Multilingual Writing

I was raised speaking English and Spanish. I speak both languages as a native speaker except that with English, I have a slight accent. Funny thing is that I spoke only English until I was 7, then I went to live in Mexico where I learnt Spanish. Much later on, in my 20’s, I came to the Netherlands and learnt Dutch (which I also speak with an accent).

I think in all three languages. I usually count in Spanish, yet when I count past 1000 I switch to counting in English and I have no idea why. I love learning new languages. I know the basics of French and a little more of Italian. I feel like I’m showing off by explaining my language proficiency but I’d be lying if that wasn’t the case. However, speaking three languages and knowing two more can get a bit complicated.

On the tip of my tongue
If, for example, I’ve been speaking English for two weeks straight then I tend to have difficulties when I speak Spanish. I forget words and expressions. It all depends on which language I’ve been using the most. The more languages I know the more superficial my skills become, at least that’s how it feels sometimes. I do wish I could speak all of these languages 100%, but I can’t, not really.

However, knowing languages is really, really good for writing. Sometimes I use expressions from Spanish when writing in English, making my writing sound original. Another advantage is that it helps me write characters with accents.

Unfortunately, there are words that sound so beautiful in one language but not so nice in another. It’s frustrating not being able to write the word you mean because it wouldn’t make sense.

Invaluable
All in all, I love the fact that I can speak multiple languages and that I can write in them too. I wouldn’t be me if I couldn’t speak at least two languages. My next language project is learning a language that is very much out of my comfort zone, Japanese or Sign Language sound like good options. I wonder how they will influence or affect my writing.

I really believe that the more languages I know the more I will understand the world around me, invaluable to me since it is what I rely on to write.

Sofia

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2 thoughts on “Multilingual Writing

  1. There are areas in my life that I only know in one language. For example, I spent my pregnancy in English and I can easily articulate everything regarding labor, midwifes and umbilical cords as long as you don’t ask me in Spanish. I also prefer English for discussing or arguing with my husband because anything we say to each other sounds easier or more impersonal… funny!
    Anyway, I would love to read more about you and your writing process! Will you be sharing some short stories?

    1. I also argue with my boyfriend in English it really does have an objective quality to it. Thanks for commenting and the encouraging words

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