Losing my native language

It’s a strange feeling when you start having problems speaking in your native language, or when you fail to use the right word order, or even the right words. It almost feels like you don’t have a native language anymore, as your second (or third, fourth, whichever) language is not perfect, even if it is as perfect as a non-native speaker can get,  and you also have problems speaking your first language. I have that problem.

Ok, there are good reasons for it I suppose. Such as having a British boyfriend for 2 years, and thus speaking a lot of English with him, especially since it mostly was a long-distance relationship. About half my classes in the last few years in Norway was taught in English, and I’ve lived in Scotland since September. But when I more often think and dream(!) in English than Norwegian? Or when I usually don’t notice which language I’m speaking, which leads to me switching to English mid-sentence  without realizing when I’m speaking Norwegian with someone?

Flames are pretty! And relevant pictures are overrated.

Of course part of it is good, because it means I speak English well enough to not need to think before I speak, but I’d still like to keep my native language intact, and not feel like a foreigner who can’t speak the language properly when I return home. I felt like that about a year ago, when I had just spent a month with my boyfriend in Britain, and it took me  an hour after landing to even understand Norwegian without having to ask people to repeat themselves. I actually spoke English to the bus driver on the way home from the airport, as I couldn’t remember how to buy a ticket in Norwegian. Luckily everyone speaks English in Norway.

I occasionally have skype calls with my family now when I’m Scotland, else I’d probably have even more problems with Norwegian, even if it only happens every two weeks or so. It helps a little, but it’s also the only Norwegian I hear or speak in the course of months of a lot of English, as I don’t have any Norwegian friends nearby. It will be interesting when I move home in May, if I can get home from the airport without having to speak English or not…

Have you experienced language confusion? If so, in your first, second, etc language? 

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4 responses to “Losing my native language

  1. I know this feeling. I think it’s cool. LOL. Even a year later, I still have troubles with my native language. I feel that I lost a lot of vocabulary and I struggle with my basic vocab.

    • It’s kinda cool in some ways, but really weird at the same time. I think only people who have experienced it can really understand how it is to have problems speaking your native language.

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