Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Shock of the Day: Switching Languages and Acquisition

Chinese is officially my third language that I'll be learning but I'm having some interesting switches going off in my head as I search and try to speak.

I was in Thailand from Dec-June and thought I haven't formally taken in classes in learning Thai, I've picked up enough everyday vocabulary that I used on a daily basis.  Now, I'm in Taiwan and the official language is Chinese and my mind is blown confused as to what language to use.

I met a girl from Bangkok in one of my classes and I tried to use some of the meager Thai that I learned with her but for the life of me, I could NOT remember simple phrases like Aroi Mak (delicious) or even how to count.  I took me a good hour or so of thinking hard about how to say, 'delicious'.  It's crazy as I've said that term almost on a daily basis but my brain was not having it.

I guess I haven't really learned how to do the language switch that well and I just say the first thing that comes to my head...which isn't always right.

That's another thing!  I find myself saying random other things as I'm searching for the word that I'm looking for and it's either a repeat of something I just said or a word in a completely different language!

It's frustrating to say the least.

Another pet peeve that I've noticed about learning a different language is the fact that I will repeat a word or phrase a billion times in hopes of it making it to my long-term memory storage.  I am usually sorely disappointed when it's really in my short-term and gets dumped with other useless information since I'm in an immersion environment and my brain is going through language acquisition and lifestyle overload.  It's during those moments that I find the most dominant language that is NOT English come up and take over when I try and search for words and end up speaking Japanese.

It's funny though, I feel learning Chinese has enforced my Japanese language which I'm happy to say, a lot has definitely converted to long-term memory but all the Kanji that I thought I forgot, I am relearning them now and suddenly remembering how to say them and what they mean.

It's really an interesting thing going on in my head at the moment.  I can't describe how confused I am but it's been a great learning experience and I'm glad to say, I'm slowly learning Chinese despite it all!