Forgetting my English?


When people used to ask me if I thought it possible to forget my English, I would shake my head and laugh and just think, "That will NEVER happen to me!"

I mean, why should it?

English was my first language. (I didn't learn to speak Spanish until I was five.)  And it was the language I spoke, read and wrote everyday for the 26 years I lived in the U.S.

But then I moved to Mexico.

We lived with my in-law's for the first three years, so the only time I spoke English was when Hubby and/or the kiddies and I were alone.  (I was taught to NEVER speak English in front of non-English speakers and vice-versa.)   The only time I really got to speak English was during my only trip to the U.S., two years after we moved here.

Then we moved into our current rental home.  English was spoken more and more, but still Spanish was our main language.  And eight years later, it continues to be.  I can carry on complete conversations in English with Hubby and the kiddies, but we always revert to Spanish.  I rarely get to speak English with other English speakers.  The only time that happens is when my neighbors come to hangout in Hubby's shop or when I run into El Gringo and his daughter downtown.  But those instances are few and far between.

I don't really think I'll ever completely forget my English, because I write, read and think in English every day.   And I watch TV and movies in English, too.  But when it comes to actually speaking to another person?  I really need to practice!

Last week, I received a phone call from someone in the States.  It was the moment I had been waiting for.  A chance to speak English to someone other than Hubby or the kiddies or someone I'm related to.  And I froze!  I got all tongue-tied.  I mumbled and stuttered and I'm pretty sure I spoke with a heavy accent like Sofia Vergara on Modern Family.

Hubby thinks it was a combination of nerves and excitement or maybe even stage-fright.  But I'm not so sure.  Maybe I really am forgetting my English.





  Photobucket



15 comments:

  1. You are pumping out the blog posts!  I love it!  I will help you practice speaking English!  We only speak English in my house, but I have no one else (my SIL when I see her maybe once ever week or two) to use my English.  So, when I write an email or do a chat with someone online, I write a book every time.  They might write a couple words and I follow up with 5 or more sentences! 

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  2. LOL - I know people think this can't possibly happen and they might scoff, but I've had my moments and I'm not even completely immersed in Spanish the way you are, Leslie. I think sometimes the brain just malfunctions and refuses to shift gears. Loved the Modern Family video!

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  3. I feel your pain in the reverse. Nothing like being put on the spot for forgetting the word you are looking for. In fact... it happens to me in English, too!

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  4. hahahahahahaha... wow. That cracked me up. Lord, I do know about getting tongue tied in another language- though it is not happening to me, to my husband. Only people living with a "foreigner" would understand!

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  5. Great post!  Loved the video.... she reminds me of my hubby....well a female version of my hubby. LOL

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  6. This post is very funny, and the video... she is amazing. Leslie, you can´t forget your maternal language. Your husband is right. But let me tell you a story: a famous soccer player from Peru went to Italy for a year. After six months he forgot all his Spanish, and his Italian wasn´t good either. THAT is bad...

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  7. haha, it probably just took your brain a second to register and switch back to english. 

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  8. Awww...that is such a cute story...lol.  When I started losing my Spanish I felt a lot like that and I think it's harder to be on the spot.  Before hand though, there were many times when I could only think of the word for something in Spanish.  I think our brains have a preference for each language depending on the topic or style of conversation...maybe that was part of it for you.  ;)  Loved this post and the video!  :)

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  9. LOL... I can totally see how this can happen. Just wondering... did you order any "baby jesus"?

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  10. MY  husbands brother married a women from Japan...they only speak Japanese..now he even dream in Japanese!!
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can,

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  11. Josie @ happycorredora.comJanuary 14, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    I am far from fluent in Spanish, but whilst in mexico I try to speak exclusively spanish for learning purposes.  I find that when I speak on the phone to my family (only english) I accidentally slip in a 'entonces' or a 'bueno' all the time! Its hard to switch between languages! 

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  12. Que risa me dio leer esto! Recuerdo una vez que escribiendo en mi blog no me acordaba de una palabra en español y me tocó ponerla en Google en Inglés para que me la tradujera! Penooooosooo!! Pero cierto.

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  13. Totally loved this honest, funny, and poignant post plus think finishing with the Sofía Vergara pronunciation clip was the exclamation (¡!). Have to admit, I'm slightly jealous...

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  14. I want to come see you and do some Spanish immersion!
    LOL

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  15. I only spent a couple years in Mexico and now I write "pijamas" all the time. And I've been known to respond "si" instead of yes.

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