jeudi 5 mai 2011


The bilingual blog is not something I am comfortable with.
The bilingual blog is something I am comfortable with.

Maybe it's time I addressed this issue. My issue.

When I was 5, we moved to Germany. I went into a local school and became fluent in german within a few months, to the point where local people had no idea I was french.
I learned spelling, counting, reading in both languages, german at school, homeschooling in french with my mother. There was a 4 year gap back in France at some point, but the rest of the time was thus spent in Germany.

I always was a chatterbox, so imagine, with 2 languages, the marvel of being able to say things with twice as much vocabulary as usual, to twice more people as usual, in great details, qualifying things with as many shades as you can?

I was not sure of myself, I was not very well dressed, I looked like a young boy, and when I met up with my french cousins in the summer, my pretty, fashionable, good-looking cousins, the fact that I spoke german would have been my only advantage in any peer competition and they made fun of it. Oh well. (It makes sense today but then it just made me sad.)

I moved back to France to go to university, studied... languages, worked, got married to a globetrotting french man and we started travelling towards english speaking countries. I lost my german fluency and became bilingual in english. Nowadays, german comes back to me after one or two glasses of champagne ;)

I read, write, think, speak in both languages, but I don't say the same things. I don't translate.
I learned to hug and say I love you to friends in english. In french it sounds touchy-feely and corny. Primary school was in english for 3 out of our 4 children. So I explain homework better in english. I reason with them in english. I yell at them in french.
I once broke up a day-long argument with my husband by simply switching to english. With one sentence it was over, I saw the understanding suddenly dawn on his face. Why had I not been able to get through to him in french?

For a cook, imagine having 2 stoves that you use everyday, often but for different things, and you know most people make do with only one, but you are a better cook with your 2 stoves, because you love to cook, you know them both perfectly and they don't do the same things. So okay, it takes a lot of space in your kitchen, sometimes it drives you mad to have this need to have both, but that's the way you like cooking best.

It makes me feel disconnected from some people I love, and I am afraid to sound arrogant to them. It makes me similar to some people I am less close to, but because we connect on this level it's sometimes easier to be around them.

So now, here I am with this blog, trying to say things, in either language. French for the funny, day to day things, english for introspection. Why is that? I know where it comes from, but I don't understand why I can't change that, be the same person in both languages, it's as if I needed to pull a mask on or off. I guess we all do it, to a certain extent, depending who we are with at the time. But hiding behind a language... I seem to have been doing it for a looooooong time.

Is it a good or bad thing?
I am now at this point where I am wondering whether I want to translate every single post in the other language or just keep going like this, at the risk of boring or frustrating some readers. It is not the first time I am addressing this issue, I need to find a way to make it work for this blog. Should I have 2 parallel blogs, posting every other day in each?

Even if you are only just visiting this post and happen to be reading this, I would really appreciate some feedback on this particular issue...

2 commentaires:

  1. Bonjour, je découvre ce blog ce soir et j'aime beaucoup son ton. Je partage ce plaisir de switcher d'une langue à l'autre. Française, j'ai vécu dans des pays anglophones et en ai gardé l'habitude de lire souvent (presque exclusivement ) en anglais. Je retrouve alors d'autres sensations, un autre répertoire qui enrichit ma vie et la complète aussi; si j'arrete l'anglais, je me perds un peu. L'autre langue est devenue aussi un peu la mienne, si familière. J'avais aussi eu ce rapport intense avec l'espagnol après avoir passé plusieurs mois en Espagne. Aujourd'hui, je vis en France, je n'ai pas besoin de ces autres langues dans mon quotidien mais elles sont en moi. Je trouve que vous décrivez bien ce qu'elles permettent, l'utilisation de plusieurs registres, c'est tout à fait ça. Continuez à écrire...

  2. Bonsoir,
    Quel bonheur de recevoir des encouragements! J'étais bien guillerette aujourd'hui après vous avoir lue et vous en remercie (big smile.)
    C'est bien comme vous dites, 'd'autres sensations'... On ne parcourt pas les pages d'un livre en anglais comme en français. On prend plus son temps, on 'zappe' moins?
    Merci encore,