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Losing Facility in Languages?

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Losing Facility in Languages?

Postby Scribo » Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:31 pm

How long do you find it takes for you to lose some ability in the languages you know? if at all? I'm finding this lately, in little bits here and there across my entire list of languages. Hesitancy when speaking in French, briefly forgetting an important German verb when writing something, an inability to understand old notes in Sumerian or Akkadian when I try to pick them up again and so on.

It is deeply irritating.
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Re: Losing Facility in Languages?

Postby Qimmik » Sun Nov 17, 2013 7:25 pm

It comes back with a little exposure to the language. I find I can keep up my proficiency in Russian, which I spent a year studying intensively 44 years ago when I was in the army, by reading a book every year or two, even though I have little opportunity to speak the language. Reading brings back the vocabulary and idioms; I don't seem to have much trouble with the grammar. For modern languages, you might try spending a few minutes a day keeping up with the news on the internet. I can't speak for Sumerian or Akkadian, though.
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Re: Losing Facility in Languages?

Postby Scribo » Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:52 am

I do try, admittedly not very consistently, to keep up with languages in the usual methods but I should admit to a sort of petulance when having to struggle with this stuff again. I think because my usage of these languages is so...random. You can find yourself going from only reading Italian articles now and then to being in Rome for 20 days for example and the whole experience is like a rocking boat given the number of languages.

With the Sumerian and Akkadian examples we could gloss any language only half way done. I think I'm about to give up considering how many times I've worked through a textbook only to suddenly be too busy elsewhere and then have to start all over again.
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Re: Losing Facility in Languages?

Postby A.A.I » Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:51 pm

My experience is as follows: the better you know a language, the harder it is to forget it. However, you can forget anything, even your native language.

I just see this as a natural part of the process.

To maintain my languages, I just do some reading/listening/speaking whenever I feel like it. Some will be maintained better than others.
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Re: Losing Facility in Languages?

Postby Lord_WayneY » Mon Nov 25, 2013 1:09 pm

I never have such an experience. I have a habit. When I am having a walk alone, I always speak to myself, by all the languages I know. It has little help to upgrade the language skill level, but it is efficient to keep the current level.
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