Register  Login  Active Topics  Maps  

Not speaking your mother tongue for long

 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
42 messages over 6 pages: 1 24 5 6  Next >>
parasitius
Diglot
Senior Member
United States
Joined 4635 days ago

220 posts - 323 votes 
Speaks: English*, Mandarin
Studies: Cantonese, Polish, Spanish, French

 
 Message 17 of 42
07 January 2009 at 2:05am | IP Logged 
Honestly I ... can't prove this, but I think a lot of people are lying to themselves (subconsciously) or to others just to pretend like "hey look at me I'm so cool, I'm *so* fluent that my native tongue is now messed up". I really can't see how anyone can mess up languages for more than a split second (half-a-word) and not notice it.

There are a few people that are honestly ditsy though, but I'm not sure how it's even possible. Once I was hanging out with a native Cantonese speaking friend in Southern China, he was using English with me and Mandarin with his girlfriend, and Cantonese with all other people in public (our waitress etc). Every 5 minutes he was making a huge blunder. We got on an elevator and he tried to tell the guy in English what floor, then at the restaurant the turns to his girlfriend and rattled off Cantonese ... so much of a blunder that even the waitress realized and started laughing at him.
1 person has voted this message useful



Volte
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Switzerland
Joined 5076 days ago

4474 posts - 6725 votes 
Speaks: English*, Esperanto, German, Italian
Studies: French, Finnish, Mandarin, Japanese

 
 Message 18 of 42
07 January 2009 at 7:50am | IP Logged 
parasitius wrote:
Honestly I ... can't prove this, but I think a lot of people are lying to themselves (subconsciously) or to others just to pretend like "hey look at me I'm so cool, I'm *so* fluent that my native tongue is now messed up". I really can't see how anyone can mess up languages for more than a split second (half-a-word) and not notice it.


It can happen; it doesn't seem really related to fluency for me (it's more a matter of what languages you've been using most recently - including non-fluent ones).

1 person has voted this message useful



cordelia0507
Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 4475 days ago

1473 posts - 2176 votes 
Speaks: Swedish*
Studies: German, Russian

 
 Message 19 of 42
07 January 2009 at 3:59pm | IP Logged 
Yes,

1) My slang expressions in Swedish are getting a bit outdated and I don't know what the new ones are.

2) When I speak about business related matters I find that I don't always know how to say it in my own native tongue (because I learnt the expression while I was here in the UK)
1 person has voted this message useful



SlickAs
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 4514 days ago

185 posts - 287 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, French, Swedish
Studies: Thai, Vietnamese

 
 Message 20 of 42
07 January 2009 at 4:24pm | IP Logged 
parasitius wrote:
Honestly I ... can't prove this, but I think a lot of people are lying to themselves (subconsciously) or to others just to pretend like "hey look at me I'm so cool, I'm *so* fluent that my native tongue is now messed up". I really can't see how anyone can mess up languages for more than a split second (half-a-word) and not notice it.

I agree with this. I lived 7 years in Quebec, Canada. It was a French - English environment. In 7 years I did not loose one stitch of my Australian accent in English. I did not know a single other Australian there, and was surrounded by North America and their accents without a single Australian accent to be heard. For 7 years! Sure, I changed word usage for easier understanding ... cell-phone instead of mobile-phone, etc ... but since people could understand my Australian accent, and I was spending half my time speaking French anyway, I did not loose one beat of my accent. And upon coming home after all that time, there was not one forgotten word or one word of new slang that ANYONE said that I could not understand immediately from context. It had been 7 years and no-one could tell that I had even been away.

I have also lived in the Spanish world, complete with Spanish speaking job and Spanish-only girlfriend, and gone over a month without speaking English to anyone, even on the phone. I know that code-switching and coming back to English takes a few minutes when you are used to expressing yourself in Spanish all the time, and you really miss the words and concepts that you have in Spanish with no English equivelent ... but lets not confuse the difficulties in code-switching from one language to another with forgetting your language. It takes me by surprise to have to speak any of my languages I have not spoken in weeks when I have to speak it unexpectedly, and it takes me a few minutes to get my head around it. But the lag in switching codes is a different thing to forgetting a native language.

All that said, I agree that you fall behind in your slang in the absence, and any new concepts you learn in a foreign language will not automatically have a word in your mind for it in your native language which will leave you wanting to use the foriegn word in your native language. But that is how loan words come into a language anyway.

Edited by SlickAs on 07 January 2009 at 4:44pm

1 person has voted this message useful



SlickAs
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 4514 days ago

185 posts - 287 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, French, Swedish
Studies: Thai, Vietnamese

 
 Message 21 of 42
07 January 2009 at 4:37pm | IP Logged 
FSI wrote:
Here's an interesting article on the topic.

Good article. Thank-you. Resonates with my experience also.
1 person has voted this message useful



Lindsay19
Diglot
Senior Member
United StatesRegistered users can see my Skype Name
Joined 4458 days ago

183 posts - 214 votes 
Speaks: English*, GermanC1
Studies: Swedish, Faroese, Icelandic

 
 Message 22 of 42
07 January 2009 at 5:00pm | IP Logged 
The only thing I've noticed is that my English spelling has been getting worse, and that sometimes I have to think for a while before I finally find the right word I'm looking for.
1 person has voted this message useful



bela_lugosi
Hexaglot
Senior Member
Finland
Joined 5091 days ago

272 posts - 376 votes 
Speaks: English, Finnish*, Italian, Spanish, German, Swedish
Studies: Russian, Estonian, Smi, Latin

 
 Message 23 of 42
07 January 2009 at 5:26pm | IP Logged 
I haven't really encountered any major difficulties in speaking my native language (Finnish), even though I usually speak it quite rarely (a few times a month at maximum). Maybe that's because of my work; I translate into and from Finnish, so I have to keep my language skills alive with conscious efforts. With regards to my spoken proficiency, I've noticed one thing, though: when I suddenly start speaking in Finnish after having spoken only Italian and English for a long time, some words don't come to my mind very quickly and I speak with a slightly foreign accent. o_0 But then I do regain the Finnish one rather quickly.
1 person has voted this message useful



jstele
Bilingual
Senior Member
United States
Joined 5292 days ago

186 posts - 194 votes 
Speaks: English*
Studies: Korean*

 
 Message 24 of 42
07 January 2009 at 7:07pm | IP Logged 
SlickAs wrote:

I agree with this. I lived 7 years in Quebec, Canada. It was a French - English environment. In 7 years I did not loose one stitch of my Australian accent in English. I did not know a single other Australian there, and was surrounded by North America and their accents without a single Australian accent to be heard. For 7 years!


Well, it's easier to keep an accent when you are speaking the related language. You were able to practice speaking English with or without other Australians. But it would be a different story if you studied another language like Spanish and had little contact with native speakers. Unless you reinforced it through practice, you would lose it. You either use the language or lose it like any other skill.

SlickAs wrote:

I have also lived in the Spanish world, complete with Spanish speaking job and Spanish-only girlfriend, and gone over a month without speaking English to anyone, even on the phone.


A month is not long enough. Try years.



1 person has voted this message useful



This discussion contains 42 messages over 6 pages: << Prev 1 24 5 6  Next >>


Post ReplyPost New Topic Printable version Printable version

You cannot post new topics in this forum - You cannot reply to topics in this forum - You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum - You cannot create polls in this forum - You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page was generated in 0.3125 seconds.


DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript
Copyright 2021 FX Micheloud - All rights reserved
No part of this website may be copied by any means without my written authorization.