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I am looking for a rather formal verb(phrase) to mean "involuntarily inserting a word from one's mother tongue in a speech made in one's foreign language because the person in question is in a very nerve-wrecking situation such as speaking in court"

Example:

A person whose second language is English, and first language is French says the following:

"I don't mean to blow things out proportion, but I think that what you said is, uh, uh, 'injuste', uh, I mean, unfair!" (Heart pounding hard)

Note the involuntary insertion of the French word injuste into the English speech is involuntary because the person was too nervous or self-conscious. The insertion does not come from a lack a competency or command of lexicon, only nervousness.

I thought of stumble but I don't think it serves the purpose well.

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I can only think of "reverting to one's mother tongue". http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/312196

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It is called "code-switching". It happens involuntarily also.

It can be a type of code-switching called "tag-switching" as well.

More details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code-switching

Also, I found studies about this topic when I searched further.

  • Thank you for the effort of researching, but code-switching is a choice that the speaker makes. It is never involuntary. – asef Feb 8 '14 at 2:51
  • No, it can happen involuntarily, like a "reflex". You can search about "involuntary code-switching". There seems to be resources about psychological aspect of this. – ermanen Feb 8 '14 at 3:30
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I would use Momentary Lapse.

Lapse on its own would also be appropriate but could imply that the speaker inserted a larger section of speech from their native language.

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