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First language

language a person was raised speaking from birth
(Redirected from Mother tongue)
The monument for the Mother (Azerbaijani) tongue in Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan

A first language (also mother tongue, native language, arterial language, or L1) is the language a person first learns.[1] A person's first language helps them understand words and concepts in the style of that first language.[2]

Sometimes first language means the language a person speaks best (his second language is the language he speaks less well than his first language, etc.). In this case first language, second language and third language show how well one speaks a language, so a person can have more than one first language or second language.


  1. Bloomfield, Leonard. Language ISBN 81-208-1196-8
  2. Alan Davies. The native speaker: myth and reality. ISBN 1-85359-622-1