Forgetting my First Language because of moving away from GermanyWatch
We still have German Television at home, which I always watch over British one and read practically all news online in German and even read a few intellectual books every now and then in German. My family isn't of German origin, which is why we speak a different language at home.
I understand every single word of it, but when speaking, I really get into stuttering, have to keep using English words to express myself properly etc. I don't have many German friends, but when I do go to Germany (2/3 times a year) and meet with my friends from back there, I can really see this problem arising.
How can I improve on this?
Tl;dr: As time passes, I'm struggling more and more over time with speaking German despite having been fluent at it 8 years ago..
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I have a similar problem, as I'm forgetting my French and English ever since I've moved to Vienna :s
You haven't forgotten German at all, it is still all in your brain. Normally, if you were a bilingual, you would be happy to speak both. But because you are using English more often and have very little use for German, your brain has put your German into passive mode. This means you can listen and read without an issue, but when you try to utilise it in conversation or writing, your brain struggles to process your passive German as English is filling the 'active' role.
This can be solved in the matter of a few weeks or even days. Here is what you can do:
- Write a diary in German, it sounds simple, but it's a brilliant way to force your brain to activate your German.
- Talk to yourself. Again, simple and a bit strange, but if you mumble to yourself often it will not hurt.
- Read aloud. This is quite a clever trick as all you have to do is read, but by speaking the words, your brain is activating your vocals and this will help prevent stutters.
- Get one of your German friends to Skype you. It's a fun way of practising your German and will significantly help you.
- Have an intensive in a German speaking country. Go there for a week, and speak pure German.
As soon as you make German an active part of your life, the problem will immediately resolve itself.