Independently of how you learned a second language – school, home, Internet – being bilingual is a blessing. The fact that you can communicate in two different tongues is out of this world. There are so many benefits that this trait brings with, like getting a better job, delaying alzheimer’s (how cool is that?), making easier to learn another language. My favorite part of speaking two languages is being able to connect with more people! It means double the friends, double the culture, double the love! However, being bilingual can be a little frustrating sometimes. I want to share with you these 5 things you didn’t know about bilinguals.
1) You can’t express in just one language
Languages are very extensive and rich, when I had no clue how to speak English I felt I could express any idea I wanted. However, Now that I’m able to speak both, it gets very complicated. For instance, you want to express a thought but one specific language doesn’t have the magic word you need in order to communicate your idea! It can be so frustrating sometimes that it’s a relieve to speak with someone that shares both languages on a regular basis so you can complete your thoughts.
2) Translating it’s not a simple task
There comes a time when family and friends ask if we can translate something. To be honest it’s not always that easy. Sometimes I find difficult to translate just one phrase. Multiple times the exact word doesn’t work very well in the context you are asked to translate, so you end up changing a lot of words to make things sound better. It’s especially hard when you want to express something you thought in one language and then trying to say it or write in the other one. For instance, writing this post has been somewhat difficult because I thought about it in Spanish and writing these ideas in English has been a total workout for my brain!
3) You mix languages very often
It takes a lot of coordination to change languages multime times in short period, sometimes when you switch to L2 you are still thinking in L1. It’s very often when you’re on the phone speaking L1 and by your side there’s someone who speaks L2. Don’t be surprised if all of a sudden you exchange languages get people confused! Also, when you have a dominant language and you are not that aware of your surroundings you can switch to L2 or L1 without even knowing. For instance, there’s been times where I was sick or with no energy at all, and I unconsciously spoke Spanish to my husband and thought that I was speaking in English.
4) If you don’t practice your native language enough, you’ll start forgetting some words.
I always thought people would fake the fact that they didn’t remember their native language. Oh! How wrong I was. After 3 years of living here. Sometimes, when I speak with family or friends I have to ask them. How do you say when…..? What is the thing that….? It starts with an A…. In fact studies have shown that Bilinguals experience more tip-of-the-tongue moments that monolinguals! It’s like you know the word, but you can’t find it when you need it the most!
5) We don’t remember what language we just heard or read
Sometimes you can’t tell the difference when you’re immersed with both languages at the same time. There’s been some occasions where I think I read something in Spanish, when in fact, was in English. It’s so bizarre and confusing at the same time. I know if I am distracted or what but this happens very often, specially when I am on social media.
Whether you are a bilingual or not, or know someone who is. I hope you enjoyed this post! Do you identify with me in one of these thing I just wrote about? Is there anything else you have experienced as bilingual? Do you want to learn another language?
I’m looking forward to hearing from you! Comment on the section below if you have any questions or there’s other topics you’d like me to write about!
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