Skip to comments.How do people lose their native language? (Sgt Bowe Bergdahl spoke English for 23 years...)
Posted on 06/04/2014 11:44:25 AM PDT by a fool in paradise
Sgt Bowe Bergdahl spoke English for 23 years until he was captured by Taliban fighters in Afghanistan five years ago. But since his release, he has trouble speaking it, says his father. How can you lose your native language, asks Taylor Kate Brown.
Some people have gone decades without speaking or hearing their first language but they retain the ability to speak it easily, says Dr Monika Schmid, a linguistics professor at the University of Essex in the UK. But others begin losing fluency within a few years of not speaking it.
It's rare to totally lose command of a first language, she says. Instead people have "language attrition" - trouble recalling certain words or they use odd grammar structures. Age is a factor. Once past puberty, Dr Schmid says, your first language is stable and the effects of attrition can reverse themselves if you are re-immersed. But children as old as 10 don't necessarily retain the language they were born into. In a study of French adoptees who left South Korea in childhood, when asked in their early 30s to identify Korean, they did no better than native French speakers with no exposure to Korean.
The difficulties in recalling your first language are greater the more immersed you are in a second language, says Dr Aneta Pavlenko at Temple University in Philadelphia, because cognitive resources are limited. Despite teaching Russian at university in the US, she herself returned to her Russian-speaking community in Kiev to realise she had forgotten how to start a conversation at the post office.
It's well known that brain injuries can have an impact on language loss, but emotional trauma can also affect it. Among German Jews who fled the country during the Holocaust, Dr Schmid says the loss of language was far more dramatic the greater their trauma.
Have you or your friends lost fluency in your native language? Tell us using the form below and we will publish a selection.
I guess they never watched Dances With Wolves.
He will be shielded from his superiors until he has been sufficiently “deprogrammed” or “coached”.
My dad came from Sweden when he was five. He spoke no Swedish in the United States. When he called Sweden once a year or so, he hand little to no trouble making himself understood. He died at 95 still able to speak Swedish.
Just one more of the many weird facts that don't make sense about this.
I have never heard of anyone unable to speak English after speaking it for over 20 years.
Unless there was massive brain damage this is impossible.
I think it is just a false story to allow him to not be questioned about what really happened.
Leave it to the BBC to buy into the anti-American daddy’s lies.
I think the father was sending a signal to the son not to open his mouth.
BBC says daddy has already talked to him since he was in captivity. Other reports say that he’s too fragile to meet with his parents. But they let him speak on the phone? Or did daddy speak with him while he was still with the Afghans/Pakistanis?
The military needs to get daddy’s phone records and passport. Something stinks and it ain’t in Denmark!
“Once past puberty, Dr Schmid says, your first language is stable”
Ah ha! That’s his problem! He never made it past!
Daddy picked up the local language. A lot of effort to go through just to read the newspapers.
Ping for your intrest!
Los Angeles is full of third-generation Mexicans who STILL can't speak any English.
They’re trying to keep him away from the public. This guy is a muslim powder keg.
the puke doesn't want to be American and doesn't want to speak English ... why don't they just believe him when he says he hates us ?
It's like those people that insist I remember something ... "YOU know ... you were THERE ... you do TO remember __ "
Sorry ... no ... I don't remember.
The puke ain't lyin' ... he's an enemy ... kill him.
Afghans told him “don’t come back”.
It’d be “awkward” for the parties involved.
The “lost language” canard was simply a reason to justify the father’s spouting of Islamic crap!
Absolutely nothing more than that and the canard may have been worked out with the Muslim brotherhood staffers that Obama has installed in his White House staff.
Actually, Daddy did not pick up the local language, which is another weird thing about this business. Where the guy was held, Pashto is the local language, not Arabic.
What need is there for them to learn?
So your theory is that the father used that to boast of his language skills? I find that fascinating! That plays into my instant take that he was the biggest narcissist since Cindy Sheehan.
My understanding is that the dad DID learn Pashto. Maybe I confused one of the reports with the son learning it.
Let’s hear and see him now. Someone must be taping him at Landstuhl.
I’m kind of hoping that most people have realized/noticed by now that, the Berghdall “rescue” was meant as a way to redirect the attention of the media and the American people from the many other scandals which Obama and his defenders were feeling the heat about.
