10 Struggles Of Being Bilingual

If you're bilingual you're probably familiar with some of the things in this list:

1. You don't know which language to think in.

You know those times… the times where you have an idea but you either don’t know with which language to further develop it or you don’t know which language you’re speaking in.

2. You have a hard time translating conversations.

“Hola, me llamo Sarah”… “Hello, her name is llama…" Ugh! No! Sarah. My name is Sarah.

3. When you forget words in both languages, and end up basically mute.

“What’s that one word that means the thing that does the thing? Sí, that one; you know the one, right? No not that one… the other one.” We’ve all been here before, right? Tell me it’s not just me. It’s even worse when the word or phrase you’re missing would be a hilarious response in the current conversation.

4. Speaking the wrong language at the wrong time.

It’s happened to me many times... where I’m chilling with my English-speaking friends and I answer back to them in Spanish. Only awkward glances and forced laughter from your part happens after that. The least awkward thing to do after that embarrassing situation is simply to leave. Just run. It’ll be better than explaining.

5. Speaking both languages at the same time.

Whenever I talk to my mom on the phone (or just in general), I find myself talking in both languages; alternating with no intelligent or coherent transitions.

It kinda’ sounds like this: “Hi, Mami. Yeah. Of course que sí. I told you que ella ya dijo que está fine. Yeah, no hay problems. Sí, okay, I’ll talk to you later. Adiós, quiero mucho.”

That’s it in a nutshell.

6. Messing up grammar... all the time.

When you just can’t figure it all out. It’s just not an easy task to remember every single rule for every single word or phrase. It’s simply not going to happen, so you give on grammar.

7. Not being completely fluent in either language.

Whenever someone says that it’s really cool to be fluent in two languages… you feel you might as well answer, “Yo no know” (without Spanglish, it means, I don’t know). You can usually partake in simple conversations in two different languages, but when it comes to more than that you’re dead meat.

8. Autocorrect. Period.

The keyboard settings never comply with the language you need at the moment. You’re trying to write “estornudo” and it switches to “is tornado”. Dear autocorrect, I’m trying to text my mom the velocity of my sneeze, not of a tornado.

9. Not knowing how to answer the phone.

Is it “hello”, “hola”, “haló”, “yo”, or “what up”? I don’t know what to do in those very difficult, real-life situations! The struggle is very real and I’m confused now.

10. The Love-Hate Relationship.

So maybe, just maybe there are a few struggles with speaking two languages. But you know you would never trade the ability! Not only can you communicate in two of the most popular languages in the world, you're probably going to be more sought-after in the job scene. It's a win-win! Be (healthily) proud of your bilingual-ness.

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