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Do you ever forget some words in your native language?


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Sometimes when I speak other languages so often and with little to no contact with my native people I tend to have problems with remembering certain words in my own language. It's not exactly that I forget them, they are just on the tip of my tongue but it's easier to find them in other language.

Also, I know many words related to my job that I don't know how to translate to my own language, yet I understand them.

Do you ever have situations like this?

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This happens to me very often even if I'm not in touch with people who speaks my second language, in fact I think it's more commonly happening in every day life.

In example, I spend long hours surfing the web where I basically use English regardless the activity I'm engaged with, fun, work, socialize, etc.

Then when I go offline or someone in real life comes to talk, sometimes I found hard to find the right Spanish word for something that I can describe in English but not in my own language, or that simply has slipped out my mind in a given moment.

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This used to happen to me a lot while I was learning my other languages. I was unaware of it. I knew what I wanted to say and said it. The only problem was that I said it in another language. When I noticed the confused looks, I then tried to correct myself, but at times it felt like going through a mental dictionary to get a word that I should have know.

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Sometimes when I speak other languages so often and with little to no contact with my native people I tend to have problems with remembering certain words in my own language. It's not exactly that I forget them, they are just on the tip of my tongue but it's easier to find them in other language.

Also, I know many words related to my job that I don't know how to translate to my own language, yet I understand them.

Do you ever have situations like this?

I mess up with my own native language all the time. It's probably because I have become too familiar with it. It happens.

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Yeah I have it, and I find it fairly annoying when I don't know it. Sometimes I just forget a really obvious word, even while I am still with someone who talks my native language.

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Yes, it happens to me at times; but I try not to stay away from my native words and native environment very long. Continuing to watch national TV programs and reading books from back home does make a difference for me.

Forgetting native words is quite natural though; even if we are not learning another language.

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Yes, this often hapopens to me! Not sure if it's age or what it is. One gets used to referring to things in a new language, especially when speaking to kids. often when speaking English to my little son, I will use a Dutch word for something as the English word just dosen't come to mind. He is bilingual, so he understands what I mean, but it's not a good habit.

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I think this happens to anyone speaking two or more languages. I have noticed that occasionally the english word comes first and then I'm trying to remember the greek one! With spanish this happens a lot less though. In fact I'd be surprised if this didn't happen at all to someone.

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Yes, certainly. Sometimes I think on a different language, for instance because I play a game or write on forums and by the time I have to switch, some words start missing. It was like a day ago when I last forgot a word on my native language and at the same time the English version of it couldn't get out of my head. I find it normal.

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Even if I am studying another language and that is Hangeul and at the same time I am living in another country, I don't ever forget my native language. Even most of the people here in my place speaks most of the times their language still my native language that I learned since I was born will always be here in heart and mind. :)

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I do not think that people forget their native language when they live in another country. I just think that if they think about a word they want to say, they might get a word not from their native language cause that word just came in  first.

Some people want to show off that they are good at speak another language so they do that. Its gonna be funny when forget native language and not good at new language. :) :grin:

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This happened to me far too many times. Actually I'm originally Arabic so when I moved out to Canada as a 8 year old, I began to learn more English than ever. Eventually my Arabic became to a level where even basic words were tough. And my accent is more Canadian. I need to relearn what I already knew once!

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All the time, I've learned to speak English very well but if someone asks me what a certain word is in my native language I usually can't come up with it.

I mean, its like there is a clear division in my head between the two languages. Every time I speak English, everything I think about is in English, but once I've switched to my native language I can only speak and write in that language. I can quickly switch between the two, but not use words from one in the other.

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I don't forget words in my native language; not that I have noticed anyways. However, when speaking in my native language (French) I tend to mix up English words with it that sound similar without even noticing that I do until people point it out and correct me.

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It does happen to me, but not too often, and thankfully most people here speak two languages so I could just refer to an English word counterpart if I ever get stuck. It bugs me a lot when it happens, though, especially when I can't remember it totally for a whole day and no one can remind me of it.

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It's possible for people to forget their native language entirely if they don't speak regularly. This could be because one consciously decides that they don't want to be identified as natives of a place for some reason [maybe war and such]. This pretense in the end pays off because you can believe something to such an extent that it becomes a reality.

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This happens to me on a daily basis. I'm Portuguese and I speak Portuguese all day, but between all my daily dialogues I often forget how to say some of the most basic and ordinary words that I can only translate in English, and this happens to a lot of my friends as well. Sometimes I find myself thinking in plain English!

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I'm reading your replies just now and I'm kind of relieved I'm not the only one!

I also mix languages up, if I talk to someone in Polish and they say a word in English (like a song title, name etc), I will automatically switch to English. It's funny but sometimes makes me feel silly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I do forget some words in my native language, which is Chinese. I have noticed myself that when I speak some Chinese, I would throw in some English words because I forget some of the Chinese words in which I suppose to say. I believe the reason is that I have learned Chinese and English when I was little, which I used both languages interchangeably when I supposed to learn just one language at the time.

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