Sometimes, I have weird language etiquette issues, and maybe some of you readers can relate. For example, sometimes, I end up making plans with students to go out outside of class. We speak English in class, but what are we supposed to speak at the bar? I think some of them are hoping I'll speak English so they can (a) get more practice or (b) look cool and worldly, but they're too embarrassed to initiate it. But then I know there are some that don't like the mental fatigue that comes with speaking a foreign language for long periods of time, and they prefer Portuguese. But I never know who's who!
Then there's the situation of when I meet people who tell me things like, "Oh, I lived in New Zealand for two years." So their English is probably really strong, but they're still talking to me in Portuguese. Should I try speaking to them in English? Will they be excited to show their stuff, or will they feel pressured to speak perfectly?
I usually just default to Portuguese because, well, we're in Brazil.
I've been in a couple of other weird language situations. When I went back to California in February, I met up with friends Rita and Thiago, a couple who were my students and who Alexandre and I ended up becoming really close to. Coincidentally, they're studying and working at a university really close to my grandma's house, so we went out one day. What did we speak? Portuguese! Of course, we had a lot of English words mixed in that they'd picked up (terms like "landlord" and "toll road"), but my logic was that it was 2 against 1 and that they were probably tired from having to speak English all the time.
But I think the biggest language mindf*%^ was when Lizbeth, her husband, and their friend came to visit us here at the beach town. Lizbeth is Mexican and lives in Texas, but she lived here in Brazil with her husband for a while. Her husband is Brazilian. So we had the three languages to choose from. The more alcohol we drank, the more of a mess it became, though we defaulted to Spanish to help out Lizbeth's Mexican friend.
|I miss you, Lizbeth!|
I'm kind of babbling, but I want to know what you guys do! I know a lot of readers are in relationships with people with whom they do not share the same native language. Have you learned your partner's native language? Which one do you speak more? Do you mix them constantly, or are we the only weird ones?
And what about the kids? If we ever have any, I will groom them to be perfectly bilingual. Sometimes I want kids solely for that reason. But I want to know how readers with different language situations are raising their kids. What do you speak with them? What do they speak at school? Do your kids mix up the languages? (FYI: If they do, let them! Please don't listen to the Brazilian news reports that say not to teach your kids a second language!!! They'll grow out of the mixing and will be better for it!)
In other news, I'm running out of things to write about in this here blog. So ask me some questions, and maybe I'll answer them.
See? So many comment options for you! Get to typin'!