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On 5 September 2011 23:44, Sam Stutter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Forgive me for fulfilling the conlang stereotype of pedantry, but I had
> always believed that first language meant "the foreign language one is most
> proficient in" and that native languages are termed "tongues", where T1 is
> the language you use most regularly. Hence an Iranian-British person would
> have:
>
> T1: Persian
> T2: English
>
> With L1 and L2 being whatever they learnt at school
>
>
Well, that is the very first time I ever hear those words used this way. My
understanding (and all the reading I've done agrees with it) is that "first
language", "native language" and "L1" are synonyms. As for "tongue", besides
referring to a specific organ, it refers to a specific instance of language,
while the word "language" itself can refer both to a specific instance and
to the ability in general. I've never heard tongue being used exclusively to
refer to one's native language. The English tongue is the English tongue, no
matter whether it's being spoken by a native speaker or by someone who
learned the language at school. I've never seen the abbreviations T1, T2...
only L1, L2... referring to one's languages, with no difference whether
they've learned them at school or not. Indeed, I find the distinction
between languages learnt at school and languages learnt in other ways to be
artificial at best, useless at worst. How one's learned a language usually
has no bearing on their capacity to use it or their feelings towards it. The
only important matter is how they are *using* them.
-- 
Christophe Grandsire-Koevoets.

http://christophoronomicon.blogspot.com/
http://www.christophoronomicon.nl/