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


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Absolutely. As a matter of fact, scientific studies have demonstrated that when someone is feeling angry or upset, their pre-frontal cortex shuts down, as the lower limbic systems override decision making processes. 

So in other words: your rational mind literally shuts down as your emotional mind takes over.

Furthermore, the areas of the brain responsible for language are heavily interconnected with the areas of the brain responsible for reasoning.

So what happens to me is that I switch immediately to English and start berating whoever I'm talking with in an upper-class English accent x.X

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On 2/27/2015 at 7:10 PM, lushlala said:

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?

I've been having this experience quite often now that I'm in Japan, trying to find work or converse with people.  In interviews, I am absolutely terrified of messing up my speech...so much in fact that I go into vapor lock and can't think at all.  Naturally, this looks incompetent to the person doing the interviewing.  Everything in my mind either downgrades to baby babble or to English.  When I'm angry or stressed, I can't help but switch to English.  The exclamation of curse words in the mother tongue provides waaaay too much relief.

I have a French-Canadian friend who, though adept in Japanese and English, will immediately go to French and "breathe dragon fire"--as we call it.  

 

On 3/2/2015 at 3:36 AM, takibari said:

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!

Seriously, I've tried this not too long ago.  I sounded like a dying cat and ended up doing more laughing than being angry.  Needless to say, the issue was mitigated and I decided I should probably practice expressing anger in front of a mirror first hahah.

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On 22 March 2016 at 1:48 AM, Teira Eri said:

I've been having this experience quite often now that I'm in Japan, trying to find work or converse with people.  In interviews, I am absolutely terrified of messing up my speech...so much in fact that I go into vapor lock and can't think at all.  Naturally, this looks incompetent to the person doing the interviewing.  Everything in my mind either downgrades to baby babble or to English.  When I'm angry or stressed, I can't help but switch to English.  The exclamation of curse words in the mother tongue provides waaaay too much relief.
 

Wow, congrats first and foremost on making the move to Japan and learning the language. How long have you been out there, learning the language? I bet the country and its people are beautiful :)

Yea, I know what you mean about getting all tongue tied in interviews. That used to happen to me a lot during my spoken aspect of my French lessons. Although I did well at the writing, I would freeze up and break out in a sweat haha My professor seriously liked the 'play interviews' and would push me harder than some of my classmates because he felt that I could do a lot better. Sadly, his vote of confidence only served to put me under immense pressure. Good luck with your Japanese, I'm sure you'll do great :)

 

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On 09/11/2015 at 4:28 AM, bittersblue said:

I've definitely been in similar situations. Normally, my thoughts are always in English, but if I'm feeling really, really sad or upset about something, I start to think in Bengali. I actually just noticed it a while ago. Also when I'm really frustrated with someone, I usually mutter something in Bengali, but I feel like that's not really the same thing at all. :P

I think we find the language that best can show our feelings. It's the language that is deep down inside of us and probably the one that we feel can really express our feelings.

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On 21 March 2016 at 3:59 AM, kaiiren said:

Absolutely. As a matter of fact, scientific studies have demonstrated that when someone is feeling angry or upset, their pre-frontal cortex shuts down, as the lower limbic systems override decision making processes. 

So in other words: your rational mind literally shuts down as your emotional mind takes over.

Furthermore, the areas of the brain responsible for language are heavily interconnected with the areas of the brain responsible for reasoning.

So what happens to me is that I switch immediately to English and start berating whoever I'm talking with in an upper-class English accent x.X

Haha @kaiiren...your post made me laugh out loud; the bit about 'berating whoever....in an upperclass English accent' ! But on a serious note, thanks a lot for explaining this in such an eloquent way. It does make sense, when you think about it.  I asked a particularly fesity French friend of mine why she always swore in her language, even though she speaks fantastic English. -and her simple answer was that it's just a lot easier and quicker for her, but couldn't explain any further than that. But now thinking about what you said, I can absolutely see how that would work. 

