The “not so intelligent” questions never stop with us bilinguals. One thing I’ve noticed though is that besides the “why are you white” and “do lions roam the street” questions I constantly get because of my South African background (read more in a previous post) , there are certain universal questions that ALL bilinguals seem to get asked.
I have taken the liberty to answer these questions in this post. I admit they may not be the kinds of questions that have me banging me head against the wall, but they are questions that we get asked ALL THE TIME.
So, my fellow bilinguals, struggle no more. If you hear these questions asked yet another time in your bilingual life, just send them this post and you’re done 😉 I will gladly take the bullet.
So, without further a due, these are the universally asked questions that I will try to answer the best I can for you:
- What Language Do You Think In?
Look, the point of being a true bilingual is having two mother tongues and yes, I know this is fascinating to you, but it really isn’t that mind blowing. If two languages are constantly in my head and you see me struggling being limited to just the one sometimes, it’s because the most comfortable for us is speaking both. It only comes to conclusion that we also think in both languages.This depends on the bilingual though, because some people may have grown up with a certain language and started thinking in it and therefore dominantly think in that language. But if you really do have a second mother tongue, I guarantee the second one will always pop up.
For me, the dominant language in my head is English. But this also has to do with what language I have been speaking that day/time. If I was surrounded by Greek, I will think more in Greek. This works vice versa.
- What Language Do You Dream In?
Refer to the above question. The only difference is it is a tad more of a mixture of both, depending on the people in the dream as well.
- Where Would You Rather Live/Which Country Do You Prefer?
Now, this one is a bit tricky because this really depends most of the time. If the bilingual in question is like me and feels like they have two homes and you know they love them both, then the answer is simple:Both.
I know this makes no sense, but as I explained in the “Two Homes, One Bilingual” post, you are constantly caught between the two. A part of you belongs to the one and another part to the other. You wish you could have them both because you are never fully satisfied or feel at home in just the one.
If this continues to not make sense to you, read the post I linked above where I explain it in detail.
I don’t know about you, but these are UNIVERSAL questions I see get asked to all bilinguals.
There, I answered them. I cannot answer them again because to be honest, I know you may mean well and are not asking me why I’m white which I truly appreciate, but it gets exhausting some times.
Oh and before I forget, STOP asking me to say things in my other language! Don’t wonder why I stare at you with the “I’m so over this” look when you keep asking me to “say something in English/Greek”.
Do you feel a little less confused now? Is there any other question you need an answer to?
My fellow bilinguals, is there any question that you always get that you want me to add to the list?