Monday 19 August 2019

Code-switching is the worst.

The problem with trying to improve two languages simultaneously is code-switching. Code-switching occurs when you switch from one language to another. It is relatively easy for me to switch from English to Polish--unless I have been furiously studying Italian for two hours.

This was the sad situation I was in on Sunday when a parishioner introduced me to his girlfriend,  visiting from Poland, and I said "Miło mi poznać" ("Pleased to meet you") and then totally blanked out. I even forgot my "magic word" for such occasions, which is "Spokojnie" ("Be calm").

Today I studied Italian all the way to exercise class, but then listened to Polish lessons on my phone all the way home because my Polish-speaking help was coming, and I didn't want another brain-freeze. Alas, the help messaged to say she is sick today, so I might have spent another bus ride working on Italian, but there it is.

One of my sisters is fluent in both French and Spanish and is now learning Italian, so I must find out how she manages. I suspect she has an unfair genetic anomaly, though. Possibly the left side of her brain talks to the right lickety-split.

1 comment:

  1. I empathize. I cannot remember where I read it (possibly Pragmatic Thinking & Learning [Hunt]), but my solution for now is to work one language in the morning, and then avoid it for 4h before working on the next. Schedule the language according to when it might be used (for me I should do German on the ride to work since there are German-speakers at work; Japanese in the afternoon since I go to sock-choppy in the evening). Mileage will vary.