23 June 2009

Learning a Language=Forgetting a Language

I haven't found any data on this, but I am telling you, the more of one language you speak, the less the overall number of words you know (I seem to have two kinds of vocabularies--the kind I can, and do use, and the kind that I can understand. "Knowing" fits into the usable words category here).

Since I don't use English as much anymore, I have started to forget words. The problem is, I'm even forgetting words that I haven't yet learned the German equivalent for. So I get into these frustrating moments where I can't express something because I have no word for it. Makes me think of poststructuralism.

Useful for writing a Master's thesis in English. Very useful.

Anyone else experienced similar things?


  1. Yes! I've thought about this before and I think you just have limited capacity. Learn new information and erases something old :-)

    Living in Finland now my Finnish has gotten a bit better again, but still I write my thesis in and talk to my friends in English every day so it's tough.

  2. AUGH--I mentioned this on my blog but I seem to have a tiny language compartment in my brain and German is slowly being pushed out of it. I'm actually pretty sad about it. You saw my "Einigkeit" blunder...

  3. It happens. It's normal. It's super annoying. I think only kids raised with multiple languages can really be bilingual, lucky punks. Though they will always count in the preferred language.

  4. So true. I'm getting less and less proficient with English as my Spanish gets better and better. The thing is, I have three job interviews this week (in English), and I think it will be important to be articulate. Oh dear...

    As for writing your thesis, thesaurus.com or shift f7 in microsoft word are my close friends...

  5. Ja, das stimt! (only I can't spell in german anymore. Sad.) Thanks for stopping by my blog!