When you speak two languages fluently, which one do you think in?
I met a girl from Ecuador in one of my Finance classes while I was in college, and asked her about that. She said that mostly it was in English, while she was in America, but that it went back to Spanish when she went home. The one sticking point for her, though was numbers. She had to think of the numbers in Spanish, or she couldn't mathematically manipulate them. I sometimes wonder if the relationship between ones primary language and doing math is universally true.
Tangentially, David interviewed Val Prieto recently. Val runs Babalu Blog, and is a talented writer. I praised his excellent Revolutionary Oil Lamps piece a couple months ago.
The whole interview is worthwhile, but there was one passage that caught my eye:
4. What experience made you realize that you had a special affinity for language? (Did that happen in Spanish or English?)
I don't know if I ever had one experience that defined my affinity for language. It may have been the fact that when I was young, I had to speak Spanish at home and English in the outside world. It was very difficult as during conversations one word or two from the other language always sneaked in. I guess that's where I began to view the words I was speaking or thinking written out in my mind, spelled out in both languages. (yes, I am a freak, so what?) It is a little bothersome. Sometimes I will be talking or writing or blogging in English and there will be one feeling or situation or whatever that can be described absolutely perfectly in Spanish. Same thing happens when using Spanish. When speaking, I trip over this alot. I guess you can say that I speak perfect Spanglish.
As Evil Glenn would say: Hmmm...
I don't suppose anyone knows of any academic studies or anecdotal experiences that shed more light on this topic?
posted by Harvey at 11:37:32 PM permalink HOME