My vocabulary is large, it contains multitudes
September 5, 2006 7:56 AM Subscribe
LanguageArts: to the bilingual (or more) people in the hive...
posted by seawallrunner to writing & language (24 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Did you grow up in a two-language culture? I grew up in Montreal, Canada, where French is the main language and English runs a very close second. Even in my adult years, I speak two languages with my friends - shifting from French to English and then back to French during the course of a conversation. I'm not unique in doing this, I hear this often in Montreal, my friends do this too no matter their proficiency in English (or French). There appears to be no rhyme or reason for the 'switch' to happen, or no designated switcher in the conversation, who changes one language to the other (it could be me, or it could be the other person).
And this has little to do with the degree of closeness in the relationship - I've seen this done in retail stores between salespeople and clients, as well as within families or between friends.
So - my question: are we Canadians unique in this regard (I've seen this in Ottawa as well), or are there other countries where this happens as well? I'm thinking of countries with more than one official language - Spain (Spanish and Catalan), Switzerland (German, Romanche, French, Italian), anywhere else? Does this happen in Asian countries? In Latin America?
I'm not talking about moms switching languages with their toddlers in order to teach them another language - although this may have something to do with it, why us adults are doing this in our later years.
Fluently bilingual (or more) people, tell me more about how you talk with your friends - do you stick to one language only or do you drift from one language to the other to express thoughts and emotions? And if so, which languages do you use?