Did Learning Spanish Ruin My Ability to Write in English?

The downside of foreign language immersion.

Benya Clark
Writers’ Blokke

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Photo by Ken Cheung on Unsplash

I’ve been a strong writer for as long as I can remember.

I got straight As on my essays in college. I was on the top journal at my law school. For the past few years, I’ve even made a living as a blogger and business-to-business writer.

But this past year, for the first time in my life, I worry that my writing ability is starting to slide downhill.

I’ve been writing more slowly and making more mistakes. Fewer of my blog posts go viral, and my business writing tends to receive heavier edits than it did in the past.

I’m still trying just as hard, but I’ve lost a bit of my edge, and I think I know the problem: I’ve been immersed in Spanish.

I started teaching myself Spanish about three and a half years ago. I was looking for ways to keep busy during the peak of the pandemic.

It was my first time ever studying Spanish (unless you count a couple of afternoons wasted on Duolingo). At the time, I was already 33 years old, which is young in the grand scheme of things, but older than most people tend to be when they pick up a second language.

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Benya Clark
Writers’ Blokke

I’m a lawyer turned writer from North Carolina. I write about sobriety, mental health, and more. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter at exploringsobriety.com.