A native English speaker who’s been studying Spanish for 11 years with her husband finds that learning a second language has an effect on her original tongue. She can’t spell as well as she used to, and sometimes finds herself reaching for Spanish constructions when speaking English, such as saying I have cold rather than I am cold. It’s a phenomenon called language attrition, and linguistics professor Monika Schmid of the University of Essex has devoted a whole website to the topic, with lots of helpful advice for addressing this challenge. This is part of a complete episode.

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