Click here for Mobile
Improve Your English / Poboljsaj Znanje Engleskog
(in cooperation with BBC UK, Learning English - Learn it Program and Roger Woodham)

This week's question is :
Why do we say mother tongue and not mother language and why honeymoon and not honey month?

... and the answer is :

Honeymoon is a compound noun, meaning a holiday spent together by a couple immediately after their marriage.

We also have the expression honeymoon period, meaning the beginning of a period of time when everything is pleasant in a relationship and partners don't criticise each other:

They plan to go on honeymoon to Thailand for a month.

The honeymoon period for this new government is now over.

Honey month is an impossible combination and would not make any sense now, even though the word honeymoon was originally used to describe the first month of marriage. The reference to the moon (and therefore lunar month) is ironic: everybody knows that as soon as the moon is full, it starts to wane and dies.

Mother tongue - native language

Mother tongue is another fixed collocation. You are right, we do not say mother language. Instead, we would normally say native language, though native tongue is also possible, see below:

Her mother tongue was Russian, but you would never have guessed it from her perfect pronunciation of English.

You should acquire a perfect grasp of your native tongue before you start to learn a foreign language.

The greater part of learning a foreign language, is all about knowing which words naturally occur together. The examples given so far are relatively straightforward but it becomes more complicated when we look at the words which small and little naturally occur with

  • Emalis web design. Streamlined. Straightforward. Easily managed.
  • Stancom Construction is a full service, licensed construction company located in Southern California
LA Serbs Content
Los Angeles Links
To advertise on this site, please click here for the rates. If you would like a site like this one :: e-mail the webmaster v7.87, Initiated on February 7th, 2000. Copyright © 2000 through 2026. Use site responsibly. Read the Disclaimer.