What do we mean by ‘Mother Tongue’

Title: What do we intend by “Mother Tongue” ?

Concepts of Mother Tongue

To me the construct of “Mother Tongue” is something that exist in people’s consciousness, it is a more personal point of view instead than lodging to merely one definition. Let’s start to understand different intensions of “Mother Tongue” , get downing with a dictionary definition. Oxford Advance Learner Dictionary ( 1993, p 807 ) female parent lingua means ‘ a linguistic communication that one first learns to talk as a child’ . Here the significance of female parent lingua is like ‘origin’ of child’s first linguistic communication larning to bring forth new meaningful vocalization, instead than typifying the biological female parent, whose linguistic communication kid learns to talk. David Crystal ( 1995 ) in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Languages defines mother lingua as first linguistic communication acquired by the kid.

Flower and Flower ( 1993 ) defines mother tongue as ‘one’s native language’ . By native linguistic communication the writer means linguistic communication spoken by the family, which the kids learns normally from their parents and household members. ( Mallikarjun,2001, & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.languageinindia.com/april2001/indiancensus.html ) . Again this non the perfect definitions for female parent lingua, because there are people who have two native linguistic communications. For illustration, a kid has Gallic male parent and German female parent will larn both linguistic communications at the same time while talking to each severally. Hence this kid would name both Gallic and German his/her female parent lingua. Such kids are callednative bilinguals. These kids learn both linguistic communications by talking to each parent in their native linguistic communication severally, which Ronjat ( 1913 in Linguistic Encyclopedia 2003 ) callsone-parent-one linguistic communication.

Linguistic acronym for Mother lingua is ‘L1’ ( fist linguistic communication that a kid learns ) and so learns a L2 ( 2nd linguistic communication ) , and so, L3 ( 3rd linguistic communication ) and so on. The lingual nomenclature for people cognizing two linguistic communications is called abilingualand a people cognizing more than three linguistic communications is calledmultilingual. ( Grosjean, 1982, p seven ) .

Now to some people the linguistic communication in which you are really adept is your ‘mother tongue’ . For illustration: an native speech production couple’s child/children would larn their native linguistic communication foremost, but after traveling to new state they will be adept in linguistic communication of the host state. This happens because the host state linguistic communication would be the media of direction in their school, college and amongst friends. This happens a batch with migratory households populating in North America, whose kids understand their native linguistic communication, but since they regularly use English in their day-to-day life, they tend to bit by bit go less adept in their L1. This is due to limited usage of L1 at place or by blending L2 words while stating L1. For illustration: a kid would utilize noun ‘book’ alternatively of utilizing book’s equivalent in their L1 while looking for a misplaced book in the house. This normally happens where parents of these kids have atleast a moderate proficiency in English.

Mother Tongue i‚« Identity

Mother lingua identifies a individual to a peculiar group, peculiar nationality and civilization. While making a web hunt for the subject ‘mother tongue’ I came across twosome of web nines where people wrote how they one time lost their female parent lingua after migrating to America with their parents and went back to their female parent lingua in their 30s and 40s while seeking for their roots. This sort of linguistic communication loss or first linguistic communication abrasion ( Pavlenko, 2003 ) is common in migratory communities in United States where some parents, who have a good proficiency of the mark or host state linguistic communication would halt taking to their kids in their native linguistic communication. Parents would ever speak to their childs in the linguistic communication of the host state particularly, if the host state happens to be English-speaking state. They make their kids pattern the host/ mark linguistic communication so that they are really adept in their L2 ( host county linguistic communication ) , and finally hold good calling options. When this happens, these kids whose have non used their female parent lingua for old ages, experience a impetus from their individuality, which they find after re-learning and utilizing their female parent lingua. Like the author in one web missive who had lost touch of her L1 ( Gujarati: an Indian linguistic communication ) and so in her 30s she learnt it as it led her to her roots, her individuality. ( Bhatt, 2004

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.erzsebel.com/clock/clockarchives/003294.html )

Betty Quan ( 1996 ) in her short drama “Mother Tongue” tells how a Chinese-Canadian household grapnels between Cantonese, English and American Sign Language. Set in Vancouver, Canada, the narrative is about a female parent of teens who know small English and is good in her native linguistic communication ; a miss Mimi who understands Cantonese but speaks merely in English, and a brother who lost his hearing at age 11 and understands gestural linguistic communication and speak English. They do retrieve their female parent stating narratives in Cantonese and they besides mention that theydream in Chinese. They do adhere to their Chinese individuality, but use more L2 in their day-to-day life. But with female parent she does non understand her kids ever particularly, her boy and gets defeated that her kids don’t talk to her much. And when her childs inquire her to larn more English she says: “ I am my language….” I second with Mallikarjun ( 2001 ) when he says, “… more frequently than non, mother tongue becomes more a political thought that lingual construct or construct.” ( Mallikarjun, 2001 ) & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.languageinindia.com/april2001/indiancensus.html & gt ;

