- Personal Stories & Opinions>
- Do You Ever Forget English in LATAM?
Some odd years ago…..
I returned from Mexico City after my first 6 months or so living down here…
It was Christmas time and I came home to celebrate the holidays with family.
Anyway, different family members stopped by the house where my parents lived.
The grandparents and uncles and aunts and so on…
Anyway, an uncle came by named Uncle Bobby.
Who is cool and said something along the lines of “I’m surprised you still speak English despite so much time down there in Latin America….”
Of course, it wasn’t like I had just spent 6 months in Mexico City before this….
As I had roughly 2 years of traveling down there before I began living in Mexico City….
Anyway, he was joking obviously but his comment wasn’t unusual.
My mom gives me shit about it all the time that “I am losing my English.”
Though, to be honest, I feel it is just joking around to poke fun at me for my decision to live down here…
Maybe in hopes I will move back to the US someday as almost no parent wants their kid living down in LATAM anyhow….
It’s the same thing with my mom as well.
Where, once in a blue moon, I will forget the word for some random thing in English….
For example, I asked her what the typical price would be for curtains in the US….
To get a better sense of what I would more likely want to pay in Mexico…
Anyway, for whatever reason, I happened to forget the word for curtain in English…
In Spanish, I could remember the word just fine!
But in English….
I simply couldn’t remember the word “curtain” despite how much thinking I did about it….
“What is that fucking word?!?”
But maybe Uncle Bobby had a point….
Maybe, after some odd years after that, my English is disappearing….
In all seriousness, it isn’t.
But it is true that sometimes I forget the random word here and there for what I want to say in English.
It’s rare but, to be honest, it does happen.
Either way, it’s not that much of an issue….
I actually wasn’t going to write this article originally as I thought the idea of “losing your native language” is a bit dumb.
But maybe it’s not?!?
I did a quick Google Search on this topic and apparently some people have this issue actually!
Which is surprising.
I honestly was going to throw this article idea into the trash can but supposedly it’s not just an idea of the uncles and moms who worry about your English skills after some time in Mexico….
If you don’t believe me, read this article or this one or this one or this one or this one.
After reading some of the comments or concerns by people on this topic on the internet, I guess it might have some legitimacy.
Although I honestly doubt most people “lose their English” by living for an x amount of time in Latin America.
Wouldn’t it happen the other way around?
In my hometown, we have some Mexican restaurant where the couple is Mexican obviously.
Spent decades in the US.
But yet their Spanish is still intact.
And I have met some gringos in the US who have spent decades in Latin America and still speak English as natively as before.
And so while you do have some rarer cases like….
Like this video here below of this dude who talks about his English getting worse as he lives abroad longer....
I do feel that though you won’t likely lose your English….
There is some legitimacy to some of your English being chipped away over time…..
Let’s address some of my basic thoughts on this subject…
There isn’t much to say but there are some things that I think need to be mentioned based on my experience….
So let’s get to it!
No Spanish Crowd
If you are a tourist who only hangs out with other tourists….
Or an expat who only hangs out with other expats speaking English.
I obviously can’t see any decrease in your English skills obviously.
So don’t worry here obviously.
Genuine Loss of English?
I do think there can be a small genuine loss of English when you live down here long enough and only speak Spanish or mostly Spanish.
Simply put, there are words you forget that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
Being honest, I’ve had a random few words like that such as “curtains” as I wrote above.
Granted, just because you forget momentarily the word “curtains” doesn’t mean that your English is gone.
It’s just that you forgot that word in the moment and that’s it.
It can be annoying though when you know the word in Spanish for curtains but the person you are talking to doesn’t speak Spanish but your native language is English….
Over 5 years here, if my English was truly going away, I figure it would have degraded at a much faster rate than forgetting the word for “curtains” for it to be of serious concern.
Slang Back Home?
I really don’t have much room to talk here.
As I am still fairly young and a lot of the slang used around is stuff I am familiar with.
However, there are slang words and the like that I am not used to.
For example, the kids these days seem to use the word “based.”
I don’t get what it means but it does sound like a good thing.
You balls deep inside some woman….
And you go….
“Girl, I’m so based inside you….”
Is that how it works?
I don’t know.
Regardless though of if you live in LATAM or the US or wherever….
The issue of not getting slang would be the same no matter where you decided to live….
Though I guess those living in LATAM like myself would maybe have slightly more difficulty as it can be easier to forget what is happening up there over time as you live down here….
And, as a result, the slang also…
Anyway, here is a video relevant to the topic of if people can lose their language or not.
Again, I kinda feel like the topic is stupid as I feel most don’t have this issue….
And I know I don’t……
But I guess it is something that happens as it has been written about as you can read here or here…
So I figured I would talk about it.
Anyway, you want a tip to not lose your English down here?
Don’t stop speaking English!
When you go to the bar for another drink to when you are fucking some new Latina woman….
Speaking English is a good cure….
Well, drop a comment or question below if you got any…..
Amway, follow my Twitter here.