We love the English language. It’s great. But for language lovers, an affair is inevitable. You’re out on the town one night when suddenly, your waiter speaks to you in a beautiful French accent. The next thing you know, you’re buying a one-way ticket to Paris and sporting a beret – it all happened so fast. Behind all of its glitz and glam, the plight of a language lover is sometimes neurotic, often loveable, and always hilarious. If you can own up to these 8 crazy habits, we will too.
1. Going out of your way to meet people whose accents you overhear in public.
Her voice cuts through the loud, Midwestern chatter of the crowd. She’s talking about croissants, and she’s pronouncing the word so accurately. Although she’s across the room, you will find her, and you will become her new best friend. You grab a tray of drinks from a passing waiter, and defiantly make your way across the room – visions of cross-cultural friendship dancing in your head.
2. Adopting other languages’ swear words.
English curse words are just so crass. But to curse your flat tire in Spanish is so much more high-brow; poetic even. Your friends have to use Google Translate to decode the insult you just threw at them, which grants new longevity to your intended message. Added bonus: when you hear people talking about you in a second language, you know when they are calling you a you-know-what.
3. Lying about where your grandparents are really from to score authenticity points.
“My grandpa was born in Ecuador.” No, your great-great-great grandpa was born in Ecuador, and he spoke better English than you do. There’s no shame in having a long legacy in the States, but little white lies about your family origins is somehow comforting while you practice rolling your “R”’s and increasing your tolerance for spicy foods. For now, if anyone asks, you have dual citizenship and are a direct descendant to General Juan José de Flores.
4. Setting every device you own to a different language.
You thought you were ready. You know how to say “Off” and “On” in a second language, and all the contacts in your phone will stay in English. After all, you mostly only call your mom and Pizza Hut. Oh, how you were wrong. You are now locked out of your phone, your tablet, your desktop computer, GPS, and your bank account. Swallow your pride and call your high school language teacher for help.
5. Mentally conjugating verbs when you're nervous.
For language lovers, this is the most powerful form of meditation available. During times of high stress and anxiety, forget yoga. True stability and relaxation comes from the mantra of conjugating the verb “to run” into present, past, past participle, and subjective tenses. Work that third eye, Mangos.
6. Mastering the art of using Spanglish, Frenglish, Englishese in your everyday life.
When you’re bilingual, you’re constantly thinking in two languages. The sun is not just the sun, its el sol. Your dog is not just a dog, he’s also your perrito. When you see the world through two different language lenses, you want to share the fun with those around you. And let’s face it; Spanglish – and all other language cocktails – is unbelievably adorable.
7. Ordering exotic dishes at restaurants solely because you can pronounce their names.
When your friends organize a group outing to a Japanese restaurant, it’s hard to hide your excitement. There will be no confusion over menu items. No asking the waiter for a translation. You are a human translator. From atop your high horse, you coach them through pronouncing the Japanese dish names, and navigate them through each item’s description. And as you order the most exotic and linguistically difficult item on the menu, they gaze at you in awe. They’re so lucky to have you.
8. Naming your pet Jean-luc or Chiquita Blonde instead of Fido and Spot.
Move over Rover, there’s a new sheriff in town; and his name carries great historical significance for an entire nation of people. We’re looking at you, Fidel the Dog. While Fluffy is a perfectly respectable cat name, why not go with something more inspired; like Gavroche – after that little boy in Les Misérables? As a bilingual, you’ve got twice the amount of choices, and double the opportunities to flaunt the fun, lovable, and slightly crazy language lover that you really are.