How do I forget what I have learnt?

No, of course I don’t really want to forget - its a clickbait title! I wanted to share something that has been amusing me.

I learnt Spanish with SSi Spanish in 2017. It has been about 2 years since I had a proper conversation in Spanish, but when I’m doing SSi Welsh I have so many moments where @aran will say the prompt and the Spanish just comes rushing back to me as if I had done SSi Spanish only yesterday. I have to fight it back down to give the Welsh a chance.

It just goes to show how well it works at embedding things in the memory.


So interesting! I did SSIW 10 years ago (almost to the day I started…) and just last night started on SSi Dutch - fighting back the urge to say “Dwi isio dysgu sut i siarad Cymraeg”!


I was showing SSi Spanish to a colleague who teaches Spanish, but kept wanting to join in Welsh. To this day “I met someone in the pub last night who said that she works with your sister” is still the only sentence that I can translate from Welsh to Manx and back again in my sleep.


I never properly learned Spanish, but I did a year in middle school and another in high school and heard a lot of it growing up in a mixed Mexican-American family, so I have a fair amount from childhood bouncing around in my brain.

When I’m trying to speak Welsh, if I’m searching for a word in Welsh, I’ll often immediately recall a word in Spanish that I didn’t even realize I knew.


I have the same experience with O level French - over 50 years on. In Italy I was too self conscious to use phrase book Italian but kept reverting to French. I’m hoping the same won’t happen when I try Welsh out in Wales. It’s a bizarre phenomenon, but I live in hope that Welsh will become the default second language I’ve never had.

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I share a flat with a couple of Spanish speakers, so we usually speak Spanish, but after I’ve been speaking Welsh for an hour, I struggle to get my brain back into Spanish. Instead, it’s a lot easier for me to speak Basque, which I’m still learning. Luckily one of my housemates is also learning Basque, so I have to make do with that until the Spanish comes back :joy: