Apparently I forget English at the same rate I learn German
It took me 5 times to type "No cat likes water" correctly. While some of them might have been typing errors I might me forgetting English.
Yeah, a very common phenomenon in acquiring a second language.
I am a native American English speaker, and I have lived in Brazil 20+ years. Sometimes my phone calls to friends and family back in the States are quite comical. A little bit of Portuguese keeps slipping into my conversation, to the complete puzzlement of the person on the other end. At the same time, I am often unable to recall simple English words and expressions that used to flow so quickly and naturally from my mouth.
Do you suppose each of us has some "language data storage" limit, beyond which it is nearly impossible to go?
I think that's not the case. The brain makes associations, so we might associate a phrase of another language stronger than the one we learnt in our mother tongue, at a certain point. Often I accidentally use literal translations of English phrases when I speak German once in a while. This depends on where I am, who I am talking to etc. After a couple of days back in Germany this vanishes nearly totally. It's all about associations and context switching, which can be trained. The brain capacity itself is practically unlimited, fortunately.
I don't think so, your story reminds me of "my" spanish YT-teacher Juan: He lives in London since 20(?) years and teaches Spanish there. In one of his videos he is walking through a supermarket, teaching vocabulary - until he takes an aubergine, starts thinking and says: "OMG, I forgot the word for this one..."
IMO it's normal to lose fast access to words and expressions you didn't use for a long time: Most of them don't get deleted, just unreachable at the moment (of course you know them when you hear them:))
My own experience: While having a lot of fun doing the English-Spanish course it's possible to make a nice translation there... I even know the meaning, but I have to think about a fitting German word (native speaker... lol :)).
This reminds me of my aunt. She was born in France speaking French but after living nearly twenty years in Great Britain she is often unable to make correct sentences or simply remember basic words in her native language. She even speaks it with a heavy British accent now.
The same phenomen happens to me but to a lesser extent. For instance when I talk to a friend, I would start speaking in another language without noticing. Or sometimes I want to write something in Spanish, but my brain makes me think of the French, English and finally the German word before remembering the Spanish word I was originally looking for.
I've had this happen to me in public! Kind of embarrassing...I've been learning Spanish (off Duolingo, in-classroom) for about 8 years, and I found myself at the farmer's market with my mother (who knows French and English, basically no Spanish whatsoever) saying "Fresas. Where are the fresas? Y'know, the red things?" She had no idea what I was asking for, and I couldn't remember "strawberries." It's encouraging when you start to think in your second language, though!
I'm also learning Spanish irl for 5 or 6 years. I don't forget english words and replace them with spanish, tho.
I am so glad to hear that I'm not the only one that has this happen! On days when I have the opportunity to put in a lot of Duo time, I know it's time to quit when the English gears in my brain grind to a halt. It seems like it would be the foreign language that would be the one to falter.
Probably it's more due to us getting unconcentrated, focussing more on the target language and trying to be faster during the exercises. I make a lot of stupid mistakes when I'm bored....