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Will you forget about your native language if you live in another country?


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I know of some people who went abroad (US, Canada, Australia) and stayed there for many years. When they returned here, they were already unable (or did not want to) speak our native language. What they do is just speak in English and try to imitate an accent. It's kind of annoying. But, if you go to another country and stay there for a long time, will you eventually forget about your native language?

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I spoke with one man from India who had a very interesting story. In India, there are over a dozen languages spoken throughout the country. His parents were multilingual, but mostly spoke a certain language in the home and community until he was ten (this was his native language). When he was ten, his family moved to a very different area of India where nobody spoke his native language. In the home, his parents spoke a different language than the one before since they were multilingual and could switch to the dominant language of the area. My friend actually ended up forgetting his native language. I don't know how long it took (he's in his 30's now), but he told me he doesn't remember the language he spoke as a child.

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I doubt it. I've come to a stage where i'm quite familiar with my native language and I've established a lot of local friends here who I talk to almost on a daily basis.

So even if I were to move to another country with a completely different language permanently, I doubt I'll ever forget the A B C's of my language. I might not use it as often as I normally do, but it would certainly remain for a long time, if not forever.

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I think that this would be something that would depend on the situation, but overall, I would say that you wouldn't forget your native language if you lived in a foreign country because you would most likely be speaking in your native tongue at home.

I know that there are a lot of Hispanic families in my area and though they do speak English when they are at work or at school or just out in the community, they speak only Spanish at home and that does keep them fluent with their native tongue as well.

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I think it is possible, but mostly you lose the accent before you actually lose the language. If you speak your mother tongue at a young age, your family and relatives should encourage it.

I originally from Portugal, but I don't look Portuguese. I got my Dad's genes so I just look British white, so my family and relatives only speak to me in English but speak to everyone else in Portuguese. So when I went to Portugal a couple years back, my accent sounded so wrong, I literally had to learn the language from scratch.

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I can agree with what you say brookie in what concerns to the accent, but I don't think it's possible anyone to forget their native tongue unless, as said above, you leave the country very young and you stay away for long years and you don't speak the language there. In this case is possible, but in most cases a messed up accent would be it mainly.

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I doubt I ever will, specially because I've been speaking spanish for most of my life, so there is no way I'll forget that so easily. All those who leave for a years to another country and then go back to their country and pretend they have forgot the language... are nothing but a bunch of wannabes.  Specially if they lived in their native country for a really long time.

They just like to feel more interesting, so everyone they meet in their country ask them where they come from and they can start talking about themselves.  That kind of people are very hungry for attention. That's the main reason they like to pretend they have forgotten their mother language.

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The answer is both a Yes and a No.

If you move to another country and speak their language, and not using your previous languages in daily life at the same time, then you'd lose your previous languages. Simply because the old languages are not a part of your current life anymore. And if this continues for many years, then previous languages could be lost over time as they are being replaced by newer languages.

However, if you keep thinking or speaking in your previous languages, then those old languages can still be preserved. Even though you are in a new land with new people and new speech, you can still maintain your previous languages if you still think or speak in them. And if you meet new people who understand your previous languages, then this is an extra bonus. You can talk in your old languages to new people. If you teach it, then you can spread the old languages. It depends whether or not you choose to maintain and discontinue your previous languages.

Regards,

The Antiquarian.

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I know of some people who went abroad (US, Canada, Australia) and stayed there for many years. When they returned here, they were already unable (or did not want to) speak our native language. What they do is just speak in English and try to imitate an accent. It's kind of annoying. But, if you go to another country and stay there for a long time, will you eventually forget about your native language?

I don't think you can ever forget your native language. Somehow, somewhere, locked up deep in the chambers and tunnels of your brain, that language is lying their asleep, waiting to be aroused. Well, I think it also has to do with how long you grew up into your native language. If you left your homeland as a mere toddler, you are more likely to forget your native language. What do you say about that?

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:laugh: People don't forget their native language. They just develop the Madonna and Tina Turner Syndrome. After residing in another country other than their own or visiting for an extended time, they mimic an accent or dialect they think sounds cooler.  And, I get it. An English accent makes you sound way smarter than one from Brooklyn or the South.
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I think that it is possible to forget your native language if you are a certain age. This happens a lot with kids. They may still be able to hear the language, but pronouncing and speaking is a bit of a challenge. I think that once you get to a certain age or stage then it is impossible to actually forget your native language and if you claim you did then you have some issues.

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Not really.

In fact, living away from my roots makes me nostalgic. Therefore,  I develop more fondness for everything that is native.  For instance, native food, native attire and of course native language.

I always believe, absence makes heart grow fonder.

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It's possible to forget some parts of your language definitely. I lived in another country for a long time, and I found that the language I was learning started to take over much more and that my native language started to transform in weird ways. I would sometimes mix up words, or my pronunciation was a bit off. It can happen, but I don't think you could ever lose your native language so long as you use it frequently.

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Currently for 7 months already I am living in the mother country of my husband. That is why I am learning their language which is Hnagul for faster and better communication with the people here. Even though I am here I will never forget my native language and it will be here forever in my mind and heart because I love my own language no matter what and no matter where I will be.

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My brother (Irish) has lived in France for 30 years and rarely uses English. There are many words that he has forgotten in English and has to be reminded. He speaks English using French grammatical constructions.

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I doubt a person will forget about their native language if they move to another country, except it was at a very young age. This shouldn't happen to an adult even if in the new country there is no one to speak the native language with. I think as soon as you start hearing the language again everthing should come right back.

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Well, to your question I can't even if I don't speak my native language at all. I've gone too far than to forget my native language just by moving into another country.

However, if one left their country as a kid[like 7 years old] and rarely use their native tongue in their country of destination then they're most likely going to forget. I've seen that happen to friends and relatives so many times.

But if one was a teenager when they left, then the tendency of forgetting is very low. I know some friends and relatives who left here permanently as a teenager and they're still fluent in our native language. Although, they prefer speaking in English but that's not to say that they're acting as wannabes or whatever[English is the general language here, anyways].

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I agree that people do not forget their native language. I was born in Bulgaria and know how to speak Bulgarian but am not very good at writing. I know other Bulgarian families who have had children here and even their children speak Bulgarian. I think it depends on how you grow up. If everyone is the house spoke English then there is no way the kid would know Bulgarian. Thankfully, we speak Bulgarian in my house and I go back every summer :). When I was younger I used to forget some Bulgarian words so if you do not use it you might lose it. I also think it depends on Age. I moved here when I was 10 and only went to school in Bulgaria till the 4th grade and ever since I have learned the English language and grammar. I think that is why I cannot write in Bulgarian so well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I know of some people who went abroad (US, Canada, Australia) and stayed there for many years. When they returned here, they were already unable (or did not want to) speak our native language. What they do is just speak in English and try to imitate an accent. It's kind of annoying. But, if you go to another country and stay there for a long time, will you eventually forget about your native language?

No! I definitely would not try to even do that, its my Heritage and I would not want to throw away my Heritage. If I live in another country I would try to learn there language, I would never forget mine, Never you try to forget where you come from. I can understand if you were born in your country and you parent move to another country before you were able to talk. But other wise keep your Language. and learn another.

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I know people who will go abroad for a couple of years and be so immersed in the new country's language and culture that when they come home they really have to think about how to say something in English.  It's funny though that it doesn't take very long until they are back speaking English like they had never left once they are back in the country for a while.

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