According to my parents when I was younger, I was fluent in Vietnamese. Then I started going to school and to encourage me to speak English, my parents also started speaking English to me. That worked, but in the process, I forgot how to speak Vietnamese well. Eighteen years later, eighteen years worth of hearing but never understanding Vietnamese, eighteen years worth of knowing only the most basic phrases, eighteen years worth of not being able to speak properly to your grandparents, I finally started learning to speak the language for real. Here are five different things that happen when you begin to relearn your native language.
“Oh that’s what you’ve been saying!”
You know that one phrase your parents always say and you know it means something, but you never know exactly what? Well, at least that mystery's solved!
“Speak ____ not English, please!”
Because sometimes your parents forget that you're trying to learn your first language.
“What’s that you’re trying to say?”
Those language apps can't compare to the native speaker three-quarters of the time.
Cue the laughter.
Well, you're gonna mess up sooner or later, so it might as well be your parents laughing at you rather than a stranger.
Speak it often, speak it loud. Keep practicing! You're reclaiming a piece of yourself. You're coming home.
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