Tuesday, October 11, 2011

More on Being Bilingual

We had a pleasant banter going on over dinner recently. I had made absolutely delicious homemade hamburger buns! And we had the music going in the background. Even my grandson was eating more and talking less than usual.

As the meal was drawing to a close my husband said, "How about some sorvete for dessert?" So of course we started talking about sorvete and trying to get my grandson to speak some Portuguese. His task was to figure out what "sorvete" was in English. Eventually my son said, "Grandpa even gave you a clue. He said what it was in English back in the beginning of this conversation."

We all looked at him and said, "No, he didn't." He insisted he had said it in English and we three insisted he hadn't. Finally, (since the majority rules) he admitted he was in error, with much embarrassment and turning a deep rosy red.

My son had passed the acid test of being a true bilingual; when you understand everything that was said, but have no idea which language was spoken.

I've heard people say that you are bilingual when you dream in your second language, but I believe that's only the beginning of becoming bilingual. The true test is the one my son passed. I've even taken that a step further and am often not even aware of which language I'm using when I speak to someone. This, incidentally, can result in strange and confused reactions from my listeners.

Wouldn't you like to be bilingual? What other language would you like to speak and why?


  1. I know how hard is be bilingue...I still learning english...
    But I would like to learning little hebrew language...maybe some day.

  2. I speak a little French and studied Middle English and Russian in college. I've lost my abilities through disuse but, at the time, I knew I had become bilingual when I looked at my class notes for the class after my French linguistics, and saw I had automatically translated everything the professor said into French!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts.