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Question about Alters & Languages

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Question about Alters & Languages

Postby ADarkerShade » Thu Nov 21, 2019 4:27 am

Hello everyone and thank you for clicking on my thread!
I have a kind of weird question and hope one of you can help me/us.

We have two alters in our system, Yuki & a nameless (as of yet) One, and they are kind of the 'problem' or rather the reason for the question.

Is it possible for Alters to speak a language that the other alters (including the host) either never or barely (just the basics over 10 years ago) learned? Or am I just "imagining things"?
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Caomhán - 30s (exact age unknown) - M | Asher - 29 - M | Emrys - 27 - M | Yuki - 26 - M |
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Re: Question about Alters & Languages

Postby SeveralCrows » Thu Nov 21, 2019 4:57 am

Yes, sort of.

Internally, anything is possible. It is possible for alters to be entirely fluent in another language that has never been learned by the brain internally.

In the outside world, the alter is only going to be able to speak as much as the brain has learned, either actively or passively. It is impossible for an alter to have skills that have never been acquired by the brain at all. So, if the alter is fluent in a language internally and that's all they speak, but the brain has only learned a little bit, that's probably all the alter would be able to speak while fronting. Maybe they would have a little bit more than was formally learned, through exposure to media in that language. It's still entirely possible for them to have none of the native language that the rest of the system has.

Basically, any skill that the brain has learned, an alter could conceivably have access to. Not everyone has access to the same skills, which is frequently a problem for systems - like some parts don't have crucial work skills or ability to cook. If the skill doesn't exist in the brain and an alter has that ability, it's probably only possible to use it in the inner world, or they just have a belief that they have the skill, but couldn't actually use it externally if challenged. In that case, they could choose to develop the skill further, studying and practicing while out. There's a recent thread on the topic of lost skills over here: dissociative-identity/topic215046.html
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Re: Question about Alters & Languages

Postby Zor » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:58 pm

SeveralCrows wrote:Yes, sort of.

Internally, anything is possible. It is possible for alters to be entirely fluent in another language that has never been learned by the brain internally.

In the outside world, the alter is only going to be able to speak as much as the brain has learned, either actively or passively. It is impossible for an alter to have skills that have never been acquired by the brain at all. So, if the alter is fluent in a language internally and that's all they speak, but the brain has only learned a little bit, that's probably all the alter would be able to speak while fronting. Maybe they would have a little bit more than was formally learned, through exposure to media in that language. It's still entirely possible for them to have none of the native language that the rest of the system has.

Basically, any skill that the brain has learned, an alter could conceivably have access to. Not everyone has access to the same skills, which is frequently a problem for systems - like some parts don't have crucial work skills or ability to cook. If the skill doesn't exist in the brain and an alter has that ability, it's probably only possible to use it in the inner world, or they just have a belief that they have the skill, but couldn't actually use it externally if challenged. In that case, they could choose to develop the skill further, studying and practicing while out. There's a recent thread on the topic of lost skills over here: dissociative-identity/topic215046.html


That is how it works for a few of ours... we have two or three that speak/read Hebrew relatively fluently INSIDE, but can't nearly as good outside b/c the brain knows so little externally.
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Re: Question about Alters & Languages

Postby Floralie » Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:30 pm

We have parts with different native language than mine, they of course speak their languages inside, but not out, because they've never gotten a chance to learn it. They're not up to going into any course either, because it's their native language, they don't wanna start learning it like it would not be, it doesn't fit to their identity.

If in your case someone actually speaks different language outside you can't, maybe they studied it more than you did. But brains can't just come up with real foreign language if they've never had chance to learn it, just like they can't come up with correct info of anything else that complicated either. If you have present day amnesia, that's totally different thing. They can do a lot you can't, because they practiced it for real and you didn't. Or if it's a language you do hear a lot for any reason in your life, they can also have picked it up even if you didn't.
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Re: Question about Alters & Languages

Postby Johnny-Jack » Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:41 pm

An alter speaking another language or dialect isn't particularly rare for people with DID. An alter of ours who speaks a very different dialect of English than the rest of us illustrates how this can happen.

Jack learned the Appalachian English from his best friend's grandfather, who had been born in eastern Kentucky, where we never lived. Jack spent a lot of his time around this old man and his family. They were kind and humble, whereas our family of origin could be mean and arrogant.

When we met him, we thought Jack was just making up bad grammar, though we soon realized his vocabulary and grammar "mistakes" were consistent. None of us had a clue about this language or how to speak it because none of us spent any time with that family.

Jack can also speak like we do, it just feels less natural. It seems clear it was a choice for him to learn that dialect. I've met non-DID people who grew up in areas with strong accents but speak with a general American accent because they decided at a young age they didn't want to talk like the people around them.

If an alter spent time exclusively with people who spoke another language, that's what they'd learn of course. If one of us had spent time with a different childhood friend's grandmother, he might have learned Yiddish.
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Re: Question about Alters & Languages

Postby KingsleyHere » Sat Nov 23, 2019 12:52 am

We lived in foreign countries so speak a couple languages. Since we stopped speaking them regularly can only read them now. But one can speak one clearly as if still in country. That's how we discovered abuse did take place during that time period.

One speaks with a heavy southern dialect. Discovered him back when we were in denial & certain we were making this all up. It wasn't until going thru my Dad's records after his death, that we discovered we had indeed lived in the South.

Can one speak a language that was never studied, spoken? My gut reaction is no. It seems that all information mine know, they learned.
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Re: Question about Alters & Languages

Postby Sarandipity » Sat Nov 23, 2019 10:16 pm

I can understand Romany Gypsy dialect. When I'm incredibly stressed I loose the ability to talk English and words come out in that dialect.

I knew this because I understood people talking in that language, got in an argument because it sounded like they were talking English to me.

I then tested it and got a woman I knew to randomly call me and speak in her language. When I replied she laughed at me - it sounded like English so I didn't notice and like I said i told her to do it randomly and she did.

Another time I got in a fight with a man in the street and a friend of mine who is Romany Gypsy was with me and she translated what I was saying - I didn't realize I wasn't talking English.

It's very strange. But a French woman I know said that she hears English as French after living here so long. So it probably a very quick translation the brain does.

Where my grandparents lived was alot Romany Gypsy people so I think that's how I have this weirdness. Its entirely passive so I don't realise if I'm hearing it, it sounds like English. And when it comes out of my mouth it's only when I'm very stressed and again to me I don't realise it's happening.

I had a time when I couldn't speak English recently. I didn't think of it being Romany Gypsy at the time but maybe it was. But this was different, I was trapped in my body knowing what I wanted to say but when I opened my mouth something else came out and I could hear it wasn't English so I think possibly this is a different thing or made up language or squashing English, like a pigeon English, and not an entirely different dialect.

I can understand French after I've heard it consistently for a week or so. Talking back in French is harder but I can understand what is being said.
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