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On 22/03/2016 at 7:48 AM, Teira Eri said:

I've been having this experience quite often now that I'm in Japan, trying to find work or converse with people.  In interviews, I am absolutely terrified of messing up my speech...so much in fact that I go into vapor lock and can't think at all.  Naturally, this looks incompetent to the person doing the interviewing.  Everything in my mind either downgrades to baby babble or to English.  When I'm angry or stressed, I can't help but switch to English.  The exclamation of curse words in the mother tongue provides waaaay too much relief.

I have a French-Canadian friend who, though adept in Japanese and English, will immediately go to French and "breathe dragon fire"--as we call it.  

 

Seriously, I've tried this not too long ago.  I sounded like a dying cat and ended up doing more laughing than being angry.  Needless to say, the issue was mitigated and I decided I should probably practice expressing anger in front of a mirror first hahah.

WOW! You're in Japan. Envious :) My sister and some friends are visiting there next month, and I won't be joining them since I just quit work (sigh!)

That's what I'm saying. Things can get hilarious if you attempt to express your anger in your second language. As to practicing in the mirror - I wouldn't go that far. I'm sure when you gain fluency of the second language, "breathing dragon fire" will eventually come naturally.

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It's funny, but if I am really angry and I am speaking English... yes, I might have some trouble. But I rarely use Spanish words here and there when angry, it's more like I try to control myself the most I can, I don't want to end up saying something I will regret later.   I do have a hard time remembering some words though, even in Spanish, but I don't know if it's because I'm trying to censor myself or it's just my anger acting up. 

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The same thing happens to me! Even though I'm good with speaking English, I find myself struggling with it in times of anger and frustration. For example, my husband and I had a fight last week and we were arguing in English. But I cannot seem to construct my sentences well and so I bursted out saying a bad word in my native tongue. We ended up laughing after that... Lol.

I think it's because although I'm good with speaking English, I still use my native language most of the time. Sometimes, I even find myself constructing sentences in English in my mind before saying them out loud. But with my native tongue, there's none of that. I can use it when I'm happy, angry or frustrated with no problems at all.

Plus, when we're angry, it's easier to express our emotions in the language that is natural to us. So whatever is your first language, that would be the one you're using in times of arguments or debates. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/6/2016 at 9:57 AM, lingualbabe said:

The same thing happens to me! Even though I'm good with speaking English, I find myself struggling with it in times of anger and frustration. For example, my husband and I had a fight last week and we were arguing in English. But I cannot seem to construct my sentences well and so I bursted out saying a bad word in my native tongue. We ended up laughing after that... Lol.

I think it's because although I'm good with speaking English, I still use my native language most of the time. Sometimes, I even find myself constructing sentences in English in my mind before saying them out loud. But with my native tongue, there's none of that. I can use it when I'm happy, angry or frustrated with no problems at all.

Plus, when we're angry, it's easier to express our emotions in the language that is natural to us. So whatever is your first language, that would be the one you're using in times of arguments or debates. 

 

Do you ever find yourself realizing a few hours after the fight (or less) that you could have worded things differently? Like in a better way?  or that you didn't mention some important things and such?  I didn't have that kind of issues before, but lately I do :(  I guess I am just exhausted.  Lately my emotions overwhelm me.

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Where I'm from we are taught English in schools as our first language as we were once governed by England. However, we have our own dialect called Patois which is used here a lot. I would agree that when irritated for whatever reason we tend to switch to Patois almost in an instant. It is as if it is much sweeter (more entertaining), and easier to get to the meat of the matter using the dialect. It's so full of flavour and comes across as more direct than using English sometimes. It definitely is funnier and can be brutal and more intense all at the same time than say standard English. I speak English fluently but sometimes it's just easier to get my point across using Patois. I love it!! :D

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When I count, I count in my mother tongue. However I do everything else in English (and I'm stronger at speaking English). I remember reading that it was due to how numbers are one of the first things we learn in a language and they're like symbols, so usually even if we become better at another language than our first language, we still count in that language. 

When I'm angry my English gets worse as with my accent haha! Maybe it's to do with how when we feel raw emotions we revert to a childlike state, and we learned our first language in our childhood. 

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I personally think that yes, it does affect your linguistic ability also affects many other things when it comes to knowledge gain, however people should try to chill out and get relaxed at the moment of learning something or assisting to any class to let the information flow properly.

