Hello. Are there any people who came to live in the UK and lost their ability to converse fluently in their mother tongue?
I've been here for a decade and over the years, I gradually lost my ability to speak fluently in my original language. I haven't forgotten it completely. But it's impossible to speak in anything other than really short, horribly fragmented sentences with a weird accent, abnormal pronunciation etc. It's really embarrassing not to be able to communicate effectively with my family, and I'm very ashamed at myself.
The weird thing is, a decade ago, I couldn't speak or write in English at all, while being perfectly fluent in my native language, it was first rate. Now, my spoken and written English are to a very high standard, but at the expense of my native language.
Anyone had a similar experience?
I've forgotten most of my "native" language. I can understand it. I just can't really speak it all that well
So a lot of questions are answered with
Depends what age you came to the UK. As a kid yeah if your parents didn't enforce learning of your mother tongue then your brain pretty much writes over it.
My parents enforced my mother tongue and everything so I'm not fluent in the sense that I can't speak it like a 20+ year old would but I can speak how a 15 year old can. (NB I left when I was 7)
I've now been living in rural Africa for 3 years. My native language is English, I also speak near-fluent French (the European language of my current country), and day to day I speak two African languages interchangeably - not fluently, but reasonable. I have now got into a really bad habit of speaking 3-4 languages all mixed up and adding words in here and there in different languages. And actually, some words just don't even exist properly in certain languages ad aren't directly translatable so it's easier to use a different language. To the point where even if I'm speaking English, I often can't think of the English word but the French word or the dialect word comes to me much more easily. But the people I currently live around, understand this, so I CAN mix and match languages. I had real problems when I went back to the UK recently and could only speak English.