Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Trouble in paradise

Nothing to do with languages, just a nice photo
If you're reading the title and you start imagining the worst: like dead in a ditch, in prison, homesick (to the Netherlands), severely ill or anything worse: don't worry! It's nothing like that! In fact, I guess most of you wouldn't even call it trouble in paradise, just a little annoyance. 

Now, as you know I used to live in the Netherlands for a few years prior to my move to Norway. When in the Netherlands I would travel to Germany quite regularly and while in Germany I would speak German. I speak after all fluent German. Or so I thought. Because I've lost the ability. My brain is not cooperating, especially my speach center. I understand it perfectly still, I just don't speak it anymore. 

Last Saturday I wanted to speak German to a nice couple from Germany. It didn't happen. If I said one German word, two Norwegian ones would follow, making the conversation quite weird. Plus I know that French is the same deal. I can think of the sentences in my head, but once they come out of my mouth, it's just jibberish. 

So, I am talented at languages, but rubbish at the languages I am fluent in! How weird is that??


  1. Not very weird at all, Mara.
    I studied French in school for about 7 years. In my first-year university French class we were translating novels from French into English.
    The next year I took one semester of Spanish, and all my French went flying out the window.
    It has never come back completely, but it has come back a little bit, ever since I stopped visiting Mexico every year.
    However, the Spanish came back faster in Spain than the French did in France. Perhaps that's because I didn't have to speak French. Dick grew up in Montreal, so he does the talking in France, just as I do it in Spain.
    We both reached the same level of tourist-Italian this year.
    I'm sure this isn't much help to you, but at least you will know you are not alone. You have at least two friends with the same problem. Lindy might understand something other than English, but we haven't tried to find out.

  2. Your brain is too crowded. Mine is too although there is nothing much in it. :)

  3. Oh dear, when I lived in Germany I spoke French . . .

  4. Well when you know three languages I can see how that can happen. I have enough trouble with one :) I bowl with a woman who is French and sometimes she is trying to say something specific but she keeps having it come up in French in her brain but trying to get the English word to come out.....

  5. I have this problem only for 2 days when I am in Italy ! I understand everything but when I want to speak there is suddenly English coming out !
    Otherwise I have no problem with switching from German to French or to English in one conversation. But as I only speak Italian occasionally on the phone with my SIL, I am a bit rusty at the beginning.


Any weighty (and not so weighty) comments are welcome!