Can you forget a Language

Ranger
Posts230Likes 121Joined 16/9/2018Location
Native
Spanish
Other English, Italian

I am just curious if you invest some time to study a language where you have some fluently, but time passes and you wont use or practice that language. Is there a change to forget what you have learned or your brain will remember when you have the opportunity to use it again.

-Ari-

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#1
Elf
Posts137Likes 82Joined 3/9/2018LocationLagos / NG
Native
English
Learning French

I started using dualingo to learn spanish for a while, i invested time in it at the basic level. I took a long break because of work, months to be precise, i recently downloaded it and it continued from where i stopped previously and honestly all i learnt kept coming back as soon as i saw them.

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#2
Ranger
Posts230Likes 121Joined 16/9/2018Location
Native
Spanish
Other English, Italian

TemitopeAkinyede wrote:

I started using dualingo to learn spanish for a while, i invested time in it at the basic level. I took a long break because of work, months to be precise, i recently downloaded it and it continued from where i stopped previously and honestly all i learnt kept coming back as soon as i saw them.

That is great!!!!!

My mom is here and my kids is practicing a lot and right now she is pretty fluent, I just hope she doesn't forget lol.

-Ari-

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0
#3
Ent
Posts821Likes 500Joined 18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
Native
English
Learning Tagalog
Other Chinese - Mandarin, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Thai

Ari wrote:
Is there a change to forget what you have learned

Absolutely. This may be the single biggest reason why people don't come back to learning after a break; nobody likes spending a lot of time to regain their former level.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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#4
Elf
Posts114Likes 79Joined 8/10/2018LocationPH
Native
English, Tagalog
Learning Japanese

Yes, that's why exposure to the language is super important. It's actually the reason why I got bored of learning kanji - I keep on forgetting characters and it was frustrating. 


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#5
Dwarf
Posts68Likes 37Joined 6/10/2018LocationJonestown / US
Native
English
Learning Italian, Spanish

Yes I believe it is possible to forget a language. I personally have learned German, Italian and Spanish. Though I was never taught enough to become fluent, I have forgotten these languages. However, I am certain that maybe even if I became fluent for a while it would still be possible to forget. Unless consistent every single day, forever, I believe a language can be forgotten or at least some parts of it like grammar. It all depends on one's ability to retain information and how much work was put in to learning. That is just my perspective. 

Taylor Fabio

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#6
Ent
Posts821Likes 500Joined 18/3/2018LocationBellingham / US
Native
English
Learning Tagalog
Other Chinese - Mandarin, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Thai

It's worth noting that the higher your level, the harder it is to forget. For example, it's extremely rare to forget one's mother tongue, but there are a few documented cases. I had a 10 year period with out touching Spanish, and after a little refreshing I'm back at my highest level ever in the language. But that's because my level was quite high many years ago.

I'm reading the Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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#7
Elf
Posts111Likes 33Joined 15/10/2018LocationLingayen, Pangasinan / PH
Native
English, Tagalog
Learning Japanese, Korean
Other Arabic - Standard

Yes. I believe it's highly possible to get a language, especially if someone hasn't spoken it for so many years. I have a Tagalog-speaking friend who went to the US when she was about 8 years old. After about 8 to 10 years, she can't speak Tagalog anymore, but can still understand some words. And one more thing (though not related to language), I'm the only person she could remember during those 8 years of living in the Philippines.

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#8
Elf
Posts171Likes 89Joined 11/7/2018Location
Native
Tagalog
Other English, German, Spanish

TemitopeAkinyede wrote:
I started using dualingo to learn spanish for a while, i invested time in it at the basic level. I took a long break because of work, months to be precise, i recently downloaded it and it continued from where i stopped previously and honestly all i learnt kept coming back as soon as i saw them.
same! I stopped for almost 3 months now but I can still remember once I see them

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#9
Dwarf
Posts50Likes 36Joined 6/10/2018LocationIrpin / UA
Native
Russian, Ukrainian
Other Dutch, English, German, Italian, Polish, Spanish

I believe that it is next to impossible to completely forget a foreign language. The knowledge of vocabulary and grammar may become very passive, but if one decides to brush up on all those structures they have learned before, it will be quite easy for them. At least much easier than for those people who had never dealt with that language.


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#10
Elf
Posts142Likes 113Joined 4/10/2018Location
Native
Chinese - Mandarin, English, Chinese - Cantonese
Other French, Indonesian, Russian, Thai, Vietnamese

Gotta agree with leosmith on that - if you secured a higher level, chances are, you can just do a refresher, but if you didn't progress too far, it's entirely possible to forget. I learned Italian for ~6 months, German for ~3 months, Russian for ~3 months, but never progressed beyond A for these three. Aside from hello and goodbye, I don't remember much, sadly.

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#11
Elf
Posts125Likes 95Joined 3/9/2018LocationSkopje / MK
Native
Macedonian
Other Arabic - Gulf, English, French, Spanish, Serbian

Yeah we keep acquiring new information and our potential is limitless, but thankfully we forget, so :))) I agree with most of the comments, and yeah, the higher the level of knowledge the less possibilities there are that you will forget it. The folder is simply bigger, it takes up more memory and it maybe takes death to forget it. 


I am currently not using French for example that frequently, but I never forget it, whenever I go back to it, it is pretty easy to recall, I just need the flow of conversation to begin to open up the folder and let it drip. But I studied it profoundly, so it's very much engrained in my conscious and subconscious and therefore possibilities to forget it are very meagre. 


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#12