I've seen in several forums that primary language was translated to lengua materna. I'm currently translating an application for parents seeking entrance for their children into gifted programs. There is a portion of the application that is for gifted programs designed specifically for English Language Learners whose primary language is Spanish. I want to avoid parents applying for these programs when their children ARE NOT primarily Spanish speaking. I have parents applying for the program when they feel their children know "a little" Spanish. If the phrase is: Student's primary language must be Spanish. and the translation is: Español tiene que ser la lengua materna del estudiante. My questions are: Is it possible that someone will read lengua materna and will interpret this as the first language the child learned and not necessarily the child's primary language currently? Would saying idioma primario or something else send a clearer message as to what we are looking for (that the child's dominant language should be Spanish)? Help!