Definition of mother tongue in English:

mother tongue


  • The language that a person has grown up speaking from early childhood.

    • ‘In the piece, each woman speaks in her mother tongue, representing the two halves of the writer's self.’
    • ‘Krio is spoken as a mother tongue by some 250,000 people in and around Freetown and by many more Sierra Leoneans as a second language.’
    • ‘This bilingual program provides the opportunity for immersion in the lost mother tongue at an early age.’
    • ‘Whatever their mother tongue, babies acquire it long before they learn to read and write.’
    • ‘Two articles are written about each couple, one in their mother tongue and one in another language.’
    • ‘It is said that a child can already use all the grammatical patterns of its mother tongue by the time he or she is five years old.’
    • ‘At that time, only approximately 7 million people used English as their mother tongue.’
    • ‘‘I learnt to speak English as a youngster but Finnish is my mother tongue,’ he said.’
    • ‘They acquire a knowledge of music in much the same way as they learn to speak their mother tongue - by listening to those around them.’
    • ‘Many immigrants not only learn English in addition to their mother tongue, but also speak other languages.’
    • ‘She was fired for speaking in her mother tongue to customers and co-workers.’
    • ‘This is due to their traditional links with the Kosovo Albanian community and the fact that they speak Albanian as their mother tongue.’
    • ‘Phrases like these are quite hard to understand, if your mother tongue isn't English.’
    • ‘If no one was available, children who spoke the same mother tongue could still discuss the new topic in their own language.’
    • ‘It is as if the gift of English as a mother tongue should preclude the learning of any other language.’
    • ‘Even when we converse, and are talking in the same mother tongue, we often seem to be speaking a different language to each other.’
    • ‘Apart from his mother tongue, Tamil, he is able to understand and speak English.’
    • ‘In general, the same people would be outraged if they were asked to abandon their mother tongue, French, and speak English.’
    • ‘If they spoke even a single word of their mother tongue, they would be fined or penalized.’
    • ‘As a rule, interpreters are supposed to translate between their mother tongue and another language.’
    • ‘English would be his mother tongue; he would have some knowledge of Latin, and he would speak fluent French.’
    language, dialect, patois, vernacular, mother tongue, native tongue, jargon, argot, cant, pidgin, creole, lingua franca
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mother tongue

/ˈˌməT͟Hər ˈtəNG/