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Can you lose your native language?

bbc.com

Forgetting the First Language

While our brains are flexible and adaptable as children, we tend to start having more rigid learning and relearning skills as we grow old.

There have been some extreme cases when the mother tongue or the first language is completely forgotten in adults.

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Trauma associated with a Language

One of the reasons for forgetting a language is the trauma associated with speaking a particular language: The mind recalls the bad experiences while the language is heard or spoken.

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The Switch Mechanism

Once a person is able to speak two or more languages, the mind has to create a mechanism to switch between those seamlessly.

Switching a language is not like forgetting, but if there is too much back and forth, the competition starts between the two languages.

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Language as Identity

Our mother tongue is tied to our deeper identity, roots, and memories.

Native language attrition (the process of losing a native, or first, language) is natural and reversible, as whatever allows us to learn l...

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