Again we see how one’s native linguistic communication is to one’s bosom. Peoples use powerful linguistic communications to look cool, to acquire concern, to thrive in one’s calling, but I think when it comes to traveling back to one’s root ( individuality ) is traveling back to one’s female parent lingua, one’s L1. So what do you believe of people who are native bilingual or who’s L1 is Creole? Creole is linguistic communication formed by pidginization of two linguistic communications largely French and some Caribbean linguistic communications, which finally became the native linguistic communication or female parent lingua for following coevals people populating in that country. Normally the linguistic communication was a mix of French and some Caribbean linguistic communication. A pidgin is a linguistic communication that has no native talkers. The people who speak different linguistic communication so them act upon it, but due to repeated influence normally for trade a new linguistic communication is formed which normally the mixture of two different linguistic communications. These sorts of pidgin linguistic communications developed on coastal countries during olden times. These linguistic communications are found more amongst African beginnings in the Caribbean. ( Holm, 1998 )

Multilingual’s position on female parent lingua

Tove Skutnabb-kangas ( 1984, p 12-14 ) , negotiations about some popular definitions mother tongue as:

  • The linguistic communication one thinks in ;
  • The linguistic communication one dreams in ;
  • The linguistic communication one counts in ;

The above maps are normally used in one’s first linguistic communication, but non ever. It wholly depends on personality and competency of individual in other linguistic communication apart from their L1. Based on these popular premises in Skutnabb-Kangas book, I conducted an interview with a multilingual individual, whose lingual profile ( line 1-12 in transcripts ) is as follows:

Male in his 30s, from India, populating in USA since 8 old ages, and is competent in: reading, composing and talking English, Gujarati ( mother lingua ) , and Hindi ( national linguistic communication of India ) , Marathi ( his province linguistic communication ) . He can read and write German well, but his speech production proficiency in German is really low. He learned German as a foreign linguistic communication life in India, hence, had really small chance to talk in German. He is successful in his calling and has friends from assorted portion of India in USA. None of his friends talk his female parent lingua. He merely speaks his female parent lingua with his household members: daily with his married woman and hebdomadal with his parents.

Below is an extract from the same transcript of my interview that Tells in which linguistic communication ( s ) my multilingual interviewee multilingual thinks, dreams

  1. Maine: State me in what linguistic communication do believe, dream and count.
  2. Mr.X: Hmmmm. … . … I think it truly depends on what I am making. You know. I say some Numberss in my female parent lingua while speaking to my household members, but I decidedly count in English.
  3. Maine: And you think and dream in?
  4. Mr. X: Thinking for me depends on context. Like at work I ever think in English, but while making my other charge or paperwork I think more in my native language… Gujarati.
  5. Maine: Dream?
  6. Mr.X: Dream …I ne’er thought about the linguistic communication of my dream. But I guess I remember stating a dream to my married woman about my occupation a twosome of yearss ago and it was in English, holding a encephalon ramping statements with my co-workers in English. Yes, I remember woolgathering largely which is mixture of Gujarati and English.
  7. Maine: How do you specify ‘mother lingua?
  8. Mr. X: My female parent lingua is Gujarati, …it tells where I am from, like what portion of India I am from. It shows thousand y birth to a where I belong. I speak, love and esteem the linguistic communications I know but, my female parent lingua is something.. Very near. To non hold female parent lingua would be like an orphan. Don’t know where you belong.

From the transcript we can non generalise that people ever think, dream and count in their female parent lingua. Skutnabbl-kangas have besides opposed these popular definitions and agree that for a multilingual talker the usage of linguistic communication is more contexts based while thought, woolgathering or numbering. Besides, a individual normally uses the linguistic communication in which they are more competent, instead than coping with vocabulary and sentence structure of a linguistic communication in which they are non comfy even if it is their native linguistic communication. But we besides see that my interviewee’s does non ever dream in female parent lingua, like, Mimi the multilingual teenage miss in Betty Quan’s ( 1997 ) drama, who dreams ever in Chinese but is competent in English than is in Chinese. All these different intensions of female parent lingua are true for some instances while untrue for some.

