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ferreira (5993)

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Just another Brazilian Perl hacker.

Journal of ferreira (5993)

Wednesday September 05, 2007
07:36 PM

Language De-acquisition

[ #34359 ]

Back in the university days, I've read a few texts on language acquisition and almost understood some of the mechanisms used to learn a foreign language. I enjoyed learning about learning. A lot of reading helped me out with English and a lot of practice allowed me writing some comprehensible articles.

Nowadays, I am faced with the inverse phenomenon: language de-acquisition. I never knew it existed. But after years of non-practice, I don't have any conversation skills in English and I just found out that I am getting worse at writing too. Silly me that thought that it was like riding a bike: never to be forgotten.

I diminished a lot on the diversity and volume of reading. Today it takes me too long to write a few paragraphs. And when it is done, it does not make much sense and is riddled with mistakes. It sadly reminds me of a joke we use to tell on a guy that went into USA, could not learn some English and came back home... dumb. Disgusting.

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  • rose []. There's an adage in English that rings true with regards to language: Use it or lose it. My French is now abysmal, and my Latin is getting worse by the day :-(
    • Experience tells me that’s wrong. You’ll have to practice to become fluent again, but you will continue to understand it indefinitely. You don’t ever have to relearn the language – you never lose it.

      • Experience tells me that’s wrong. You’ll have to practice to become fluent again, but you will continue to understand it indefinitely.

        The original post was specifically mentioning losing production fluency in English, and I think that it is appropriate to use the word "loss" to describe this. My experience is probably the same as yours with regards to understanding language: I don't lose much, but I must admit I do lose some. But I wasn't referring to understanding a language, I was referring to the production aspect. Practicing to become fluent again seems to me to be synonymous with relearning []. My understanding is that if you forget ho

        • You might have to relearn, but you won’t have to re-learn. The effort it takes to brush off the rust is orders of magnitude smaller than what it takes to initially learn the language. It might be appropriate to say you lose production fluency, however the ability remains latent and can very easily be reactivated – my experience is that you get 90% of your fluency back in about 10 days once you immerse yourself in the language fully.

          That’s just not what I tend to think of as loss.

          I resp