The Berghdall trade is not as significant as the many other scandals, although it now becomes another scandal for which Obama and his defenders have to answer questions about.
So, with one “insignificant” soldier (even if he is a deserter and traitor), Obama has managed to take the VA scandal off the headlines, along with Benghazi and the IRA scandals.
Obama knows that nothing big will come from the Berghdall scandal, and nobody will prosecute him for violating the law. Meanwhile, he’s won the week by turning attention away from the many other scandals.
How many Vietnam War POWs came back speaking only Vietnamese? Many of them were heavily isolated.
It’s a nonsensical excuse to justify him keeping a low profile.
Bowe, I love you. I am your father, Bergdahl said at the news conference in Boise. He then spoke in Pashto, adding Ive written to you over and over before speaking again in the foreign language.
But Arabic is the language of the Haqqani group, which indicates Bergdahl was working closely with Arabic speakers for some time. Were he a prisoner, he would have been isolated and would have had little contact with anyone but his guards, who would need to know little, if any, English. This whole thing stinks.
Kids a damn liar and so is his father.
Yep, a distraction, meant to be a “feel good” story (even leaked as such by White House insiders) that blew up in their face and they continue to stonewall, deny, spin, and now use the “Swift Boated” term to attack the critics and play the victim.
So is the president, the press secretary, the State Department,...
Don’t be too sure that they weren’t talking in code and/or the interpretation is another friggin’ lie.
Daddy Bergdahl us one creepy dude. What is his problem?
My youngest daughter was born and raised in Japan, went to Japanese schools, had only Japanese friends, the whole nine yards. She spoke a little English at home, mostly to her mother.
Same thing even then. She used her math time (where she was far advanced of her classmates) for time with a computer with the Rosetta Stone software. She was up to her grade level by her second year and graduated with honors three years later.
Totally bogus. Everything the Government says is a lie. This whole episode looks scripted to me. Now these 5 monsters they have released will be Kings of Islam.
Could it be that daddy Burgdahl was actually instructing his son to speak only in his adopted foreign tongue in order to avoid revealing too much? By instructing his son to trust his reintegration team would also suggest that these team members are fluent in that foreign tongue, perhaps hired Afghan translators, 'allegedly required' to communicate with Bowe [and this administration contacts].
Reintegration appears to be quite a challenging task given the walk back yesterday: State Dept changes it's tune now unsure if Bergdahl captured during combat
Perhaps Bowe was not willing to concede to this administration's much desired 'returning rescued hero' meme.
One of the first reports on Fox was that he ‘couldn’t’ speak English. Last night (or the night before?) a report said that he ‘wouldn’t’ speak English. The latter is the more likely case & another indication of his true feelings.
My cousin has lived in Sweden for the past 25 years. She has never lost her English, but she does speak it with a Swedish accent now.
Daddy learned both Pashto and Arabic? So, who was he talking to from the White House? Was he talking to the Haqqani group or making a statement?
Gee, I think a lot of illegals in the US never learn English regardless of how long they have been here.
Sounds like it was for the benefit of his jihadist buddies.
I think it is just a false story to allow him to not be questioned about what really happened.
Fraud, I say! Fraud!
Puts me in mind of weak people who lack substance and integrity; like B-HO and Hillary’s sudden southern affectation when talking to a black audience or Madonna’s sudden English accent after living in London for less than a year. Sure, I’ll buy that the kid and dad both think they’re Afghanis, because they don’t really know WHO they are, in general.
$274.00 here http://www.rosettastone.com/lp/sbs/?rsi=diplomabgd&cid=se-br-gg-diplomabgd&gclid=CKmPiISB4b4CFQzItAodrF0A-A and the weasel will be speaking like a native.
You tend to lose your language skills when asked questions that you don’t want to answer.
Ask any school kid sitting out in the hallway at school or in the principal’s office.
In northern Afighanistan, the local language is Dari which the Haqqani speak. I think it was just lazy reporting that Pops was speaking Arabic. What doesn’t make sense to me is how Pops knew to learn Pashto if he were held by Dari speakers. Granted a lot of Afghans understand both.