When I speak L2 or L3, I say sometimes some words from the other languages that I know. I also have seen many people who have the same issue, they speak in English in some conference for example and then suddenly they say some words from French. What is the most effective way to avoid this or at least minimize its effect on our language speaking?


Like I have already said, my question is more about this issue when we speak, and not with the whole language skills, and I agree that this happens a lot from the languages that we know better to the languages that we know less, but it might also happen in the other case, I mentioned this in the comments below though.

  • 2
    Great question. For some reason I catch myself thinking in another language while I am speaking in English. My wife simply tells me to think in English and I am okay.
    – Ken Graham
    Oct 22, 2016 at 12:15
  • 3
  • 1
    @Hatchet, I took a look at those questions before I posted this one but they are not exactly why I am looking for, my focus here is more on speaking not all the other skills.
    – aettanany
    Oct 22, 2016 at 12:32
  • 2
    Please, please, edit your question to explain what it is that you don't find in the questions that Hatchet listed in his comment. Otherwise, this question is at risk of getting closed.
    – Tsundoku
    Oct 24, 2016 at 19:32
  • 2
    @fi12 I do not consider this question as a duplicate of the other one. The other question is about learning strategies that should reduce confusion, whereas this question is about language production. In order to mark this question as a duplicate, you need to prove that only learning strategies can help solve this issue. Where is the evidence for that?
    – Tsundoku
    Oct 25, 2016 at 9:46

1 Answer 1


Practice, practice, practice.

I met some polyglots at the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin and a lot of them are simply very strict with themselves. One that I met usually has tandem meetings where he speaks in one language and his partner another. That is one way to get used to the interference of another language.

Look at the words that you "get wrong" and think about why you used those words instead of the ones you should have. Sometimes I feel that a concept is much better in one language than another and that means that I'll use it. One has to know one's audience and use one's Fingerspitzengefühl for that, of course.

It could be that you don't know the words as well as you should. Write then down, say the sentences over and over again and use those words until they roll off your tongue.

Good luck!

  • 1
    Interesting answer but what about when the speaker is extremely with both languages? Oct 23, 2016 at 20:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.