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
    – None
    Sep 11, 2016 at 16:08

4 Answers 4


How about:

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


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, 2016 at 17:02
  • 1
    @PapaPoule You might find the following page useful. french.about.com/od/grammar/a/unlun.htm Sep 11, 2016 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.
    – None
    Sep 11, 2016 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. Sep 11, 2016 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).
    – None
    Sep 11, 2016 at 18:25

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. Sep 11, 2016 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. Sep 11, 2016 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". Sep 11, 2016 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, 2016 at 19:06
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    I don't like this phrasing. It doesn't seem idiomatic to me. Sep 12, 2016 at 6:53

Je suis l’une des premières personnes dans ma famille dont l'Anglais est ma langue maternelle.

  • 3
    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, 2016 at 18:38

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.

  • 4
    Welcome to French Language guest12345. Don't trust google translate, it's rarely good. And no French native would say this.
    – None
    Sep 11, 2016 at 18:35
  • Welcome to FrenchLanguage. Sorry but this google translation is incorrect.
    – Jylo
    Sep 11, 2016 at 18:35
  • I lived in bruxelles for a few years, would guess at 'ayant l'Anglais comme' - non ? thoughts ?
    – guest12345
    Sep 11, 2016 at 18:39
  • Yes it would be a correct then ! Trust yourself more next time :)
    – Jylo
    Sep 11, 2016 at 19:05
  • 1
    neither sentence is correct
    – njzk2
    Sep 11, 2016 at 20:25

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