Fun fact: English wasn’t my first language. Now to be fair, I didn’t really speak words until I was around 2.5 years old (I ahhed and ooohed my way through life for way too long), but when I did start, it was fluent Kannada. Kannada is the South Indian language that my family speaks and my parents did a wonderful job of teaching it to my sister and I. Most of my relatives in India can understand English, but it is much easier to communicate with them in Kannada, so I’m incredibly grateful that I grew up with the language. Anyway, sorry for the tangent. When I did start speaking English, it was a mixture of the two languages…and so the clash began.

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 11.44.03 AM

Unfortunately I can’t read or write Kannada, so I hope that Google is right on this one

 

I absolutely love languages. I love that people across the world have such unique ways of communicating the same things, but at the same time can express certain things that are individual to a certain language or culture. For that reason, I’ve always wanted to learn new languages, but let me tell you—sometimes it can be really confusing. I think more often than not, I get my languages mixed up. In middle and high school there were countless times when I accidentally responded to my Spanish teacher in Kannada. When I’ve gone to India, I’ve definitely spoken to my family in Spanish (which elicited a lot of confusion from the adults and a lot teasing from my cousins). This year, I started taking Hindi and the mixing of languages has caused a little embarrassment. Just last week, I responded to my Hindi teacher in Spanish, then attempted correcting to Hindi but ended up saying it in Kannada, and finally just giving up and saying I didn’t know what I was saying in English (for that very reason I was terrified of my Hindi Oral Exam but thankfully I kept my mind in one language).

298663_10151102839998759_1030060209_n

Throwback to childhood ft. the cousins that make fun of me now when I speak the wrong language (I’m the one eating her wrist)

 

Adding a language has definitely made the clash even more prominent. I have to be especially careful in Hindi because I don’t know enough vocabulary to create complete sentences, so I automatically want to switch into Spanish or Kannada to fill in the blanks. Though I feel more comfortable in Spanish, I still have the urge to fill in some blanks with English…so it can be quite a challenge. But while sorting through languages is extremely confusing, it has also been incredibly interesting in terms of understanding how languages have their own beauty in expressing ideas differently. I think it’s so cool to understand how sometimes it’s easier or carries more meaning to say something in Spanish than English, or vice versa (I know, I know…dork alert). Learning languages has been and will continue to be an extremely rewarding and exciting experience for me and I can’t wait to start learning more. But in the mean time, here’s to hoping I’ll get better at sorting through them!