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.
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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.
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