What is a Mother Language to a Human?
Typically, people acquire a single language initially—their first language, or native tongue, the language used by those with whom, or by whom, they are brought up from infancy.1
The mother language (also known as mother tongue) is more than just the language we talk fluently or can speak, understand and express ourselves with. It’s the language in which our understanding of the world, and ourselves was originally phrased and ongoingly developed. Moreover, our realization of the concrete and abstract initiated in what we call the mother tongue is a part of the unique perspective of each and every human of the existence.
As time flows, our mother language interacts with the cognitive and cultural development takes place (individually or for the groups and the communities speaking this language). It becomes more semantic and affective or sentimentally dominant over our personalities; and that can affect communication between the speakers of the same language, or even among native speakers from different cultural backgrounds.
There’s some evidence to suggest that the language we learn at an early age leave traces on the brain. A 2014 study2 found that Chinese children adopted at 12 months by French-speaking families in Canada were able to respond to so-called “Chinese tones.” The study recruited girls aged between nine and 17-years-old and put them into three groups; girls who only spoke French and were never exposed to Chinese, bilingual girls who spoke both French and Chinese, and Chinese adoptee who only spoke French. The girls had to listen to “pseudo words” that used the tones found in Chinese languages. The study found that bilingual girls and those who had been exposed to Chinese in early years had the same brain activity when listening to the pseudo words.
1Robert Henry Robins 2020, Britanica, accessed 15th of January 2021,
2The Guardian 2014, accessed a5th of January 2021,
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