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 and/or language:
“A foreign minister, I will maintain it, can never be a good man of business if he is not an agreeable man of pleasure too. Half his business is done by the help of his pleasures: his views are carried on, and perhaps best, and most unsuspectedly, at balls, suppers, assemblies, and parties of pleasure; by intrigues with women, and connections insensibly formed with men, at those unguarded hours of amusement.”
—Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl Chesterfield (16941773)
“Man, even man debased by the neocapitalism and pseudosocialism of our time, is a marvelous being because he sometimes speaks. Language is the mark, the sign, not of his fall but of his original innocence. Through the Word we may regain the lost kingdom and recover powers we possessed in the far-distant past.”
—Octavio Paz (b. 1914)