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Forgetting Languages

  1. Oct 11, 2012 #1

    Over the past month or so I've been teaching myself Latin in Rosetta Stone. It's been going steadily, and I hope to have the first level done by the end of the month.

    By pure luck, I came across the notebook I kept in 6th grade when I took Latin for a semester (I had forgotten I had done this). What amazed me is that not only did I know Latin better then than I do now, but that when I was learning Latin this past month I had absolutely no recollection of learning it previously, even though the vocabulary I was using then and the vocabulary I am learning now are practically identical.

    It's been really freaky seeing passages I wrote when I was 10 and only partially being able to translate them.

    Has anyone else had this experience?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 12, 2012 #2
    I haven't had the spectacular experience of forgetting I ever studied a language, but I have forgotten most of what I learned. In high school and college I took French, Latin, German, Russian, and Spanish. I got out of college 35 years ago and never reinforced or extended what I'd learned, so most of it has evaporated.
  4. Oct 12, 2012 #3
    What interested me was that normally when I learn something that I'd learned before I have an 'oh yeah' moment. I had absolutely zero recollection of this.
  5. Oct 12, 2012 #4
    The only explanation is it's not your notebook.

    I tried learning Chinese on Rosetta Stone. I thought it was pretty good. Now that I'm taking Chinese classes, I now realize the way Rosetta Stone was teaching Chinese makes no sense at all. It skips integral aspects of the speaking and written language, and gives you no clue as to how the language is structured.
  6. Oct 12, 2012 #5
    Its definitely my notebook. Of that I have no doubt.

    I don't love the way Rosetta Stone teaches. But I don't have time to take a class right now, and Rosetta Stone is interactive enough to keep my going.
  7. Oct 16, 2012 #6
    Forgetting languages is quite normal. I spoke fluent Czech, Slovak, and semi-fluent German some ten years back. Now my parents laugh at my English accent. My German knowledge has almost entirely evaporated. A few days back I thought about an absolutely standard word (the English for it is "colander"). I simply do not remember those words anymore. And on top of that, when I looked up the word, I could not associate it with the item anymore.

    The old adage "use it or lose it" applies here well.
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