Home town is the usual term in speech, but "native town" or "native city" does occur in more formal written contexts. Home town also does not always mean the town where one was born. I was born in a hospital in a city, but my home at the time was across the river in a suburb in a different state. My passport gives my "place of birth" as the city, but it's not my "home town." It is my "native city."
Consider this quotation from Mary Shelley: "how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow."
explainsthefunny You're right about that but usually that's phrased as "I'm a California native/native Californian" rather than "My native town is Modesto." (I don't actually know whether people from Modesto say this, but hey, I doubt it.) I live on the west coast and never have heard "native town."
I have heard the phrase "city of origin," however. That would probably work best, but it sounds very, very official, like on a birth certificate or something.
This threw me actually it was "родной язык". On reflection I could not understand if родной was acting as an adjective how it could be describing either язык или город when if I am right both these nouns are masculine and ой is a feminine adjectival ending. This has troubled me all night! Sad? When I answered the translation in my first pass I mentioned birth and was corrected with home. I have now looked up родной in the dictionary and it is indeed genitive and means "of one's birth" - so it would appear to mean literally "Who knows the town of my birth". Grateful for help.
ОЙ is also a stressed masculine ending in the Nominative:
- большо́й = big
- второ́й = second
- чужо́й = someone else's, alien
- молодо́й = young
You can even see it in pronouns:
- како́й? / тако́й = what? / such
ИЙ/ЫЙ are used for unstressed endings. Full form adjectives do not experience any stress shifts in their forms, so each adjective only has one pre-defined ending in the dictionary form, which you will soon remember.
Родной город is more like a town you think you come from, i.e. the one where you grew up (a bit) and the one you associate with your childhood memories... though I do not think I would really count a town that I left as a toddler and that I do not remember.
My brother and I were technically born at hospitals of different cities but we have the same town we spent our younger years in. The thing is, the hospital at my city was full at the time, so my mother gave birth at a different place. However, my little brother did not spent any significant amount of time in the town he was technically born in. So his родной город is the same as mine.
Compare to родной язык ("mother tongue"), too. Certainly, one does not speak any language at birth. And even if you only started learning a language at the age of 2 or even 4 due to your parent moving to another place, you would count that language as you native if you master it. Actually, I know a person who I am pretty sure did not speak any Russian before five—now it is the only language they speak natively.
English "hometown" can change later in life too if a person strongly identifies with their new home. It can be kind of taboo for a professional sports player to talk about somewhere other than where they play as being their hometown. If a player gets inducted into a hall of fame and has played on several winning teams throughout his career, it can be controversial which team he decides to represent. Immigrants might have the same pressure after a number of years. After a person has started a family somewhere other than where they were born/raised and they live there a long time, they have to decide where they want to be buried-- a real question if they still have close family where they grew-up.
I get the feeling родной город is less fluid?
Thank you 'shady arc'. I tried to simplify my learning process making it a little too simple! Also the first dictionary I checked did not give родной and I found it the other way under native where it gave 'of one's birth' as the definition. This word and its associates do seem very grounded both in blood and soil?