Native

From Academic Kids

The term native as an adjective or noun has the following meanings.

In general:

  • Native is an adjective meaning "from birth", as in native language, native speaker. It is also a noun indicating a person who was born in a place and lived there for most of the person's childhood. When used as a noun to refer to a member of an indigenous ethnic group, it sometimes carries pejorative connotations.
  • When linked to a place or nationality the term has ambiguity in English.
    • Native literally denotes "having been born in" the place referred to. It usually implies residence in the area, at least in childhood, and familiarity or identification with the culture.
    • However, native is also often used to mean "belonging to an ethnic group historically inhabiting that region at the time Western writers became acquainted with the region." In this sense it is synonymous with "indigenous", as in "Native American".
  • In linguistics and in common usage the term "native ___ speaker" describes that language as the speaker's primary language, or "mother tongue," as in "native English speaker." There is no ambiguity in this usage.
  • In biology, native means "of or from a certain place or region" and includes both indigenous and endemic species, contrasting with any of several terms meaning not native to a place: non-native, alien, adventive, or introduced.
  • In computing:
    • to describe something running on a computer natively or in native mode means that it is running without any external support—for example, as opposed to it being running emulated.
    • Native operation system, native instruction set, etc., in application to a computer processor means that the corresponding item was implemented specifically for the given model of computer, as opposed to, say, emulation or compatibility mode.
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