of non-native speakers write exceptionally well in their 2nd or 3rd language, better than many/most "natives"


Direct link Reply with quote
 

writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
native language is not the same as acquired language Mar 24, 2006

mother tongue is the one you were born into, raised in and went to school in. there's a lot of confusion on the site between mother/native tongue and being bilingual. Quite a few people, for instance, list English as one of their 'native' languages, even though they only started learning it as part of their school course. These people may claim to be bilingual if they wish (anything is possible on the Proz page) but it is not right to list English as one of their 'native' languages. It's an acquired language that they may be very good in but it's not the same as a mother tongue. You are requested to list your 'native language' on the proz page. not those you have learned afterwards. Imho it is virtually impossible to 'acquire' an additional native language.

[Edited at 2006-03-24 13:45]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:07
Italian to English
+ ...
You've answered your own question Mar 24, 2006

Hi Cristina,
Cristina Golab wrote:
I was raised in Spanish but have been exposed to English not only through my education, but also through my daily life, friends, colleagues, relatives, etc, and I feel vey confortable with both languages.


Obviously I don't know you so I can't say for sure (!) but you say you were "raised" in Spanish and have been "exposed" to English. Surely this would imply that you have a Spanish mother tongue? I've been "exposed" to French and Italian in a similar way but I could never even think about claiming to be bilingual.

A mother tongue isn't something you can just "acquire". And I'm not sure that it's something you can come to later in life and "determine" - you just know from the start.
I have a friend who was brought up in Germany and came to England at 18. Brilliant at English, superb accent, has been in the UK since then reading for various degrees. Her language skills are exceptionally rare and I have never known anyone else who has worked so hard at perfecting the language - anyone in the street would think she was English mother tongue. However, just once in a thousand times she might slip something in the conversation that shows that her mother tongue is German, not English. Just a tiny misuse of idiom or something.

True bilinguals are very rare indeed.

Best,
Amy

[Edited at 2006-03-24 13:50]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

TesCor -
Canada
Local time: 02:07
French to English
Hello Writeaway Mar 24, 2006

I know someone who's been struggling most of his adult life with this question. He was born in Canada into an Italian family and up to the time he entered the school system, he only spoke Italian. At the age of 5, he began English schooling, English friends, English everything. However, he always communicated with his parents in Italian only. English has always been his language (speaks, thinks and dreams in it). He reads and understands Italian perfectly well, but he can't write it for beans. Even the spoken part is limited to a local Italian dialect.

Tell me something Writeaway, what's this guy's mother/native?


Direct link Reply with quote
 
John Bowden  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:07
German to English
Don't claim to be "bilingual" Mar 24, 2006

Amy Williams wrote:

Hi Cristina,
Cristina Golab wrote:
I was raised in Spanish but have been exposed to English not only through my education, but also through my daily life, friends, colleagues, relatives, etc, and I feel vey confortable with both languages.


Obviously I don't know you so I can't say for sure (!) but you say you were "raised" in Spanish and have been "exposed" to English. Surely this would imply that you have a Spanish mother tongue? I've been "exposed" to French and Italian in a similar way but I could never even think about claiming to be bilingual.
I'm going to allow myself to be picky here, as you did ask! There are a couple of expressions in your profile that I personally find to be not idiomatic in English, such as "prior to be delivered", but others may think differently.

True bilinguals are very rare indeed.

Best,
Amy


I agree with Amy - I don't want to be rude or unconstructive, but there are so many mistakes in your short profile that I think you should really re-consider the claim in your profile to have English as a native language: I count at least 5 in the following text, which also rather contradicts your claim to "accuracy" and " high quality".


"I have completed projects such as science articles, and public policies for publication. I've gotten very positive feedback from the public the texts were intended to and very satisfied clients. All my translation projects undergo very detail researching and revision prior to be delivered."


