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Can you lose your native language?

Hello, my native language is English and I do live in America and speak English everyday. But I have become fluent in French and I am learning German as well. But over the course of my French studies, I have noticed my English deteriorating, to the point where I can barely say a sentence without making very stupid mistakes. Do you think it is because I learned another language?

1 year ago

15 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Terpsichore88

There is an article about if interested:

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-27690891

To sum it up, including from among other researchers or experts or whomever, or even just knowing folks in their day to day life, it is possible to lose fluency. You might not actually ever truly lose your first language altogether, but it can get a tad weaker.

My father is a Finn, immigrated to Canada 20+ years ago (Born in the mid 1940's. I'm actually quite young myself, he had me late in life!). He can still read Finnish very well and speak it and communicate with his direct family that are still back in his original homeland, but admits he is having a tricky time understanding some of the Finns today in terms of their accent. Not even just a dialect thing that is normal and common, just a sort of change. Or who knows, maybe not even a change whatsoever, just that he isn't used to it.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lars200
Lars200
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Kan du också finska eller pratade ni alltid engelska (eller franska?) med varandra?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Malena262291

I'm no expert but I doubt you'll lose your English abilities, especially living in the US and speaking it every day. I think that it's just that you're getting used to new languages and that may cause you to mix up the rules and some words. I'm a native Spanish speaker and live in a Spanish speaking country but lately I've been using English so much and got so used to it that sometimes I have trouble remembering certain words in Spanish. Many times I'll unconsciously make up my own word that's a mix between the English and Spanish words for it or other times I'll just mix up tenses (not necessarily between languages but I'll just mix up two Spanish tenses) and completely ruin my sentences. However, I don't think that it means I'm losing my Spanish, just that I'm so used to English I accidentally mix everything upand that's okay I guess

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/PolyglotCiro
PolyglotCiro
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Same here XD (Native español speaker too)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/EvilUnicorn1

A parent of mine actually lived in Asia before moving to where he is now, he still speaks both languages fluently, but he can have trouble remembering the alphabet and writing system occasionally. Otherwise it's probably not too bad. (I dont even know other languages all too well and i stuff up every second sentence...)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Wendelyne22

You can definitely lose your native language but don't worry as long as your living in America and speaking it everyday nothing major should happen

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mizharane

Talking about myself: I am fully Italian but I read, write and listen to English everyday on Internet and I'm currently learning Greek; some times this makes me "forget" how to say some words in my native language.. I still know them of course, but I can't think about them faster than English, if you know what I mean. Also I have a friend who moved from Italy to Spain when she was less than 9 years old, now she's 20 and when she comes back I always notice she has forgot (for real) some stupid grammar rules and some random words, but I don't know Spanish, so maybe she's just literally translating them from her other language, but still, she has lost a little Italian.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Crystal-Dragons

I cannot be certain, but I can say that this happened to my stepmom, who's native language is German. The way she keeps fluent is to make sure that she talks to people in her native language daily. You could definitely try that, but you don't have to. It is probably a good idea, though.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Casper_duo
Casper_duo
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Yes you can, but I think only if you're very young, and live at a surrounding which you don't hear it everyday.
Steve Kaufman, a widely known youtube polyglot, said in one of his videos, that he was originally born and raised in Sweden until the age of six, or somewhere about, and then move to Canada with his parents.
As a result he completely forgot his Swedish and had to relearn it when he got older.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/DragonPolyglot
DragonPolyglot
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If you're at an age where language development is still early (like 4 or 6) and you suddenly needed to stop speaking the language and had no further learning in it, then yes it's very possible. When you get older, it's much harder to do unless you make a effort, and even then it's probably not 100% possible, especially after the language becomes your foundation for thinking and learning. It could become less dominate, but probably not vanish, especially if you use it every day. That being said, it is normal to start to make more mistakes or forget words temporarily in other languages you know when you're learning a new language. Usually this goes away after a while as you start to use the languages more and more.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/IsakNygren1
IsakNygren1
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I lived in the US for eight months. I lost my fluency that fast. I pronounced the words in my native language (Swedish) and had a hard time to find the right words. I talked to the Swedish embassy at a couple of times, and the second time was extremely hard for me to speak good Swedish. I still had no problem of understanding or writing Swedish perfectly. It was just the spoken part that was extremely hard.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/primus5er

I read what the website said and it said that was rare so I don't know

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lars200
Lars200
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My native language is Swedish and I live in Sweden. However, I only speak Spanish at home and most things I read are in English or French. Interestingly, I haven't noticed that this has had any effect on my Swedish at all.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KiraPorter1

no

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/knudvaneeden
knudvaneeden
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Yes you can, depending on the stage of your biological development combined with the exposure to the language. The earlier in your development the more likely.

1 year ago