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Do you find that being angry or upset affects your linguistic ability?

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I'm comfortable and confident speaking English as I've spoken it all my life. English is also the official language in my country. Most of us even speak it amongst ourselves, even when there's no foreign person among us. It is the language of choice that we all feel at home speaking. My native language is very complicated and tends to around the houses, even for us natives speaker. It's often easier to speak in English.

However, there are times when I'm angry or upset that I just want to revert to my mother tongue. Has anyone here ever had this sort of experience?

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For sure. I think when you're going through intense emotions, it's very hard to pay attention to linguistics, since much of our mind is preoccupied with that emotion. When I get super angry or even super happy, I just use this mix of my mother tongue and English, haha :grin:

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Yes, it is very difficult for me to express myself in a 2nd language when I'm angry. The reason might be that in my culture when you are angry you often use sarcasm or idiomatic expression to get your point across (not just high voice modulation). But in other cultures that may not use sarcasm the same way, when we literally try to translate what we are thinking, the thought does not come across like we want and we end up getting looks like:  :confused:

If I am angry and it is due to the difference in culture (meaning something that has happened between me and a person that uses the native language) I try to step back and access if it was really the situation that made me angry of if it was a lack of communication that caused the situation that made me angry. In this way I try and humble myself by realizing I have not yet mastered the language and it was probably just as much my fault as the other persons. By asking lots of questions to make sure we understand what people are saying we can do much to squelch the meanies:  :angry: But sometimes there is nothing we can do about it but:  :laugh:

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I'm probably getting things wrong. But I don't see anger or being upset as factors that affect a person's linguistic abilities. They, in fact, are telling factors of how well you have acquired the foreign language.

If you're angry and upset, AND still manage to express those emotions effectively in the foreign language, then you have truly mastered the foreign language. THAT speaks HIGHLY of your linguistic abilities. We do tend to go back to our native tongue when we are feeling these raw emotions because our own language is natural to us. That doesn't mean our linguistic abilities have been hampered.

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Yeah, there are times when it actually feels more liberating when you get mad using your mother tongue.  It just feels like you are able to say and express everything you'd like to say.  Also, there are certain expressions in other languages that are not as precise as in your mother tongue.  And only when you are able to say these expressions that it feels like you've exhausted your anger.

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English is also the 2nd language over here, but I am also more comfortable arguing with people using my native tongue. It just "hits the spot" when you express your anger in your native language. Forget about trying to be eloquent when arguing with someone, curse and insult them in your local language instead! :grin:

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Yes, it is very difficult for me to express myself in a 2nd language when I'm angry. The reason might be that in my culture when you are angry you often use sarcasm or idiomatic expression to get your point across (not just high voice modulation). But in other cultures that may not use sarcasm the same way, when we literally try to translate what we are thinking, the thought does not come across like we want and we end up getting looks like:  :confused:

If I am angry and it is due to the difference in culture (meaning something that has happened between me and a person that uses the native language) I try to step back and access if it was really the situation that made me angry of if it was a lack of communication that caused the situation that made me angry. In this way I try and humble myself by realizing I have not yet mastered the language and it was probably just as much my fault as the other persons. By asking lots of questions to make sure we understand what people are saying we can do much to squelch the meanies:  :angry: But sometimes there is nothing we can do about it but:  :laugh:

Yes, I can imagine it's even harder when you combine the two, cultural differences and language barrier. But It must be so fascinating and interesting, total immersion! At least you'll be able to learn quicker, or at least for me this is the most effective way to learn.

I'd hate to have to translate idioms, gosh it would be a mammoth task!

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I'd hate to have to translate idioms, gosh it would be a mammoth task!

IT IS!! Translating idioms is insanely difficult. When I first started translating fiction novels, I thought it'd be a cakewalk since I'm fluent in both languages! But no...there are so many things that you have to consider: the slang, culture, swear words, etc. Very tough.

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Yes, I speak English really well, but if I am angry I tend to kinda forget some words, lol. I sometimes end up saying something in Spanish, but that doesn't happen so often. I am not the angry type at all. So for me getting angry ain't so easy, let alone get angry enough to forget English. Hehehe.

