Native speaker

From PALaC Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search


madrelingua | Muttersprachler | locuteur natif


A native speaker, or mother tongue, or L1 speaker, is a speaker who, as a child, learned a given language as their first language. Native speakers can be monolingual, bilingua or trilingual. Typically, the acquisition window of the native language is located in the first years of life of a human being (Newport 2006), even though the identification of the exact age is still object of debate.

The distinction between a native speaker and a non-native speaker is importante, because the competence of someone who learned a language as a teenager or an adult will never be perfect, which reflects on the quality and type of the mistakes and interference from their native language when they use a foreign one.


Newport, E.L. 2006. Language Development, Critical Periods in. Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, Wiley-Blackwell, 737-740.