When are languages most likely to interfere with each other for you?

General discussion about learning languages
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Languages: English (N), Spanish (heritage/intermediate), Hebrew (A2-B1)
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When are languages most likely to interfere with each other for you?

Postby sporedandroid » Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:51 pm

For me it seems to do more with what level I’m at than anything else. When I was growing up there was a point where I was equally comfortable in English and Spanish. I had some embarrassing moments where I mixed up English and Spanish. One example would be speaking Spanish to my teachers. Sort of like calling my teachers mom. When I learned Icelandic I had pretty much no issues with interference. I even dabbled in other Scandinavian languages. Since my level was way lower in those languages I don’t think I noticed interference.

The real trouble started with Hebrew. It’s nothing like any languages I know, so I had a lot of trouble retaining any vocabulary. Even compared to non-cognates in Icelandic or Finnish words. When I had about a ten word vocabulary I remember some Hebrew words reminding me of Finnish words. The languages are nothing alike, but I still managed to have issues. When my Hebrew level got higher it kind of stopped happening.

What is driving me crazy is Icelandic. It started happening when I got to a certain level in Hebrew. Those languages are nothing alike, but it still trips me up to this day. When I was having a slump in Hebrew, I decided to see if raising my Icelandic level would help with this issue. Surprise, surprise. It didn’t. I guess I have to continue avoiding it for a while. It’s kind of sad because Icelandic feels like a part of me. I can’t even listen to music in Icelandic.

I recently noticed Hebrew is starting to interfere with Spanish. I’d say my overall Spanish level is higher than my Hebrew level. Spanish takes less energy to listen to and I think it’s just more solid overall. I notice my listening skills in Hebrew can sometimes be stronger since Spanish has a lot of dialects while Hebrew pretty much has none. I also seem to find some formal language in Hebrew easier. I end up finding podcasts in Hebrew easier to follow than Spanish podcasts on similar topics. It seems like Hebrew is interfering with all languages I seem to be struggling in right now. If I listen to something in a random language I know I’ll be making an effort to find Hebrew sounding words.
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