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It just occurred to me. Won't things become comical if you get angry and still attempt at expressing the said emotion in your second language? I just thought that we tend to revert to our first language when we are angry because the said emotion has to be coupled with the appropriate verbal expressions. I just can't erase it in my mind someone who's angry and using the second language; it's just a hilarious picture!

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Yes, I find that being angry or upset has a high impact on ones linguistic ability. It's funny though because with me it seems to be the exact opposite. I think that I've spoken English for such a long time that somewhere somehow I lost some confidence in speaking my mother tongue especially amongst people or peers who I know speak it at it's most fluent. So I usually stick to English even when I am angry or upset but at the back of my mind all the things I want to say start off in my mother tongue.

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Yes I think so. I find it hard to express my anger in any other language other than my native one because usually when I'm angry I don't want to exert much effort into thinking about what I'm going to say and prefer to just allow myself to express it freely. If I were more fluent in another language I'd be more open to using it when I'm angry though.

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For the moment, this hasn't yet happened to me. Though I do worry it might in the near future and constantly try to keep my temper in check when speaking in another language or writing in another language. However, there have been a few times when I'm speaking my native language and suddenly I want to shout something in a different language; mainly so that I don't upset the person I'm talking with. It's a bad habit in my opinion, and that is the one I am trying to break myself of rather than the other way around.

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I'm probably getting things wrong. But I don't see anger or being upset as factors that affect a person's linguistic abilities. They, in fact, are telling factors of how well you have acquired the foreign language.

If you're angry and upset, AND still manage to express those emotions effectively in the foreign language, then you have truly mastered the foreign language. THAT speaks HIGHLY of your linguistic abilities. We do tend to go back to our native tongue when we are feeling these raw emotions because our own language is natural to us. That doesn't mean our linguistic abilities have been hampered.

I grew up in an English speaking house, so I grew up speaking English. All around me, family and friends were also English speakers. So I started speaking English from a very young age. The point I'm trying to communicate is not so much that my linguistic abilities are hampered as such when emotions are heightened. I can still communicate and express exactly what I'm feeling in English, but sometimes I have this overwhelming urge to revert back to my mother tongue and lay it out there.

It's weird because my mother tongue goes round the houses and is quite complex, but some expressions and phrases are so spot on in delivering certain messages that there may not be an effective English equivalent that delivers the same punch, if you know what I mean.

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English is also the 2nd language over here, but I am also more comfortable arguing with people using my native tongue. It just "hits the spot" when you express your anger in your native language. Forget about trying to be eloquent when arguing with someone, curse and insult them in your local language instead! :grin:

Hehe Sidney, your comment made me laugh out loud! It's funny how this seems to affect most of us across the board, with a few exceptions here and there. This is what I mean, in part. Some expressions and insults just don't translate well, and don't carry as much of a 'punch" when translated. You lose some nuances somewhere along the line, and subsequently, the meaning's not quite what you were going for!

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I'm probably getting things wrong. But I don't see anger or being upset as factors that affect a person's linguistic abilities. They, in fact, are telling factors of how well you have acquired the foreign language.

I don't know... I mean, extremely high emotions affect even the ability to speak someone's native language, so why wouldn't it affect someone who requires to speak in their second (or more) language? That's why sometimes, people just scream or cry because speaking just doesn't cut it.

Speaking requires brain focus, and while others can speak without thinking about it and even without any filter on -- guilty as charged haha! -- it still requires the processing of the brain. In cases of really extreme emotions, that processing may break down, probably because your brain is thinking up so many thoughts and the mouth just can't keep up. It's not even really a matter of fluency. It's that being angry and upset can make someone divide their focus between what they're thinking of -- the emotions their experiencing that is -- and the need to voice those thoughts out.

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Put that way, you're right. Anger or any other extreme emotions do affect certain things.

I was just really thinking along the lines of being able to perfectly express your thoughts in English WHILE feeling the heightened emotion. Being able to do so comes across to me as control and a show of ability to express linguistically (despite the expectation that words may fail you or you falter verbally because of the intense emotion).

