QUOTE(freda_bloogs @ Nov 23 2011, 12:24 AM)
So in order to be bilingual you have to attain a level of language that is equal to that of your native tongue? Does that mean then that as my English gets worse, I don't have to be quite as good at French to be deemed bilingual? Surely that defeats the object! In many respects, I wouldn't say that I'm perfectly fluent in either language. I don't know if this is due to me learning to think and therefore not being quite so hasty in my speech or because I have twice as many words in there to deal with. I'm working on an experiment at the moment that's looking at inhibition as a predictor for language ability. I wonder if I'm not a very good lexical inhibitor, meaning that my English slows as I select the right word.
My OH always says my English is better than that of many native speakers, so we might have a point here
Just joking of course. Since I am not a linguist, I can't really word it precisely anyway...
And we have another question: When is the command of a language deemed fluent? And don't children who grow up as true bilinguals sometimes have major fluency problems in both languages, and they are sometimes even deemed being "slower" than their peers - which they aren't of course, because they virtually learn double the words, or sometimes mix and match them in a wrong way, also depending on their emotional connection, or simply another one that makes sense.
I noticed that my English syntax is sometimes German, but my German syntax is anglicised now. You would think if I am aware of it, I could change it, but it's hardly possible to process it that quickly, at least that's what it feels like. So the languages are in a weird continuum, neither one works perfectly. I sometimes think this might actually be a problem of being bilingual.
The hosting nightmare was essentially down to the fact that I sometimes couldn't think of the German word quick enough, probably because I had mainly talked about the subject in English recently. To avoid awkward silence, I tend to keep on talking and paraphrase, which doesn't always get results apart from really complicated sentences and weird Denglish. It's worse though in stressful situations like that, which makes me think that psyche definitely plays some part in this as well. You would think though you might resort to L1 under stress, but for me, that's strangely not the case anymore.