Whenever you learn a new language it starts to become quite apparent that there is so much more to language all over the world than you probably initially thought.  Indeed, while you can learn the fundamentals of any language, for example, trying to speak that language in a part of the world where it is native is another thing entirely.  Sure, they will appreciate that you learned their language as a second language in a Language lab from Robotel, but understanding it is still different when you see it in domestic use.

So lets take a look at these terms to understand language vocabulary:

NATIVE LANGUAGE

Whatever language your learned first is probably your native language.  This is the language you grew up speaking and probably the one you speak most often (because most people continue to live in the country where they first learned to speak).  Of course, some countries have more than one commonly spoken language—like Canada—so your native language might not always be an obvious one.

DOMESTIC LANGUAGE

While this term is often interchanged with native language, it is not quite the same thing.  The domestic language of a region can be a particular dialect of a native language, for example.  At the same time, most people speak the same domestic and native languages.

FIRST LANGUAGE

You might also interchange first language with native language, as they do often refer to the same thing even though they are, in fact, somewhat different. For example, Americans have a first language of English, but those who immigrate to America have a different first language, even though they grow to use English as their native tongue, over time.

SECOND LANGUAGE

Basically, any language you learn after your first language is your second language.  Again, this is something that appears to be far more common in countries other than the United States.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE

Kind of like a second language, a foreign language is a language you learn after your first language, though a foreign language is specifically spoken in a country outside of your own. In Europe, for example, many people speak multiple languages simply because there are many dialects spoken throughout the continent.  A foreign language is specifically something spoken in a “foreign” land.

WORLD LANGUAGE

World language is a term that refers to one of a handful of languages that are commonly spoken throughout the world.  Spanish and English are examples of world languages.