Learning A Foreign Language Makes You Forget How to Speak English
I've always wanted to learn to speak a foreign language. The thought of being a part of an exclusive group of people who knew what others didn't seemed really cool and edgy to me. I also knew that if I actually took the time out to study and learn, this ability would one day come in handy.
Growing up, I was enamored by french culture and always dreamed of visiting the South of France. When I was in junior high, I attended a multilingual school that taught French, Spanish, German, Latin and Chinese. French, of course, was my language of choice. By the time I reached high school, I spoke French fluently... or at least fluently enough to make an 'A' in all my classes. But, like any foreign language, when you don't use it, you lose it.
When I got to college, I decided to minor in foreign languages as an attempt to re-learn what I felt lied dormant in my brain. The only difficulty was that the minor required you to study more than just one language. The curriculum required you to be fully immersed in one specific language, but functionally knowledgeable in others.
I initially chose to study French and Spanish; both of which are classified as romantic languages. I learned early on that the two languages were way too similar for me to learn simultaneously as a beginner. Although I was more familiar with French than Spanish, it didn't really help when it came to the pressures of test taking and participating in class lectures. Everything was all mixed up in my head. I was always tongue-tied and confused; responding to my Spanish professors in French and my French professors in Spanish. It got to the point where I had to drop one of the languages or face the possibility of failing them both.
I ended up dropping Spanish and decided to take Russian. This was "easier" in terms of not confusing the two, but trying to become fully immersed in these languages became a real task on my English speaking ability. It almost makes you feel like your going crazy or something. You tend to forget how to say words and phrases you've said your entire life. It's weird how your mind just draws a blank and you ask yourself, "Why am I not able to talk?!" The more fluent you try to be in the foreign language, the greater potential for you to forget your own native language.
I can completely relate to the woman in the above video.