Sonntag, 1. November 2015

The struggles of a bilingual teenager

Hello, Hallo, Hola.

Since a young age I have been emerged into two languages. Living in England for most of my life since the age of 3 I went to primary and secondary school there. Parallel to that I have heard the Germany language, my spoken Germany wasn't perfect but I could get my way around alone.

For a long time I have always wanted to learn Spanish, so here I am in Spain learning Spanish. however not without some difficulties which was evident.

Foreigner Alert

A lot of people here are scared of me. Not of my person but of my lack of knowledge of their language. When they find out I don't speak Spanish they go from super nice to shocked to not interacting with me at all.

No hablo español 

Linked to the above point I find myself apologising for my lack of the language which on the contrary to above, makes people super understanding. When I go to a shop I explain, first that my Spanish isn't too good and they listen to me. It prepares them to listen. I thought maybe because they work there but I found that some react differently must just be a personality thing.

Forgetting [.......] is the best thing you can do

This I know this can happen to anyone but speaking another language accentuates this ... a lot! I start my sentence super confident and then in the middle of the sentence I forget the word I was going to use. The worst case scenario is I forget the work in every language and then I am stuck there, a sentence cliff hanger totally unintentional.

Which inner dictionary do I use?

 A tip for every language learner is the app "Leo" (German app but there are lots similar). It is basically a dictionary, with a spoken translation and all the verb conjugations, Being bilingual I sometimes have the problem I know the word in English. This means I need to translate the word to German so I can translate it into Spanish (ridiculously confusing). but another inner dictionary problem is that  sometimes the rules of sentence structure in Spanish follow the same way as in English and sometimes German. Great ! Fantastic!


the worst thing is, and this maybe not everyone will understand, but I do not enjoy not being able the think in the language I am speaking. It confuses me even more. I can think in German and in English no problems but when speaking Spanish I am thinking German and English at once. ARGH. My mum told me once that "When you can think in Spanish you have made it". When you start thinking in a language your no longer translating your communicating. It still a long way to go but it is possible.

What has help me, which I must admit is the phase: Fake it until you make it. I don't understand everything around me but I can often guess with the help of the words and phrases I know.

Tell me your language experiences in the comments. Can you relate ?

See you next week. Bis nächste Woche. Hasta siguiente semana.
Mind Ramble