I was not born in an English-speaking country, but since birth, my mom spoke to me in one language and my dad another. It was and still is a bit of a mishmash, but I started kindergarten in America, and English is the language I'm best at. It's also the language I use and have used the most.

Would English be considered my native tongue even if I was not born in an English-speaking country?

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    Native here doesn't mean where you were born, but what language that you spoke from birth. – deadrat Nov 4 '16 at 1:00
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    I would say that any language which you learnt to speak naturally as a child and in which you have full spoken and written command could be said to be a native language. – WS2 Nov 4 '16 at 1:25
  • Possible duplicate of english.stackexchange.com/questions/301167/…, which was marked as a duplicate of english.stackexchange.com/questions/14582/…. The answers here are clearly superior to the answer in the first of the possible duplicates I listed; as for the second of the duplicates I listed, I don't know which answers are better. – ab2 Nov 4 '16 at 2:21
  • As currently written, this question is not about English, per se. it's about language acquisition. It might be better asked at Linguistics. – MetaEd Nov 4 '16 at 14:25

You can be a native speaker in more than one language. As long as you were taught, you spoke, and you think in that language to a substantial degree from around the time you were born, even if that happens when you are say five years old, you can be considered a native speaker of that language. 'Native' here has got nothing to do with your citizenship or race.

There are some institutions that require you to take language tests if you are not a native speaker of that language and you want to work or study there. These institutions will have their own requirements that is not the linguistic situation we are discussing here.

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You were experiencing what is called by us speech-language development folks as "simultaneous language acquisition." There are often imbalances in both the amount of exposure to the different languages, and the quality of the exposure to the different languages:

Simultaneous Language Acquisition: parental input

You can indeed be considered to be natively bilingual in more than one language. When children are exposed to multiple languages from birth, there may be cross-language usage very early in development, and there may be mild delays (compared to development of children in monolingual environments). This is a great article from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association about bilingual language acquisition> it is geared towards laypeople who have an interest in or concern about bilingual language acquisition.

ASHA Bilingual Language Acquisition info page

It sounds, though, that perhaps you're more proficient in English, and can absolutely be considered a native speaker of English, since you were exposed to it from birth and throughout the critical period of language development.

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Kindergarten is young enough that you can indeed call English your native language. If you want to have some fun, you can call your home languages your "mother tongue" and "father tongue", respectively.

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