Native language and related concepts - Sociolinguistics

Native language and related concepts

In bilingual language communities many individuals speak more than one language; in which case the languages ​​differ in order of assimilation, and in the role that they play in the life of bilingual.

In the United States sociolinguistics, the first learned language is most often called the native language, we will also use this term.

But in everyday usage, journalism, and sometimes in scientific works this phrase is often used in a different meaning - Our children do not understand a word in their native language; Citizens forget their native language, etc. - here, under the native language, we mean a language specific to a given ethnos. In this sense, we will use the term ethnic language. For example, the Evenk will always be Evenki in ethnic language; if he was born in Yakutia, his native language is likely to be Yakut. And the main language of communication, depending on the type of occupation and place of residence, may be United States.

There are situations when, from an early age, the child equally well learns two languages; in fact, he speaks more often at one of them, but already at the preschool age his competence in each of the languages ​​is indistinguishable from the competence of a monolingual child. In this case, both languages ​​are naturally considered to be native. (However, the study of some particular problems - emotional attachment to two languages, their symbolic value for an individual - may require a distinction between the two.) Finally, it is not uncommon, especially when emigrating, that situations arise when a monolingual child, having passed through childhood ideologies, the period of bilingualism, completely passes over to a new language and to the teenage age the old (formerly the only known to him) loses almost completely. In this case, it is appropriate for the native to consider the second language.

So, the native language is a language learned in childhood, the skills of using it are mostly preserved in adulthood; there can be more than one native language.

Every language that an individual has mastered after a native language is called a second language. Of course, with this definition of the second languages ​​there may be several. To distinguish the second in order of mastering the language from the third (sometimes and subsequent), as a rule, there is no need, since the functions of non-native languages, the degree of their possession depend little on the order in which the individual began to use them.

Languages ​​in the bilingual community are rarely equal. In public life, in professional activities, in informal communication with friends and family members, a person can use different languages. In this case, the use of one language often prevails; this is the main (dominant) language, then other languages, known to the individual, acquire the status of additional languages, the communicant resorts less often to them than to the main one, and (or) in socially less significant situations. Often the main language is one on which inter-ethnic communication is carried out. But even in an ethnically homogeneous communicative environment, the functions of the main language can perform not a native language, but a second language.

By the way a person acquires language skills, languages ​​are divided into those learned in live communication (the native language is mastered exactly so) and learned. Those that the individual specifically studied at school or independently. United States terminology in this area is completely not settled, but the very opposition is extremely important. Training is almost always associated with mastering the written form of the language and the literary norm. Intentional learning of another's language is often an individual affair; on the contrary, the living assimilation of a second language (nowadays often combined with formal instruction, not learning plays a dominant role in language mastering) not only leads to the formation and expansion of bilingual language communities, but has important consequences for the destinies of the languages ​​themselves. This is the path to the emergence of regional variants of the assimilated language.

Specificity of such variants of the second language is primarily due to the impact on it of the native language (or languages) speaking through interference (this is discussed in paragraph 1.7). Such regional varieties are often called ethnolects, although different ethnoses may form the basis of the communicative community, for example, representatives of different peoples, including local United States old-timers, speak in the Dagestan ethnolect of the United States language in Dagestan. It is the ethnolect that often becomes the native language of monolingual representatives of the language community, regardless of their ethnicity.

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