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for me, the few times I have gotten angry in the last few years was tempered because I had to laugh at how bad my Spanish got.  I would get into an argument and just could not express myself fast enough.. so would just end up saying estuipido  and storm off and laugh later.  I wish I was at the point where my subconcious could help me use better spanish when I am not thinking about it... but I am not there yet.

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On 06 April 2016 at 5:12 PM, Trellum said:

It's funny, but if I am really angry and I am speaking English... yes, I might have some trouble. But I rarely use Spanish words here and there when angry, it's more like I try to control myself the most I can, I don't want to end up saying something I will regret later.   I do have a hard time remembering some words though, even in Spanish, but I don't know if it's because I'm trying to censor myself or it's just my anger acting up. 

Wow @Trellum, that's a curious situation, and one that's not very common i don't think. When i get emotional or angry, more often than not, my brain forgets to filter or censor my speech. I think that's very lucky for you, because it sounds to me that you're more calm and collected and aren't given to exploding. That's when horrible things can be uttered without the hope of ever reversing it. So good on you :)

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Yeah, sometimes it can be pretty hard to find your own words in English, especially if a tragic event took place for you. I have found myself into that situation more than once in my life, and I can tell it was kind of embarrassing, with everyone looking at you, knowing you have a very good level of English, and you just can't find your words.

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11 hours ago, lushlala said:

Wow @Trellum, that's a curious situation, and one that's not very common i don't think. When i get emotional or angry, more often than not, my brain forgets to filter or censor my speech. I think that's very lucky for you, because it sounds to me that you're more calm and collected and aren't given to exploding. That's when horrible things can be uttered without the hope of ever reversing it. So good on you :)

I don't manage to censor myself completely most of the time ;)  But lately I've been trying very hard to do that and do it better, mostly because I've had a lot issues with my fiance lately and I really want things to be better.  So I figured out that staying as cam as possible was the goal, because well... right after saying something regretful I felt awful the whole day. Like those words were resonating in my head and felt so guilty, even though they weren't that bad, but I knew I should have controlled myself better. 

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6 hours ago, Trellum said:

I don't manage to censor myself completely most of the time ;)  But lately I've been trying very hard to do that and do it better, mostly because I've had a lot issues with my fiance lately and I really want things to be better.  So I figured out that staying as cam as possible was the goal, because well... right after saying something regretful I felt awful the whole day. Like those words were resonating in my head and felt so guilty, even though they weren't that bad, but I knew I should have controlled myself better. 

Don't beat yourself up too much, Trellum, we all say hurtful things in the heat of the moment from time to time! I know the sad thing's that you can't take it back, but if your fiancé has forgiven you, you need to try and move on from it too. I too have over the years learnt to breathe and keep a cool head before reacting, and this has really helped me stay calm. The bottomline is, we're all human and we will stumble and make mistakes from time to time. I hope that thing between you guys get better :)

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4 hours ago, lushlala said:

Don't beat yourself up too much, Trellum, we all say hurtful things in the heat of the moment from time to time! I know the sad thing's that you can't take it back, but if your fiancé has forgiven you, you need to try and move on from it too. I too have over the years learnt to breathe and keep a cool head before reacting, and this has really helped me stay calm. The bottomline is, we're all human and we will stumble and make mistakes from time to time. I hope that thing between you guys get better :)

Thanks :)  Lately things have been stressing mostly because the whole immigration thing, he made a huge mistake  when sending the papers I need (he used normal post instead of using DHL or FedEX - Like I did).   I'm proud of myself, because I was upset and really angry when I found out the papers are most likely lost  ( it was so hard to legalize my certificates), but I managed not to point fingers directly at them... I was more mad at the employees for being so inefficient and lying to us (they made us believe it was delayed, not lost, but it turns out they don't know where it is!).  It was such a stressing day yesterday, but I am glad I didn't point fingers at him, he acknowledged he made a mistake... so it was easier for me to be forgiving ;) 

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  • 5 weeks later...
On April 14, 2016 at 3:10 AM, Trellum said:

Do you ever find yourself realizing a few hours after the fight (or less) that you could have worded things differently? Like in a better way?  or that you didn't mention some important things and such?  I didn't have that kind of issues before, but lately I do :(  I guess I am just exhausted.  Lately my emotions overwhelm me.

