Where does the phrase 'mother tongue' originate from? Based on this phrase, in a literal sense is a language deemed to be feminine?

closed as off-topic by Weather Vane, JJJ, Cascabel, Chappo, TrevorD May 8 at 23:08

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  • @WeatherVane I don't see the question answering about the history or origin of the phrase, so I'm inclined to give this post the benefit of the doubt. – TaliesinMerlin May 6 at 17:52
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    That said, Curly, it would help to list what sources you've used. At minimum, what does Wikipedia say about it? After looking at a common source or two, what are your questions about that? – TaliesinMerlin May 6 at 17:53
  • @TaliesinMerlin yes I was at first going to mention it rather put a close vote. I found one suggestion of the origins of the phrase within a few seconds, within this page. – Weather Vane May 6 at 17:54
  • I don't understand it that way - I think it refers to the language you were mothered in, just as school language would refer to the language you were schooled in. – Minty May 6 at 18:48

According to the following extract from Wikipedia the expression mother tongue was first originally used by Catholic monks to refer to local languages which they used to preach in different countries.

According to Ivan Illich (philosopher, Roman Catholic priest), the term "mother tongue" was first used by Catholic monks to designate a particular language they used, instead of Latin, when they were "speaking from the pulpit". That is, the "holy mother the Church" introduced this term and colonies inherited it from Christianity as a part of colonialism.

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