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thisisobservantme
10-28-2013, 04:36 AM
So I've been learning French through Rosetta Stone for the past 11 months and am beginning to learn Arabic. To fully immerse myself, I've been talking in French at home when I can (my parents do not appreciate this), texting in French and listening to French music.
I've noticed lately that it's difficult for me to speak in English because I can't say a coherent sentence ad lib. My writing seems unaffected (you can be the judge of that), but I'm really bothered that it's hard for me to speak in my native tongue!

Has this happened to anyone else as they learned a new language?

chompers
10-28-2013, 05:52 AM
No, it didn't happen to me. (I know five languages.) But I had a good grasp of each one before I began learning the next one. Maybe that's a contributing factor?

I have a friend whose niece had kind of the same problem. Her teachers thought she might have had a learning disability, Turns out she was just having problems getting all her languages straight. (Parents were different ethnicities, so she was learning both, plus English at school.) Doctors told her parents that it would pass as she got older.

Fran
10-28-2013, 05:55 AM
Not with English, but whenever I've tried to learn a language other than French, if I don't know the word for something my brain defaults to French. I don't know why. Sometimes it's a word in French I wasn't aware I knew. It's weird.

Medievalist
10-28-2013, 06:21 AM
There's a sort of saturation point in learning a new language where it can a little bit like you're drowning, and have no words in any language, even for the most basic concepts.

It passes; I think what's happening is that our brains are working on the back-end, processing and integrating.

Snitchcat
10-30-2013, 08:40 AM
Once you've absorbed all you can, you need to make time for actual implementation and practice -- it's one of the best ways your brain has of processing and committing to long-term memory.

You might find this thread useful: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=275416

It's almost exactly the same topic as this one and has a few more responses.

kevinwaynewilliams
10-30-2013, 08:49 AM
I found that I began to make more homophone errors when typing English once I learned Japanese. Dutch destroyed my skills at English Scrabble. When I speak either Spanish or Dutch and don't know a word, my brain loves to pop up the Japanese equivalent (if it knows it). So, yes, there's crosstalk.

Wilde_at_heart
10-30-2013, 06:07 PM
I mostly grew up learning French, though as a second language and my spelling's still a bit buggered because of it.

However, it was when I took German in University... It was like my brain shoved both French and German into a 'foreign language' file and when I'd go to retrieve a word, sometimes the wrong language would come up.

That problem does go away after several drinks, however :D

Fran
10-30-2013, 07:21 PM
That problem does go away after several drinks, however :D

My French is perfect after half a bottle of wine. :D

WriterInTheStone
11-19-2013, 12:21 AM
I've found that learning a new language has actually helped me wield my own native one.

The brain is a very complex, still largely unknown thing.

WriterEC
11-21-2013, 03:59 AM
Learning languages has always improved my knowledge. If you concentrate on one language for a very long time, this could shortly affect your speaking ability in another one. But it usually evens out when you start using both equally.

chongjasmine
01-11-2014, 10:07 AM
I do not find that my english becomes terrible as a result of learning new languages.
I am currently trying to learn korean and it does not affect my english.
I am currently bilingual-- knows mandarin chinese and english.

Nymtoc
01-11-2014, 11:02 AM
So I've been learning French through Rosetta Stone for the past 11 months and am beginning to learn Arabic. To fully immerse myself, I've been talking in French at home when I can (my parents do not appreciate this), texting in French and listening to French music.
I've noticed lately that it's difficult for me to speak in English because I can't say a coherent sentence ad lib. My writing seems unaffected (you can be the judge of that), but I'm really bothered that it's hard for me to speak in my native tongue!

Has this happened to anyone else as they learned a new language?

Yes, but don't worry. It's temporary.

Chris P
01-11-2014, 11:51 AM
My English id [I was going to correct that, but I'll leave it as an example] getting worse here in Uganda. Although 90% of the people around me speak English, it is often a rather basic English so I need to avoid complicated vocabulary they often don't know. In addition, it's just become habit to mimic the accent, local vocab and pacing so they understand me better. We call it "Uganglish." I sometimes use it with non-Ugandans. "Hell-o Moth-er. Are you some-how fine?"

But then the strangest things come out. Last week I caught myself saying "Last year's volunteers had aroven at the airport by midnight." Where the hell did "aroven" come from?

Kaitlin Brianna
01-11-2014, 04:02 PM
My English id [I was going to correct that, but I'll leave it as an example] getting worse here in Uganda. Although 90% of the people around me speak English, it is often a rather basic English so I need to avoid complicated vocabulary they often don't know. In addition, it's just become habit to mimic the accent, local vocab and pacing so they understand me better. We call it "Uganglish." I sometimes use it with non-Ugandans. "Hell-o Moth-er. Are you some-how fine?"

Yeah, that's how I get here in China with Chinglish sometimes. I find myself putting the stress on the wrong syllable or using awkward phrasing because it's common for Chinese people to use it when they speak English.

After I have a long conversation in Chinese, it does feel a bit strange to go back to English. I don't think it's a matter of my English actually getting worse though, it has more to do with the transition from one to the other. I would have to be a lot more isolated from my native language than I am now to actually get worse at it, and even then I suspect it would be temporary.

Overall, learning two foreign languages (German and Mandarin) has increased my understanding of how languages work and, in my opinion, had a positive effect on my English.

Chris P
01-11-2014, 11:41 PM
Yeah, that's how I get here in China with Chinglish sometimes. I find myself putting the stress on the wrong syllable or using awkward phrasing because it's common for Chinese people to use it when they speak English.

After I have a long conversation in Chinese, it does feel a bit strange to go back to English. I don't think it's a matter of my English actually getting worse though, it has more to do with the transition from one to the other. I would have to be a lot more isolated from my native language than I am now to actually get worse at it, and even then I suspect it would be temporary.

I'm terrified I'm going to get home and talk to an African American in Uganglish. I'm going to hate myself for it, but I have a sneaking fear it's going to happen.

WriteRex
01-12-2014, 12:34 AM
There's a sort of saturation point in learning a new language where it can a little bit like you're drowning, and have no words in any language, even for the most basic concepts.

It passes; I think what's happening is that our brains are working on the back-end, processing and integrating.

There is a concept in neurology called "musician's dystonia". That applies to the plasticity of the somatotopic map of motor cortex. Basically, the dystonia is the case where the muscles in the hands somehow have lost control as the somatotopic map is restructuring the proportions of the motor cortex that should be sensitive or receptive with respect to certain parts of the body. So, a well-versed musician may have a bigger area in the motor cortex than a non-musician in regards to motor control of the fingers. I am not aware, up to this point, of a linguistic equivalent to musician's dystonia. But I am well aware that bilinguals and multilinguals are not certainly not confused about the language they are using. They may code-switch from time to time. A person may willingly speak Mandarin Chinese in formal settings but chooses to speak in mutually unintelligible regional dialects in informal settings.

It may be possible that lack of practice in a language can result in loss of dexterity of the mother tongue. Such is the case among Native American populations that were forced to speak English, thereby giving up their own culture and language.