Friday, November 18, 2011

the conception of bilingualism ...... partout c'est la meme chose.

When I was a kid one of the most fascinating things in the world was to hear my mother speak portugeuse. It didn’t happen often and it wasn’t for very long, but when it did I kept rapt attention the whole time. I would watch her from the couch, dinner table, or passenger seat of a car. She would babble on the phone endlessly, she seemed equally entranced. I watched her lips dance like a person clacking their heels. The foreign words tasted like a new spice in my ears. It was unfathomable to me how she could do it--a bunch of nonsensical sounds that somehow formed words. 

I have a big enough grip now to explain the mentality. But Listen, I’m not going to jump the gun and claim to be completely fluent in French. But I do feel very confident. It struck me today when I was in Literature class, that I could interpret almost a full page of text and not only translate from french to english, but also work out the grammar in french, in my head. I felt like I had just climbed everest. 

        My train of thought was this...
This sentence doesn’t make sense. moving on. 
Oh wait. I recognize the form of that verb. it must be in the present first person tense. 
That means that the second word is also another form of a word I know, but in a different tense. 
THAT MEANS I can connect the subject of the sentence with that verb, that ad-verb, and the few adjectives I already knew in the female version of the word that I knew!

But as french gets easier and easier, it’s bizarre to think that the whole world of english speakers won’t progress with me. It sounds bizarre written out, but in my head it makes perfect sense. It's strange to think that everyone else can't understand, because it's the same concept as english completely. It's just comprehension and response, whether you're writing or speaking. It feels natural and very spiritually enriching to be speaking two languages. It makes me sad that so many people will never experience that feeling. 

         I think the concept of language in humanity works like this. 
Each language is a train track. There are thousands of train tracks. 
Tracks like English have been so worn down and globalized that the language contains more slurs than consonants and vowels. But languages like french and Spanish stay crisp, clear. But each twists and turns in vastly different directions that a newcomer could never be expected to anticipate. As you study vigorously and travel to a new country, all becomes infinitely clearer. You memorize the track, the route, the twists and turns and you’re able to anticipate more and more. 

 I used to think that a new language would bring you to a new state of mine, change how you think and learn and...exist. In my head it made sense. But really, it’s still 100% you. Your thoughts are exactly the same, your laugh is the same, you stay the same in your conversation. You’re just riding on a different track. 
I wanted to say thank you for everyone who actually reads this humble little blog. I’m really happy I have so many cool people in my life who are interested in what I do and support me. I have reached almost 3,000 views! WHAT? That’s 1,000 for every month...
Things never really stop getting interesting over here, so keep checking in at this link. AND THANK YOU! 


  1. It is a wonderful experience learning a new language, so though all your analogies and experiences may not all be familiar, I understand. What a great concept, understanding ;)
    And thank YOU Megan!

  2. Português é lindo :)