Mother Tongue


Since we are born, people gradually acquire different skills such as eating, walking or speaking . The latter is one of the most surprising to parents when the child manages to articulate mom or dad for the first time . And this will be just the beginning, little by little the child will learn new words, improve their way of communicating and develop the one known as the mother tongue .

What is a mother tongue?

The mother tongue is the language of our parents , and it is what they teach us from the moment we are born . It is therefore the  first language that people acquire .

  • Meaning
  • Synonyms
  • Characteristics
  • Types
  • Mother tongue and early childhood education
  • Importance
  • International Mother Language Day
  • Examples


The meaning of mother tongue is none other than that of being the language that a person learns in the first place , from the precise moment they are born. Those languages ​​that begin to be learned with posterity , for example when the person is already 5 or 6 years old, are not considered as a mother tongue but as a second language . Despite the above statement, there are linguists like Noam Chomsky who claim that a person can learn these types of languages ​​up to 12 years of age.



Some synonyms for mother tongue are  native language, native language , and even as L1 .


The mother tongue of a person has the following characteristics:

  • It is the first language to be learned .
  • It is the language in which we think.
  • It allows us to communicate.
  • It facilitates learning, also of a second language.


There are as many types of mother tongues as there are languages because they are classified in exactly the same way. Thus, we have Indo- European, Altaic, Austro-Asian, Japonic, Ottomangoan, Turkic or Indigenous mother tongues , among many other types.

Mother tongue and early childhood education

During childhood one of the most important aspects is training and a fundamental factor in the success or failure of this may be the language in which the children are taught. Countries where many languages ​​are spoken, such as Guatemala or the Philippines, have detected the importance of teaching children in their own mother tongue to reduce the possibility of school failure . In addition, this also contributes to the improvement of self-esteem and cultural identity of children.


The mother tongue is important for many reasons, on the one hand it is the language we use both to think and to communicate on a day-to-day basis. On the other hand, it is an essential element in education , since having a certain ignorance of it will make learning difficult.

Its use is extremely important to preserve cultural diversity . Unfortunately, in Latin America , many indigenous peoples decide to use Spanish to communicate, putting aside their mother tongue, thus sinking it into oblivion.

International Mother Language Day

Since the year 2000, on February 21, the International Mother Language Day has been celebrated  . This celebration, which was approved by the UN in November 1999, serves to promote multilingualism and  multiculturalism .


Next we are going to see some examples of mother tongues and we are going to do it by seeing which are the most widely spoken, both by country and worldwide.

Most spoken mother tongue in the world

Currently, the most widely spoken mother tongue in the world is Chinese , followed by Spanish and English .

Most widely spoken mother tongue in the United States

The United States is a country in which many languages ​​are spoken, but most of it is done in a very minority way. Thus, there are two that mainly emphasize English , which we could consider as the first mother tongue of the United States , and Spanish, which is currently the mother tongue of more than 12% of the country’s inhabitants .

Mother tongue of the Dominican Republic

In the Dominican Republic, almost 100% of the population speaks Spanish as their mother tongue .

Whose mother tongue is Spanish?

Castilian is another way of calling Spanish . One of its main uses is to indicate the Spanish that is spoken in the Iberian Peninsula , specifically in the area of ​​the old kingdom of Castile . Even so, as we have said, Spanish and Castilian is the same language, therefore, the Spanish speakers of Spain , Mexico , Colombia, Chile , Argentina, Peru, the United States or Venezuela , among many other countries, will have it as their mother tongue .

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