As to going back to your native tongue when angry in order to deliver the 'punch' that only your native tongue can accomplish says nothing to me about linguistic ability. What that premise does, however, is show the 'limitation of the English language' as regards to the expression of anger; and not necessarily your linguistic ability. As was said, you can make tirades in perfect English, but the 'punch' isn't just there because there's no English equivalent for 'the vernacular' you wish to employ.

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I think being angry affects people's ability to speak any language well, even their own.

I can spew anger in Spanish as well as English--some of the patterns of abusive language are almost identical--but of course, if the goal is to communicate rather than just spew anger, the ability to spew anger is not helpful.

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I think being angry affects people's ability to speak any language well, even their own.

I can spew anger in Spanish as well as English--some of the patterns of abusive language are almost identical--but of course, if the goal is to communicate rather than just spew anger, the ability to spew anger is not helpful.

I don't think anyone's goal is to spew anger at all, it's just that when you're experiencing intense emotions (whether that be sadness or happiness or whatever), that tends to get in the way of expressing yourself in a foreign language.

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Since I am not fluent in the language I am learning, I am not faced with the experience but I could see why it would happen to someone. There are times when people are just better able to express their feelings in their native tongue. For example, we speak two languages in my country and a person may be conducting business in English but if it's a matter that gets out of hand the person will quickly switch to the other language because it is a more comfortable way to express feelings.

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I have a considerably hard time speaking my native language when I am mad or upset about something. Sometimes my tounge gets tied and I can't spit out what I am trying to say. Thus means that I really struggle if I am upset or angry and trying to communicate in another language.

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Hehe Sidney, your comment made me laugh out loud! It's funny how this seems to affect most of us across the board, with a few exceptions here and there. This is what I mean, in part. Some expressions and insults just don't translate well, and don't carry as much of a 'punch" when translated. You lose some nuances somewhere along the line, and subsequently, the meaning's not quite what you were going for!

Yeah, and you're angry for God's sake, you're not supposed to think about appearing eloquent to your compatriot! Your goal is to express your anger and to retaliate verbally to their tirades. Of course, if the person is foreign and doesn't know your local language, then you have no choice but to speak English when you guys are arguing.

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Put that way, you're right. Anger or any other extreme emotions do affect certain things.

I was just really thinking along the lines of being able to perfectly express your thoughts in English WHILE feeling the heightened emotion. Being able to do so comes across to me as control and a show of ability to express linguistically (despite the expectation that words may fail you or you falter verbally because of the intense emotion).

As to going back to your native tongue when angry in order to deliver the 'punch' that only your native tongue can accomplish says nothing to me about linguistic ability. What that premise does, however, is show the 'limitation of the English language' as regards to the expression of anger; and not necessarily your linguistic ability. As was said, you can make tirades in perfect English, but the 'punch' isn't just there because there's no English equivalent for 'the vernacular' you wish to employ.

Exactly takibari those are the very points I was trying to convey! Thanks for that!

It just occurred to me. Won't things become comical if you get angry and still attempt at expressing the said emotion in your second language? I just thought that we tend to revert to our first language when we are angry because the said emotion has to be coupled with the appropriate verbal expressions. I just can't erase it in my mind someone who's angry and using the second language; it's just a hilarious picture!

Hehe you just stitched me up with that LOL That just gave me a mental vision of such a situation, and it's downright hilarious!

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Hehe you just stitched me up with that LOL That just gave me a mental vision of such a situation, and it's downright hilarious!

It is damn hilarious! If I say so myself. Nothing can spoil anger better than spewing wrongly used expressions. I can just imagine the person supposedly getting the brunt of the anger trying to keep from laughing because what the angry person is saying is no longer making sense due to intense anger. Not to mention the look on the angry person's face while trying to think of the right words to say. Again, plain hilarious!

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When I get mad my linguistics kinda go all over the place and use almost every other language I know... Also I've had some firend who they got angry they started cursing at each other in their native tounges (Japanese and Lithuanian), even though they could understand eachother I could barely to halfway understand them while I was trying to calm them down... For me and friends multiple languages would fly when emotions where tested... 

anna3101 likes this

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