A Day in the life of a Multilingual
Being a proud polyglot may seem all special and full of advantages but our lives can be a far more complicated than they need to be… Queue world’s saddest song on the world’s smallest violin.
How many of these can you identify with?
1. Being the centre of attention
When people find out that you can speak more than 2 or 3 languages, suddenly you’ll be quizzed on how to say everything in each language, followed by their opinions of how it sounds, and possibly coupled by their own attempts to have a go. When hoarded by such curiosity, needless to say, it’s easy to feel like a circus freak.
2. Knowing you’re in trouble
There’s always a language that you’ve been addressed in, and it’s not always for good reasons. When you find yourself in trouble and about to be told off, often parents will switch to their mother tongue because it’s more natural and easier to get their point across. You know, because telling you off in English as opposed to mother tongue Italian just wouldn’t have quite the same effect, would it?
Oh, the frustration technology can present when trying to type in different languages! Luckily you can now add different languages to your phone’s settings and switch between keyboards so that you can actually communicate in a way that won’t look like someone half-drunk typed it. However, autocorrect often has a way of kicking in when you least expect it, making for unnecessarily awkward situations.
Be careful with autocorrect! (Photo: distractify.com)
4. Being used as a translator
Now that you’ve already been the centre of attention as in point 1, people will now want to use your incredible language skills for translating any of the following: a restaurant menu, a film, a song…you name it! It’s as if you’re suddenly regarded as a walking dictionary able to translate whichever word you’re asked. Yes, the life of a multilingual is demanding!
5. Having to prove your nationality
If your parents are from different countries, it’s likely that you grew up speaking their languages. So you will be familiar with speaking a foreign language from a very young age, meaning that over time your accent will sound almost like a native’s. However, people may then associate you with the language you most commonly speak in, forgetting that you actually have mixed origins and another mother tongue. It’s only until you get out your passport that they believe you!
6. Poorly dubbed films
If you’ve ever spent some time living in the UK and become accustomed to watching films in English, it can later be a struggle to return to your home country and watch poorly dubbed films that you now understand in their original version. An actor poorly conveying English words through their own language is definitely not the same, and undoubtedly some of the senses of humour that are produced in the voices are lost through the replacement voices of local actors.
7. People making fun of you in any language you speak
Despite the fact that you’ve mastered many languages, there’s nearly always a chance that you’re going to make a mistake once in a while. Finding yourself inventing new words or mispronouncing them are just a few ways of covering up gaps in your linguistic knowledge. Perhaps you are not native, but nothing beats being able to understand several languages in a situation.
8. Having friends that speak different languages
Following on from number 7, having a group of friends from different countries can sometimes prove tricky, especially if not everyone can speak English. Furthermore, if you’re in a group where most can understand your language but not all, you may have to speak English with everyone to avoid anyone feeling left out, even if it’s not the language you are most comfortable with.
Amen, Leo. Amen...
9. Friends telling you to stop showing off
It’s a hard life when you can say you speak more than two languages. No, really, it is! Most people will accuse you of showing off, just because of your natural ability to switch between languages. This can be especially common in countries where language learning is not prioritized, or where it is not common to speak more than one language, and this can be the difference between you and your friends. Let’s admit it, they’re just jealous!
10. Mixing languages
Another downside of being able to speak so many languages is inevitably mixing them. Far from being a huge negative, mixing languages can often be quite humourous and is nothing new or original. If people never mixed languages, we would never know such terms as Spanglish, Chinglish or even Franglais!
Got any more multilingual problems to add? Tell us in the comment section below!
See the original article here
May 5, 2015 by The ELJ Team
posted 2 days ago by Michele
posted 2 years ago by Benjamin
It pretty much describes my life right know. Just perfect. I would also add something like: "your mood shifts the language capabilities". Sometimes it's just not a day for English or any other.
posted 2 years ago by Aneta
Nowadays, it’s becoming more and more common for people to find a job abroad and discover whether the grass is greener on the other side.