Two Native Languages

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Two Native Languages

Two Native Languages
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Two Native Languages

What’s Better Than Having One Native Language? Having Two!

Have you ever had a friend in school or college who was born in one country and then had to move to another for studies or some other reason? Well, that friend would have spoken two languages easily because they were both native to him and left you amazed. That’s something called Bilingualism. In some instances, they may have a foreign accent but that’s just because of the places they’ve been to. Sometimes their accents can be quite distinguished but other times, they acquire the native speaker accent gradually.

You meet people of Indian, Chinese, and even Middle Eastern descent but they sound exactly like Native Americans. That’s because language acquisition allows the speaker to sound like the ones with whom they converse on a daily basis. This is why most people get a native accent. The same reason why English speakers of Britain and America sound very different, apart from the very different terms, slang, and words they associate with certain things. Even people are not as fluent in their mother tongues if they move to a different country and the people around them are speaking a different lingo.

 

Bilingual People

And for such bilingual people, psychology suggests some very interesting facts. The Department of psychology and logopedics from the Cognitive Brain Research Unit of Helsinki University conducted research to study the effects of learning two or more languages on the brain and human interaction. Some other researchers even monitored the cognition of 6-month-old infants after showing them visuals of people speaking in native accents. It has been an evident result in many other studies that our brains are conditioned to associate meanings with the sounds we often hear.

native speaker
native language definition

Who Is A Native Speaker

According to the dictionary, someone who has learned a language in question from his early childhood is the native speaker of that language. For instance, someone who was born and raised in America is a native English speaker.

But describing a native speaker isn’t that simple, linguists believe that there goes more into the equation. One thing that they all agree upon though, is that since there is no definite test or specific evaluation pattern, there is no way to determine linguistic competence and certify people as Native language speakers. But the thumb of the rule is if a child speaks the language of the country he/she was born in or the language of his/her family and social groups etc. then he is a native language speaker.

On the other hand, if a foreigner was born in a different land, had a different language, and then goes to a different country, the individual language he’ll learn will be his second or foreign language. Interestingly, for someone who was born in a different country but moved to another at a very young age, so young that he couldn’t even speak his mother tongue, and the official language he only learned was his second language, then by half definition, it’s his native language.

Can One Have Two Native Languages?

well, the answer to that is both yes and no. Bilingual language acquisition is not that complicated, of course, if you are devoted enough. So yeah, there are bilingual speakers because anyone can speak and learn two, three, or as many languages as they’d like. Bilingual language acquisition is definitely a thing and people can speak two native languages for sure. But they may or may not be as fluent in them both.
Consider a Pakistani family whose child was born in Pakistan where his primary language was Urdu but he couldn’t get time to learn his first language or mother tongue. His parents moved to America when he was still an infant. Now as he grows, this child will be more fluent in the Native speech as the linguistic environment around him was native American. Now, this same child may later be learning his first language or maybe not, but both Urdu and English are going to be his native languages and he will be considered bilingual. The same child could speak his mother tongue in a foreign accent because technically he didn’t learn it first.

mother tongue
2 native language

Can people speak in more than two or three native languages?

Speaking of multilingualism, people can speak in more than two or three native languages as well. In India, different states have many regional individual languages, one of them could be the mother tongue of the residents. People of these regions converse equally well in the regional languages as well as the dominant language of the state or the country. Neuroscientists and the department of psychology in many countries have found evidence that learning a new language can have a great impact on cognitive development, especially in children of younger ages.

Here, it is also important to keep in mind that in some countries like Kenya, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, the mother tongue or native language is the one which is associated with their ethnic groups, tribes, provinces, or regions. For instance, Punjabi is the mother tongue of Sikh people because their common ancestors belonged to Punjab and the mother tongue of Pathans is Pashto, the language spoken in KPK. In such countries, most of the regional languages are also recognized as the official languages of the country. All of these are spoken and understood at a native speaker level.

What are Language Relationships?

Is there a language community? We know that languages emerged as subbranches of the larger language families, and they are closely related to one another. Language relationships can be studied with Language Maps. Those highlight language relationships using different shades, colors, and lines. Historically, more than 300 languages were used by Alaska’s native population. Although most of these are on the brink of extinction, 20 Alaska native languages are in use today.

Eskimo-Aleut languages and Athabascan-Eyak-Tlingit are among the twenty Alaska native languages

The Indo-Aryan and Dravidian languages, are the mother languages of a larger group of the local and regional languages in India. The native language speakers use several versions of their mother tongues and many of them have become contact languages as well. For some indigenous languages, this is a critical period as they are rapidly being replaced by other blends and fusions of modern language usages and terms.

How do People Become Bilingual?

Well, the first way is involuntary for a child, as they grow up, they can choose to learn another language at school, college, or university. This way they can learn another language as an adult. But being an adult, it gets harder for your brain to learn a new language. Whereas if you start learning even two to three contact languages while you were a kid, you’ll most certainly hit it off.

Professional translators, linguistic informants, and interpreters are commonly fluent in foreign-accented speech. They are professionally aware of linguistic methods and language relationships which help them even more in language switching. This happens because it is a part of their job and they use proven and studied linguistic methods to acquire native speech. Their multilingualism allows them to do more research on a given dialect. After spending a while with the native language speakers of a certain area, they become more fluent in native speech. So this is how bilingual language acquisition takes place.

Another thing to pinpoint here, learning a foreign accent is different from learning a different language. And thanks to the advent of technology, people can now learn foreign accents without going through the hassle of applying for a visa. And not to forget paying for the ticket to go to a different country. In today’s world, if you want to establish a Scottish native accent, you can find tons of apps that can help you. You can even find videos and tutorials on Youtube which can help you acquire proficiency in foreign-accented speech. So if you want to sound as fluent in a foreign language as your mother tongue, you should definitely check out language learning apps and videos.

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