A foreign language is a language indigenous to another country. It is also a language not spoken in the native country of the person referred to, i.e. an English speaker living in Japan can say that Japanese is a foreign language to him or her. These two characterisations do not exhaust the possible definitions, however, and the label is occasionally applied in ways that are variously misleading or factually inaccurate.
Some children learn more than one language from birth or from a very young age: they are bilingual or multilingual. These children can be said to have two, three or more mother tongues: neither language is foreign to that child, even if one language is a foreign language for the vast majority of people in the child's birth country. For example, a child learning English from her English father and Japanese at school in Japan can speak both English and Japanese, but neither is a foreign language to her.
Famous quotes containing the words foreign language, foreign and/or language:
“And when discipline is concerned, the parent who has to make it to the end of an eighteen-hour daywho works at a job and then takes on a second shift with the kids every nightis much more likely to adopt the survivors motto: If it works, Ill use it. From this perspective, dads who are even slightly less involved and emphasize firm limits or character- building might as well be talking a foreign language. They just dont get it.”
—Ron Taffel (20th century)
“When translating one must proceed up to the intranslatable; only then one becomes aware of the foreign nation and the foreign tongue.”
—Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (17491832)
“We have tried so hard to adulterate our hearts, and have so greatly abused the microscope to study the hideous excrescences and shameful warts which cover them and which we take pleasure in magnifying, that it is impossible for us to speak the language of other men.”
—Charles Baudelaire (18211867)