Mother tongue is mostly those languages which a person speaks from birth. It is something, which he or she is accustomed with and won’t change in any cost. It is the language, in which the person is most comfortable with while interacting with people. It is also subjected to be known as dominant language, home language, native tongue and what not. According to linguists and modern educators, these languages are mostly referred as L1 speakers, and L2 means the second language, as used while studying.
Going Through The Concept:
Known as a person’s dominant language, it is often stated to be the best form of communication for a person. Such languages hold a special position in people’s lives. Most of the translating agencies often hire native speaking individuals to work on their client’s respective projects. As these speakers have quite fluency in their dominant languages, so making way for the right translation won’t be a tough job for them. February 21st is the day when it is celebrated International Mother Tongue Day, thanks to UNESCO for that.
Now For The Numbers:
As per the latest survey result and data from Ethnologue, it has been seen that around 7099 living languages are there around the world. If you check for the result from 2015, there were around 7102 languages. It clearly shows that some of these languages have died due to negligence. Among the other living languages, there are 23 mother tongues, which are gaining quite some popularity.
22. Malay bahasa
There are so many countries which are following these languages. Among the lot, the most promising one has to be the English with 106 countries following it. Now, the difference in the speaker’s numbers is mainly because of the migration. Here, the younger generations have forsaken their mother tongue and got adapted to the language where they are settled for life. This is one of the major reasons behind the sudden extinction of some of the mother tongue or dominant languages. It is rather sad and should be considered to be taken seriously into account.
Chinese is known to have been dominating 37 countries and comprises of around 1284 million number of L1 speakers. English, on the other hand, has 437 million L1 speakers in 106 countries! It clearly shows that number of countries does not matter in order to show a rising number.
Reasons Why Dominant Languages Extinct:
Most of the time, it is sadly stated that globalization is the reason behind dying mother tongue. For some other people, the reason is the capitalization and trade. But this is not what linguistic specialists have to say.
• For the experts, trade cannot be a language killer. On the other hand, it helps in boosting cultural exchange. It further helps in spreading various cultures to multiple regions.
• If you check out history, you will get to realize that new lingua francas was mostly created for the need of trade exchange. But, when any country imposes the current use of official trade based language then it kills the other dominant languages of the business owners.
• The main cause behind mother tongue interruption is alteration or interruption of transmission. The main reason behind it is urbanization.
• Later, the children take up their parent’s culture and start speaking in the adapted language. When they grow up and start their own families, they have completed forgotten their mother tongue.
Terminology To Define Dominant Tongue:
The most common definition of native speaker is the one, who is born in a particular country and speaks the language of that place during formative years. Native speaker will only be accepted as authority in the language the person is most comfortable to work with and have grown as child. This is mostly because of their naturally acquired option. They will definitely have personal interaction with speakers and language.
• Remember that just because a person is a native speaker, that does not mean he or she will be always grammatically correct or knows the rules of language.
• What works for them is the instinctive knowledge about rules as they have quite some experience in the language they are working on since young.
• It needs to be pointed out that the children born with bilingual parents have the right to enjoy two dominant languages. However, he or she might speak the one, which is more dominant than the two.
Origin Of The Term Mother Tongue:
A catholic philosopher and priest, Ivan Illich stated that it was the Catholic monks, who were the one to have first invented and use the term “mother tongue.” The term was then used for assigning specified language, used at that time apart from Latin during preaching or teaching.
• In some of the countries in India, East Asia and Kenya, native language is solely referred to language of ethnic group.
• In other place like Singapore, the same term is used even when the speaker is not quite proficient in the main language of the tribe. But, they mostly refer to English as their first language.
• When Island Nation was governed by the British Empire, English was known to be the lingua Franca. This language was the one that was used as working language and proper instructional medium.
Mother Tongue And Its Educational Importance:
A part of a child definitely has to be his or her mother tongue or first language ever learned. It helps in learning and reflecting the culture on social speaking and action pattern of that person. It further helps in differentiating between native and non-native one.
• A non-native speaker can often be fluent after going through the same language for 2 years. But for reaching that same level as that a native one can take them up to 7 years. to be considered as professional bilingual, the person needs to be intelligent in both languages.
• It has been found in multiple studies that children with bilingual have been performing great in non-verbal and verbal languages and even higher than monolinguals.
• Moreover, it is stated that bilinguals are known to possess diversified set of mental abilities. It helps them to display some great attitudes.
• If you are going through education or even eyeing for better job opportunities, you need to be flexible. To help you in this regard, bilingual people are the ones to head for. They have better hold on arbitrary language nature they are associated with.
Moreover, the balanced bilinguals are known to use some logical preferences in place of phonetic ones while working on the word associations. These are some of the major points to consider around here. So, you can very well understand the importance which a mother tongue holds.
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