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I am trying to figure out how to say "I am one of the first people in my family to have English as my mother tongue." Currently, I have "Je suis l’un des premières personnes dans ma famille avoir Anglais". I know that mother tongue is "langue maternelle". But, I've been going back and forth as to how to express the English word "as". I was considering using "est". But, I thought that would be incorrect because "est" translates to "is" and not "as". Any enlightenment on the subject would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance!

  • Have a look at Reverso, the various possibilities are present in the examples. As is a preposition in you sentence. And also: "...to have English.." will be à avoir l'anglais – Laure Sep 11 '16 at 16:08
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How about:

Je suis un des premiers dans ma famille dont la langue maternelle est l'anglais.

Or:

Je suis parmi les premiers de ma famille dont la langue maternelle est l'anglais.

  • I'd have left out the "people/persons" in English, so +1 for doing so in French! Also, if you don't mind answering, I notice that you also omit the "l'" before "un," unlike the other answers so far that keep it (before "une" in those cases). Is including it or not just a matter of style or does it have something to do with the gender of the indefinite article (genre: "l' before une but not before un")? Thanks! – Papa Poule Sep 11 '16 at 17:02
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    @PapaPoule You might find the following page useful. french.about.com/od/grammar/a/unlun.htm – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Sep 11 '16 at 17:13
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    @PapaPoule the l' is entirely optional, whether orally or in writing, Grevisse does not even mention a difference in register. – Laure Sep 11 '16 at 17:21
  • @Laure Am I right in thinking that substituting "l'un/l'une" for "un/une" is for, among other things, facilitating pronunciation, just like "l'on" vs "on"? I make it a rule to use "l'un/l'une" when I want to add emphasis on it. Merci. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Sep 11 '16 at 17:38
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    @LUNA I'm not personally convinced by the euphonic aspect of this use of the l' although I know it is sometimes mentioned. Just like some mention a difference in register (that's why I mentioned earlier Grevisse says nothing about register). – Laure Sep 11 '16 at 18:25
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As is corresponding here to comme or pour. A word by word translation might give:

Je suis l'une des premières personnes de ma famille à avoir l'anglais comme langue maternelle.

Je suis l'une des premières personnes de ma famille à avoir l'anglais pour langue maternelle.

Je suis l'un des premiers de ma famille ayant l'anglais comme langue maternelle.

Note that I kept the original sentence structure as close as possible in order to properly answer to your question. The remaining answers so far are all rephrasing the sentence in a way that avoid the need to translate "as".

  • 1
    To: jlliagre On the other hand, « parler l'anglais comme ma langue maternelle » means "speak English {like / as well as} my first language", correct? I find it interesting to see these two « comme »s used in a similar way but with a completely different meaning. Merci. – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Sep 11 '16 at 16:40
  • @Luna: FWIW that ambiguity exists in English. "I speak English as my first language" could be interpreted as an elision, "I speak English [the same] as my first language" or equivalently "I speak English as [I speak] my first language". It's just that if you use "as" like that in English you sound like you're in a Jane Austen novel. – Steve Jessop Sep 11 '16 at 18:27
  • This is because you can't tell other than from context and expectation, whether "as" in the sentence "I speak English as my first language" is a preposition applying to "my first language", in which case it means English has the role "my first language", or an adverb applying to "speak" and meaning "identically with". – Steve Jessop Sep 11 '16 at 18:34
  • @LUNA avoir and parler are significantly different, I wouldn't say comme is used a similar way in your example and my word by word translation. – jlliagre Sep 11 '16 at 19:06
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    I don't like this phrasing. It doesn't seem idiomatic to me. – Stéphane Gimenez Sep 12 '16 at 6:53
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Je suis l’une des premières personnes dans ma famille dont l'Anglais est ma langue maternelle.

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    Thanks for taking the time to answer Fred. Your sentance sound a little strange to me, though. I would say "la langue maternelle" rather than "ma" and "de ma famille" instead of "dans ma famille". – Jylo Sep 11 '16 at 18:38
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Je suis le première personne dans ma famille ayant l'Anglais comme langue maternelle.

google translate has:

Je suis la première personne dans ma famille d'avoir l'anglais comme langue maternelle.

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    Welcome to French Language guest12345. Don't trust google translate, it's rarely good. And no French native would say this. – Laure Sep 11 '16 at 18:35
  • Welcome to FrenchLanguage. Sorry but this google translation is incorrect. – Jylo Sep 11 '16 at 18:35
  • I lived in bruxelles for a few years, would guess at 'ayant l'Anglais comme' - non ? thoughts ? – guest12345 Sep 11 '16 at 18:39
  • Yes it would be a correct then ! Trust yourself more next time :) – Jylo Sep 11 '16 at 19:05
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    neither sentence is correct – njzk2 Sep 11 '16 at 20:25

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