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Hope ya'll don't mind if I bring attention to this question:

"If people learn a language at home in childhood, but do not have opportunities to use it later in the wider world of adulthood, does the childhood language still "count" as their native language?"
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If a person of [for example] Chinese origin is brought up in England with Chinese as the language used in the home in infancy and childhood, and English as the language learned in school, then Chinese is the native language.

More complicated is the situation where a child has two languages in the home [say, English and German] and speaks both equally.
Could such a person be labeled a native-speaker of both languages?
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Anonymous "If people learn a language at home in childhood, but do not have opportunities to use it later in the wider world of adulthood, does the childhood language still "count" as their native language?"
A cousin of mine (father Italian, mother Dutch) was born in the Netherlands and lived there as a toddler. She grew up monolingual, since everybody (my uncle included) was speaking Dutch only. Her family moved to Italy when she was four and unable to utter a single word in Italian (but she had a good command of her language, and was quite talkative). Shame on my uncle and aunt, they never spoke Dutch again with their daughter, who learnt Italian very quickly but completely forgot Dutch.
End of the story: now in her twenties, she speaks only Italian and cannot speak with her Dutch relatives, unless her mother acts as an interpreter.

In her case, her "native" language is actually a foreign language, which she doesn't even understand - let alone speak.
Hi,
good example Tanit. Yeah, so she should say she's a native speaker of Dutch, but she doesn't know it, LOL.

If we consider Tanit's example, I think we should give a different definition of native speaker. I'd say a native speaker of a language is someone who has complete command of that language, like people who've been using it as a fist language ever since they were born. So I think you can "become" a native speaker, if you start learning soon enough and you are surrounded by that language.

Then there's another thing... your first language. Is it possible to not have a first language? I guess it's possible... Those who are truly bilingual don't have a fist language, do they? They have two first languages... maybe.

But all those cases only apply to certain situations. In most cases, it's easy to point out what's someone's native language, first language, second language, etc.
KooyeenThose who are truly bilingual don't have a fist language, do they? They have two first languages... maybe.
It seems to me that I once read somewhere that, according to some "scientific studies", one language always dominates, even in bilinguals. (Don't ask me to cite a reference.)
CJ
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CalifJimt seems to me that I once read somewhere that, according to some "scientific studies", one language always dominates, even in bilinguals.
Hmm, yeah, it must be so, unless someone uses both languages the same way, in the same kinds of situations, one language 50% of the time, and the other 50% of the time. Highly improbable.
I already realize that when I use English intensively for some time, then my Italian seems to be somehow affected by English. And if I don't practice any English for a while, I find it more difficult to think in English.
A thing I've always wondered about is... is it possible to be perfectly bilingual, that is, complete control of two languages AND native accent in both languages as well? I know there are some people who know two, three, four languages very well or at native level, but suspect their accents are based on their "primary" languages. I think it is possible to have native accents in two languages, but it seems already pretty difficult with two to me, since I noticed that if I practice speaking a little bit, then my Italian vowels tend to be corrupted at first.
What do you think?
Emotion: smile
<<I'd say a native speaker of a language is someone who has complete command of that language, >>

But there are many native-speakers who do not have complete command of the language. Just go in any British or American bar and you'll see what I mean. Emotion: big smile
If someone was bilingual, I would think their native language would be the one they are able to converse in more fluently and write adequately in. I wouldn't think it was possible to be completely 50% in all areas of communications in both languages.
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