Whether you were born in a country other than your own, have parents who speak different languages, learnt another language in school or all of the above, speaking more than one language can be tricky like anything else in life. I’ve made a list of the issues I personally identify with and picked 10 to post (Yes – I had way more than 10!).
1 – Switching to another language mid-sentence or going back and forth between several languages. We’ve all been there. You try to explain something and end up confusing the person you were talking to. Which brings us to issue number 2..
2 – Limiting your interactions with monolingual people (people who only speak one language). I’m forced to do this all the time, otherwise it ends up being a very long conversation of ‘ummm’s and ‘aahhh’s – Not good!
3 – Failing at counting the kisses. One doesn’t have to be bilingual to relate to this one I guess. We’ve all accidentally kissed someone on the mouth as a result of both parties offering the same cheek during a greeting, or offered a fourth kiss to someone who already moved on after their third/second one.
4 – Knowing words you can’t translate. Aaah, classic. Every language has a list of those, except English maybe?
5 – Forcing wrong pronunciations. It kills me but I sometimes am forced to pronounce a word with a heavy accent even though I’m perfectly capable of saying it the right way just so people can either understand what on earth I’m talking about, or so I don’t come across as a snob.
6 – Having multiple personalities. I once read somewhere that bilingual/trilingual people subconciously have a different personality associated to every language. I’m living proof that that is correct.
7 – Cursing by accident. Some words have the same pronunciation but a completely different meaning in different languages. I.e: dik (meaning fat in dutch), vak (pronounced as the f word but meaning section in Dutch) Seriously, the examples are endless.
8 – Accidentally translating idioms and phrases. This is quite funny when it’s intentional but pretty embarrassing when not. What can I say, some cultures just know how to get the point across better than others. Also, this inspired the Aminafied #WednesdayWisdom photos I tend to post on my instagram every once in a while. Speaking of which..
9 – Having to use more than one language for your instagram captions/hashtags. This struggle is particularly real for lazy people such as myself.
10 – Not knowing how to pronounce your own name. I can honestly say I’ve gotten used to pronouncing my (Arabic!!!) name in Dutch – Yup, you read that right. To make matters worse, even in Arabic people pronounce (oh and spell) my name differently depending on their own dialect. This girl once overheard different people calling me in FIVE different, yet the same, names and me responding to every single one of them; she then asked me how my real name was actually pronounced.. I couldn’t answer. Thanks a lot parents.
I hope you liked my list. Press ‘like’ if you can relate or add additional issues I didn’t mention in the comments’ section below.