Mother tongue (also native language ) is the first language that a child learns and that generally corresponds to the ethnic-linguistic group with which the individual identifies culturally. For example, a child of Portuguese descent will more easily adopt the language that their parents use due to their origins. In certain cases, when the child is educated by parents (or other people) who speak different languages, it is possible to acquire the mastery of two languages simultaneously, each of which can be considered as a mother tongue, thus creating a situation of bilingualism . [ 1 ]
The expression mother tongue comes from the custom in which mothers were the only ones to educate their children in early childhood, making the mother’s language the first to be assimilated by the child, conditioning her speaking apparatus to that linguistic system. The acquisition of the mother tongue occurs in several stages. Initially, the child literally records the phonemes and intonations of the language, without yet being able to reproduce them. Then, it begins to produce sounds and intonations until its vocal apparatus allows it to articulate words and organize sentences, assimilating the lexicon at the same time . Syntax and grammar are gradually integrated into this learning process. [ 2 ]
- 1Approaches of linguists
- 2Other features
- 3See also
Linguistic approaches [ edit | edit source code ]
Saussure [ 3 ] does not define the concept of native speaker, but of the speech / language community. It proposes three categories: langage (what happens linguistically in a speech community), langue (the linguistic system used) and parole (the speech actually used by people). It states that members of the same language community, although they speak differently, understand each other and that, therefore, they must share a series of rules that allow them to understand.
The linguist Bloomfield, author of Linguagem [ 4 ] does not use the term native speaker but uses “the native language”. Chomsky [ 5 ] states that “each person is a native speaker of states of a particular language that ‘grows’ in their brain / mind”. He composes one of the ambiguities that exist in the idea of a native speaker and uses it to refer to a person and an ideal.
For Paikeday [ 6 ] there is a genetic determinant of speech acquisition and “to be human is to be a native speaker”. He points to discrimination in the use of the term native speech, which is used against speakers who do not have the ideal characteristics and states that this term should not be used to exclude certain types of people from teaching the language, editing dictionaries, documents and other functions similar. He believes that the best solution is to separate the ideal and the operational meanings of the native speaker. For him, the true grammatical referees are not only native speakers, but also users with proficiency in the language.
Felix [ 7 ] proposes the existence of two distinct cognitive systems for learning a language: the first is a system of language-specific cognitive structures and the second is problem-solving cognitive structures. According to the author, the first is available until puberty and therefore, to acquire a language, the native speaker mainly uses the system of specific language cognitive structures, while in the non-native speaker, the two systems compete with each other. the other.
According to Tannen & Saville-Troike [ 8 ] , the communicative competence of the native speaker means an acquisition of several interactional skills, among them: the ability to relate and adapt to other interlocutors, observe the pragmatic protocol, be sensitive to the context and in this way, being able to access suitable linguistic units, conducting dialogue in appropriate ways and being able to relate a continuous text to the user’s own understanding of the world. Therefore, for the native speaker, there is less effort when interacting verbally with family members and, as a result, more unfilled silence (implicit information) between family members compared to an interaction with strangers.
Richards et al. [ 9 ] emphasizes the importance of intuition to define a native speaker. Hymes (1970) proposed the term communicative competence to deal with knowledge learned from cultural norms, which is crucial in the use of language, especially for the native speaker. For this competence, it is not enough to know what is said, it is necessary to know how to say it. And the “how” for this author does not refer to speech performance, but to the proper use of the register, variety, text, formula, tone of voice and formality. For the native speaker, in general, the use of appropriate forms is acquired through their mother tongue.
Other features [ edit | edit source code ]
In the native speaker, the language is closely linked to the speaking community, sense of identity and culture. With regard to competence, he is aware of automaticity, that is, of performance without thinking in all areas of his knowledge because he is familiar with all the structural features of the linguistic code and is capable of making judgments of perception, in addition, learns your first language according to a specific language cognitive system. Therefore, he has more knowledge and awareness of his own grammar, his own speech and the other.
According to several linguists, there is a grammar whose level of abstraction is above individual speech, so in this sense being a native speaker means being linguistically close to other speakers. In this way, the common language of any community, be it a family, city, tribe, town, region, island, country can be object of grammatical description.
Porter [ 10 ]reports that native speakers do not use the type of ungrammatical language sometimes encountered in the speech of a foreigner. The errors of native speakers are usually performance, subject and verb agreement and pronoun reference. They also have significantly more words (vocabulary) and are able to monitor their own speech and the speech of another interlocutor more closely, which is the pattern parallel to the self-correction and correction of others. They recognize more easily when a phrase, text or sound (pronunciation) may or may not be in their language, whether it is familiar (correct) or not, they know when a new word or expression, which he has never heard or invented, “belongs” your tongue. That is, the native speaker has the capacity and authority to generate creativity in the language in the most diverse areas. They also do regression,