If you speak more than one language, you've probably been in this situation before. You can't remember the word in your native language and can only describe it with your second language. Or maybe, simple words get lost in the mix.


Bilingual people have expansive vocabularies and our brains form new structures to be able to accommodate the vast new world of words and grammar. But it sometimes means that the languages are competing. Your second language is there, so your brain has to work a little harder to find the words in your native language, even though you've known it longer.

So here are some awkward moments that most bilingual people can relate to.

1. When you forget a word in your native language

You're looking for ... emocionada.


Sometimes, it feels like the word in your second language is more fitting than the word in your first language. Or maybe you just can't think of the word in your native language for the life of you. It's even harder when you're speaking to someone who doesn't know your second language so you can't even just ask them to translate for you.

2. You can't think of how to explain a word you're looking for, so you just use sounds

I just forgot!


When you really just can't think of a word, sometimes it's so frustrating all you can do is mime.

3. ... or hand motions


4. You just completely forget a word in both languages

It feels like your brain is melting.


The weirdest thing that happens to me is forgetting the name of common things in my native language. I couldn't remember the word in either language, so I had to look in an online dictionary to remember a simple word.

5. You read a word in your first language as if it were a word in your second


One word: became. Google Translate had to read it aloud for me to realize it was English.

6. You just substitute whatever word first comes to mind


Maybe you can't think of the specific word you're looking for, but hey, this is close enough.

7. Sometimes you just make up your own grammar rules


8. You end up speaking in a hybrid language


Girl, Spanglish is a language in and of itself.

Learning a second language quickly reshaped the way I spoke English, too. I don't have two monolingual minds operating separately in one head. I have one bilingual brain. Is it sometimes messy and confusing? Yes. But it just means my brain is constantly working and growing to stay strong and flexible.