Amazing thing, I noticed while researching for definition of female parent lingua, I found most of intension in books, diary articles and web articles largely on Bilingualism and composing on promoting female parent lingua proficiency in bilingual immigrants. One school of idea is, that first one should develop proficiency in one native linguistic communication and so larn another linguistic communication ( Skutnabb- Kangas & A ; Toukomaa, 1976 ; Skutnubb –Kangas, 1997 ; Lado, 1957 ) . But Grass & A ; Selinkers ( 2001 ) , in their revised positions on the function of the native linguistic communication in larning a foreign linguistic communication Tells that linguistic communication in background does non hold important influence on manner scholars learn their L2. This once more contradicts with Belcher & A ; Connor ( 2001 ) word picture of two multilingual linguists Ryuko Kubota ( L1: Nipponese, L2: English ) , Harkan Ringborn ( L1: Swedish, L2: Finnish and L3: English ) inContemplations on Multiliterate Lives. Both these renounced linguists talk about how they used their first linguistic communication accomplishments to develop their competency in 2nd linguistic communication.

Mother tongue Loss: An Issue

But the job of first linguistic communication loss in immigrant kids is job which most of the English speech production states are coping with for long ( Anderson, 1998, & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.asha.ucf.edu/mejcd1.html & gt ; ) . Since 1970s female parent lingua instruction has found favours in many topographic points. USA, in 1968 though Bilingual Education Act recognized right of kids from non-English talking background to be educated in their female parent lingua and retain their place civilization and linguistic communication while larning linguistic communication of their host community ( Hamers & A ; Blanc 1989, p.192 ) . David Crystal advocates usage of female parent lingua inThe CambridgeEncyclopedia of Language,that one should retain their female parent lingua by utilizing it at place and be a bilingual atleast utilizing English as planetary Lingua Franca. This is the manner we can forestall linguistic communication extinction.

British Council Corporation late published an interesting canvass on their web site, demoing voting from 614 campaigners on “Which option best describes your attitude to utilize to utilize of students’ female parent lingua when learning English? ” The Voters chiefly are from non-native English speech production states. The consequences of the canvass are:

Consequences of Voting

1. I merely use English in Classroom

136

21 %

2. I use mother lingua sometimes

371

58 %

3.I usage female parent lingua about half the clip

39

6 %

4. I use mother lingua often

49

8 %

5. I use the female parent lingua most of the clip

46

7 %

These consequences show most of the English linguistic communication teacher tend to utilize female parent lingua sometimes, statement 2 in tabular array. David Crystal ( 1996 ) besides advocated usage of female parent lingua in larning English in his Encyclopedia of English Language. But once more the usage of female parent lingua depends on the degree of proficiency of the category that one is learning. The issue of how much of female parent lingua should be used in learning another linguistic communication has a batch of potency for farther research ( Gass & A ; Selinker, 2001 ) .

Decision

Though “Mother lingua is a fuzzed concept” Mallikarjun ( 2001 ) , I still would wish to specify ‘mother tongue’ as one first linguistic communication ( L1 ) . But once more this is non ‘the definition’ of female parent lingua, because it does non fulfill the individuality issue. A person’s L1 can be different so his/her native linguistic communication. If the kid learns the host state linguistic communication foremost, like kids of many migratory households do, arises the inquiry of female parent lingua as individuality. Because female parent lingua makes you an independent person while at the same time groups you in a peculiar group of a linguistic communication talker. It is interesting to cognize people learn their female parent lingua, lose it and they once more retrieve their female parent lingua – to recover their individuality. Hence we can state that ‘mother tongue’ is more of an individuality form but we still necessitate more research to explicate it better.

Mentions:

Belcher, D & A ; Connor, U ( explosive detection systems. ) 2001,Contemplations on Multiliterate Lifes, Multilingual Matters LTD, Buffalo, Toronto, Canada

Crystal D, 1995,The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, Cambridge University Press

Crystal D, 1996,The Cambridge Encyclopedia of English Language, Cambridge University Press

Flower & A ; Flower, 1993 quoted inThe Linguistic Encyclopedia( 2003 ) , eds. , Malnkjaer, Roultedge USA & A ; Canada

Grass, S & A ; Selinker L 2000,Second Language Acquisition: An Introductory Course, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, London and Mahwah, New Jersey

Grosjean, F 1982, Life with Two Languages: An Introduction to Bilingualism, Cambridge, MA and London Harvard, University Press

Hamer, F & A ; BlancM.H.A, 1989Bilinguality and Bilingualism, Cambridge, MA and London Harvard University Press.

Holm, J.A 1998, Pidgin and Creole, Vol.,1Theory and Structure, Cambridge University Press.

Lado, 1957 as referred inThe Linguistic Encyclopedia( 2003 ) , ed Malnkjaer, Roultedge USA & A ; Canada

Pavlenko, A, 2003, “I experience Clumsy Speaking Russian: L2 influence on L1 in Narratives of Russian L2 users of English, in Cook, V ( explosive detection systems. ) ,Effectss of the Second Language on First, Multilingual Matters LTD. Buffalo, Toronto, Canada

Quan, B, 1996,Mother Tongue, Scirocco Drama, Gordon shilling Ford Publishing Inc.

