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Loan translation and/or phonetic adaptation of Middle Low German môdersprâke, itself possibly a loan translation of Latin lingua materna. Analyzable as Mutter (mother) +‎ Sprache (language).


  • IPA(key): /ˈmʊtɐˌʃpʁaːxə/, [ˈmʊtɐˌʃpʁäːχə]
  • (file)


Muttersprache f (genitive Muttersprache, plural Muttersprachen)

  1. mother tongue; native language
    Coordinate term: Fremdsprache
    Deutsch ist meine Muttersprache.
    German is my native language.
  2. (often humorous) the language one has learnt from one’s mother (chiefly in the case of two parents with different languages)
    Coordinate term: Vatersprache
    Türkisch ist meine Muttersprache und Deutsch meine Vatersprache.
    Turkish is my mother’s language and German is my father’s language.
  3. (linguistics, rare or archaic) ancestor language, parent language (language from which another is derived)
    Synonym: Vorläufersprache
    Coordinate terms: Tochtersprache, Schwestersprache
    Latein ist die Muttersprache des Romanischen.
    Latin is the ancestor of Romance.


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