Yes, at times, I do have those thoughts. Most especially during fights involving family, relatives and money. I would think about how harsh I was or how negative my statements were. Other times, I would think about how I haven't said this issue or this point. But most of the time, it's about me not saying things exactly as how I want to say them. That's the thing with using a language other than your native language in fights, some meanings and statements get lost in the way.

I don't think they're bad things though and the fact that I also experience them, it means that this happens in others as well. I feel you though... Life issues can be exhausting, especially family and relationship problems. But trust me, it will get better... It can only get better. And anyway, we're here for you if you need someone to talk to.

 

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Anything said in anger can truly be detrimental. Sometimes, when we are in the heat of the moment, and truly upset - controlling our language can be quite difficult. It would be better if the tendency is you lose speech temporarily. But when in an argument, the tendency is to hurt. Regrettably, in the heat of the moment, we forget to censor our words and end up saying nasty things. This topic brings to mind passages that I love about being careful with our tongue:

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)

Gracious words are a honeycombsweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  (Proverbs 16:24)

I love how the power of words and our language are encapsulated in these two verses.

 

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Well, unless the first thing you learned from the other language is swear words....haha

I kid, but seriously, any heightened emotion will pretty much make speaking a second language harder. Like, even I get angry and I can't speak my mother tongue without tangling my words up. It's no different, it's actually worse, with a second or a third language. It might be an interesting exercise to switch over to your second language when you're angry and stick to it.  

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I would most certainly say that it does.  I think that we all know that we have the cuss words and the bad words for a reason, to express emphasis, and those are what I and many others resort to.  We also know that they are not the most elaborate or educational or classy or descriptive of language, so that is a negative.  Hopefully there are people out there who handle their anger better than I do, and I know that there are, and surely they are better with their language than I am.

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On 5/18/2016 at 11:58 AM, lingualbabe said:

Yes, at times, I do have those thoughts. Most especially during fights involving family, relatives and money. I would think about how harsh I was or how negative my statements were. Other times, I would think about how I haven't said this issue or this point. But most of the time, it's about me not saying things exactly as how I want to say them. That's the thing with using a language other than your native language in fights, some meanings and statements get lost in the way.

I don't think they're bad things though and the fact that I also experience them, it means that this happens in others as well. I feel you though... Life issues can be exhausting, especially family and relationship problems. But trust me, it will get better... It can only get better. And anyway, we're here for you if you need someone to talk to.

Thank you very much, that is very nice of you.  And yeah, interpersonal relationships can be so rewarding, but at the same time so taxing.  Specially when you are not so sure how to deal with certain situations and certain types of people, but I like to think I'm getting better at that, and also at controlling my emotions :)  Is not easy though, but I do think it's worth the effort. 

 

 

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On 19 April 2016 at 3:54 PM, Trellum said:

Thanks :)  Lately things have been stressing mostly because the whole immigration thing, he made a huge mistake  when sending the papers I need (he used normal post instead of using DHL or FedEX - Like I did).   I'm proud of myself, because I was upset and really angry when I found out the papers are most likely lost  ( it was so hard to legalize my certificates), but I managed not to point fingers directly at them... I was more mad at the employees for being so inefficient and lying to us (they made us believe it was delayed, not lost, but it turns out they don't know where it is!).  It was such a stressing day yesterday, but I am glad I didn't point fingers at him, he acknowledged he made a mistake... so it was easier for me to be forgiving ;) 

Aww i'm really sorry t hear that @Trellum.....although I'm sure by now it's been sorted, right? I can totally relate, because having lived in Englad, I went through a lot of that. -and now living with my English husband here in my country, Botswana, it's the same thing, except the other way round. It's just horrible, but sadly has to be done. I hope the rest of the process is plain sailing for you from hereon in :) It'll all come together, just keep the faith!

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Lol. When I am angry sometimes, I cannot speak. Depending on how angry or how quickly I was made angry, sometimes I can't even choke out a single word in English, which is my native tongue. I doubt I would be able to speak in another language if I were angry, unless that language had explicitly colorful language I could use easier than saying "WHAT IN THE [email protected]#$%?"

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