Direct link Reply with quote
 

writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
That is someone with 2 native languages Mar 24, 2006

Teresa Corbi wrote:

I know someone who's been struggling most of his adult life with this question. He was born in Canada into an Italian family and up to the time he entered the school system, he only spoke Italian. At the age of 5, he began English schooling, English friends, English everything. However, he always communicated with his parents in Italian only. English has always been his language (speaks, thinks and dreams in it). He reads and understands Italian perfectly well, but he can't write it for beans. Even the spoken part is limited to a local Italian dialect.

Tell me something Writeaway, what's this guy's mother/native?


That is the case of someone with 2 native languages. As a child, he spoke Italian at home and as soon as he went out the door, he heard English. He then went to school in English. My son has had the exact same experience: English at home and French as soon as he goes out the door.
I never said no one can be dual native tongue-just that people on Proz who started a second language some time in their studies cannot really claim the acquired language as their mother tongue.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:07
Italian to English
+ ...
Oh John! Mar 24, 2006

Hi John,
When I read my post I realised it may have been a bit harsh - sorry, Cristina - so I reworked it. I guess it's back now...!

Amy


Direct link Reply with quote
 

TesCor -
Canada
Local time: 02:07
French to English
So, he doesn't have a mother tongue, rather 2 native languages? Mar 24, 2006

writeaway wrote:

Teresa Corbi wrote:

I know someone who's been struggling most of his adult life with this question. He was born in Canada into an Italian family and up to the time he entered the school system, he only spoke Italian. At the age of 5, he began English schooling, English friends, English everything. However, he always communicated with his parents in Italian only. English has always been his language (speaks, thinks and dreams in it). He reads and understands Italian perfectly well, but he can't write it for beans. Even the spoken part is limited to a local Italian dialect.

Tell me something Writeaway, what's this guy's mother/native?


That is the case of someone with 2 native languages. As a child, he spoke Italian at home and as soon as he went out the door, he heard English. He then went to school in English. My son has had the exact same experience: English at home and French as soon as he goes out the door.
I never said no one can be dual native tongue-just that people on Proz who started a second language some time in their studies cannot really claim the acquired language as their mother tongue.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:07
Italian to English
+ ...
. Mar 24, 2006

.

[Edited at 2006-03-24 14:01]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sebla Ronayne
United States
Local time: 02:07
German to Turkish
+ ...
bilingual or near native Mar 24, 2006

Hi everyone,

it's an intressting issue to speak and feel confortable in many languages and express the situation!

I'm a Turkish woman who learned English in the school, moved to Austria and studied in German and Italian. I'm very much confortable to work into Turkish and also into German as an interpeter and translator...

in this forum there was no option to put "near native" to express my German skills, so I put "bilingual" which is not me!

I know that is not the "answer" of the question, but I would say; to feel "native" or "bilingual" and work in that way make us whatever we are.... I mean translators and interpeters.

second aspect is I would say to be "native" in the culture as well. do I know enough to express the culture through my words?

have a nice day from Graz!

Sebla


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:07
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Your mothertongue is Spanish Mar 24, 2006

Cristina Golab wrote:
I was raised in Spanish...


And:

...but have been exposed to English not only through my education, but also through my daily life, friends, colleagues, relatives, etc...


That is irrelevant. At most, it makes you very bilingual.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 09:07
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Call it working language Mar 24, 2006

Anybody, also "natives", have their text edited before publishing, even famous writers.
I'm native German, but after living 30 years in Finland (from the age of 27) I have developed certain habits, that show I'm not real native anymore. So I let my German texts edit by a second person.
Besides I would never be able to produce such texts one sees normally in Germany nowadays, where every second word is English or something Germans call Denglish.
If you can produce good translations for a special subject in a certain language you can call it your working language.
Regards
Heinrich


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3 4] >


There is no moderator assigned specifically to this forum.
To report site rules violations or get help, please contact site staff »


How to determine your mother tongue?

Advanced search






PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »
SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search