native language

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English[edit]

Noun[edit]

native language (plural native languages)

  1. The language of a Native or Aboriginal people (often capitalized).
    • 2004, George Guthridge, “Nine Whispered Opinions Regarding the Alaskan Secession”, in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, v 107, n 1, p 37:
      Mary Sarah Nelson, 93, is not the last of her tribe – there are four dozen left – but the last speaker of its language. The federal attempt to grant tax credits to Native American parents whose children prove fluent in Native languages has failed. When she switches from English to Eyak, there is a sadness to her that neither language can express.
    • 2006, Robin Maria DeLugan, “‘South of the Border’ at the NMAI”, in American Indian Quarterly, v 30, n 3/4 (fall), pp 558–573:
      The irony of the Bibles and their translation into Native languages during the same period in which Native children were punished, even beaten, for speaking their language is another point left unexplored in the galleries of the NMAI.
    • 2007, Bruce Elliott Johansen, The Praeger Handbook on Contemporary Issues in Native America, Greenwood, ISBN 0275991393, p 20:
      Additional Alaska Native language programs have been offered by the Goldbelt Corporation and Sealaska Corporation. Elementary, intermediate, and advanced Tlingit, as well as elementary Haida, have been taught at the University of Alaska Southeast by Native speakers who are fluent and also understand the worldview expressed by the languages, as reflected in their syntax and grammar and their cultural references.
  2. One's first language, learned in early childhood.
    • 2007 November 23, on “Teaching Spanish; Holiday Debt”, John Gibson Show, Fox Radio:
      Mary Katharine, one of the things in California, kids apparently who speak English as a second language have a year in which they can take classes that are taught in their native language in addition to English, and some people would say that that should help them really get established and after that, you're on your own, go take all the tests in English.

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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