What It’s Like Being Bilingual
April 27, 2018
People who are able to speak two languages are called bilingual. Being bilingual is something that can be very useful in daily life. Many people wonder how the mind of a bilingual person works, and that really depends on how advanced they are in the languages they speak.
A person can learn how to speak both languages very fluently, but when it comes to the actual mindset of being bilingual, it can be different. If someone knows both of the languages equally, everything they say or think will come out as a mix of both. However, the native language tends to play a stronger role in the mind. For example, if a bilingual person sees “fourteen years” in a text, a native Spanish speaker might read it as “catorce years.” They would first say the number in their native language, then switch to English for the remainder of the sentence.
People often wonder how an argument might go between two bilingual people. There is always a mix of both of the languages because of the dominance of both languages. They may start a sentence in their native language then switch to the second language and vice-versa. Or, they may use a mix of words from both languages within the sentence. The most interesting part about this is that they often do not even notice when the switching happens. Sophomore Jennifer Vargas said, “Being bilingual can be very great because you are able to speak and understand two languages. You’ll be able to translate if needed. The bad thing about it is that sometimes I don’t even realize when I start switching back and forth between the two languages.”
People are encouraged, even from a young age, to learn another language because it can be very helpful in their future. While that is a good reason, knowing a second language can also change how they view the world completely. Being bilingual is both great for communication, and for understanding the world in a different way.