Ronjat 1913, Le Development De Language Observe Chez unfant Bilingual Paris Champion, inThe Linguistic Encyclopedia( 2003 ) , ed Malnkjaer, Roultedge USA & A ; Canada

Skutnabb-Kangas, T 1984,Bilingualism or Not: The Education of Minorities, Multilingual Matters LTD.

Skutnabb- Kangas, T & A ; Toukomma, P, 1976 as mentioned inThe Linguistic Encyclopedia( 2003 ) , ed Malnkjaer, Roultedge USA & A ; Canada

Skutnaab_ Kangas, T, & A ; Toukomma, P 1977,The Intensive Teaching of the Mother- Tongue to Migrant Children at Pre School Age, Tukkimuksia Research Report ordinal number, 26, Dept. of Sociology and Social Psychology, University of Tampere Finland

Electronic Mentions:

Anderson, R ( 1998 ) . ‘Examining Language Loss in Bilingual Children’ , Language Articles inThe Multicultural Electronic Journal of Communication Disorders, vol. , 1: 1, viewed on 6ThursdayMay 2005.

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.asha.ucf.edu/mejcd1.html

Bhatt. S ( 2004 )The Clock’s Loneliness, viewed 5ThursdayMay, 2005,

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.erzsebel.com/clock/clockarchives/003294.html

Mallikarjun. B, ( 2001 ) : ‘Language harmonizing to Census of India 2001’ , vol 1:2 April 2001,Language in India, viewed on 5ThursdayMay, 2005,

hypertext transfer protocol: //www.languageinindia.com/april2001/indiancensus.html

Appendix I

Transcript
  1. Maine: Hi, can you state me in how many linguistic communications can you talk, read and compose?
  2. Mr. X: Hi, I can talk, read and compose really good in 3 linguistic communications: English: which was my media of direction through out my schooling, Gujarati: my female parent lingua, which I learnt to talk in first, speak and place and studied officially as a topic in school, Hindi: national linguistic communication of my state India, which is used at work in India, besides popular media is in Hindi. I know these linguistic communications really good. I can talk and read good in Marathi, which was my province linguistic communication. You know in India we have province linguistic communication and my household happens to populate in different province than province, which has my female parent lingua Gujarati as its province linguistic communication. You follow me?
  3. Maine: Yes, yes please continue.
  4. Mr. X: Oh. Ok. I learnt German as foreign linguistic communication in India. I can read but hard for me to hold a conversation in German. Actually we don’t acquire to pattern much German in India.
  5. Maines: True. So, how many linguistic communications you use in your day-to-day life?
  6. MrX: Hmmmm. Now I live in USA, I use English a batch at work, with friends with my married woman. English had become like an native linguistic communication to me.
  7. Maine: Do you utilize your female parent lingua or any other linguistic communication you know in your day-to-day life?
  8. Mr.X: Yes, I do, I do. I am still Indian and a Gujarati. I use my female parent tongue daily with my married woman and my siblings. We do blend English with our female parent lingua. You know… similar thing happens with my Indian friends because we all portion our national linguistic communication in Hindi and English. So our major conversation is sometimes in Hindi and sometimes English or both. But with my parents I speak merely in female parent lingua.
  9. Maine: Amazing. So how about usage of your province linguistic communication Maraathiiii… ?
  10. Mr.X: Marathi. I don’t utilize any more in USA. But when we I go to see my parents in India I use little… . like words and little sentence with workers in my father’s store and with local people. I don’t retrieve holding a long conversation in Marathi for old ages.
  11. Maine: Yes. This happens if one does non utilize some linguistic communication for long clip. We call it linguistic communication loss in linguistics.
  12. Maine: State me in what linguistic communication do believe, dream and count.
  13. Mr.X: Hmmmm. … . … I think it truly depends on what I am making. You know. I say some Numberss in my female parent lingua while speaking to my household members, but I decidedly count in English.
  14. Maine: And you think and dream in?
  15. Mr. X: Thinking for me depends on context. Like at work I ever think in English, but while making my other charge or paperwork I think more in my native language… Gujarati.
  16. Maine: Dream?
  17. Mr.X: Dream …I ne’er thought about the linguistic communication of my dream. But I guess I remember stating a dream to my married woman about my occupation a twosome of yearss ago and it was in English, holding a encephalon ramping statements with my co-workers in English. Yes, I remember woolgathering largely which is mixture of Gujarati and English.
  18. Maine: How do you specify ‘mother lingua?
  19. Mr. X: My female parent lingua is Gujarati, …it tells where I am from, like what portion of India I am from. It shows thousand y birth to a where I belong. I speak, love and esteem the linguistic communications I know but, my female parent lingua is something.. Very near. To non hold female parent lingua would be like an orphan. Don’t know where you belong.