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Can you lose your native language?

  Tags: Native Language
 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
Senior Member
Joined 3079 days ago

747 posts - 1122 votes 
Speaks: Cantonese*, English, Mandarin
Studies: French

 Message 1 of 2
09 June 2018 at 5:05am | IP Logged 
you lose your native language?

This is the link to a recent BBC article. In my opinion, when you are learning a new
language, that language doesn't need to compete with your native tongue but complement
it. If you are living in an English speaking country (England or Australia) and learn
a foreign language like French, it can even help your English improve by thinking and
using about your native language in new ways. Losing your native language becomes a
problem for people who live abroad.

Being brought up in a Chinese-speaking environment while living abroad, my mother as
an adult maintained her fluency in the Chinese language and still reads a Chinese
newspaper regularly without forgetting the Chinese characters. My older siblings who
were educated in a Chinese primary school before moving abroad have maintained their
fluency of the spoken language but lost the ability to recognize the characters. Being
brought up in a similar environment, I can read up to 80-90% of the characters in a
Chinese newspaper. In primary school in the East we were just too busy with at least
3h of homework and after-school tutoring. Very few people even had time to read a
newspaper. We were happen to have our homework done and be playing outside.

Whether we retain our native language living abroad has to do with our attitude.
Personally, I think having a second language provides a window to the 'other side'
like I get to listen to news on the radio online on events that happen in China or
Taiwan I normally don't get listening to the news broadcast in Canada. Like my other
siblings, I was brought up in a school environment that focused on academics. The
workload was too heavy to even go to the library to read anything outside school
materials. It was only after moving abroad I had time for books in my native language
and over the years picked up many more Chinese characters on my own than the few years
in a Chinese primary school.

Edited by shk00design on 09 June 2018 at 5:15am

1 person has voted this message useful

Monox D. I-Fly
Senior Member
Joined 3770 days ago

762 posts - 664 votes 
Speaks: Indonesian*

 Message 2 of 2
09 June 2018 at 5:00pm | IP Logged 
Now I know why I can learn Arabic vocabs easier: Because there's a lot of Arabic vocabs got absorbed to Indonesian. Japanese on the other hand...
1 person has voted this message useful

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