First language is the language that a human learns from birth or in early childhood. It is also known as the mother tongue, native language, or primary language. First language acquisition typically occurs naturally and spontaneously within a child’s environment through exposure to parents, family members, caregivers, and other children, who communicate with them using that particular language. It forms the basis for a person’s linguistic and cognitive development, shaping their thought processes, communication skills, and cultural identity.
First language v. second language[edit | edit source]
The concept of first language is typically contrasted with second language. The terms first language and second language are not absolute categories, as some individuals may acquire multiple languages simultaneously or sequentially. Additionally, there are terms like heritage language to describe languages spoken by individuals with cultural or familial connections to a particular language but who may not have acquired it as their first language.