We now know that it is possible to speak two languages fluently and switch from one to the other with ease, but the gnawing question is, Can we belong to two different cultures?
My mantra is that a language does not exist in a vacuum, that it does not float like a huge bubble drifting hither and thither in the air, feeding on itself, immune to everything, being just language, sounds with meanings, from which we derive “our” way of making ourselves understood by all others who share the bubble with us. So many languages, so many bubbles.
Read Related: The Benefits of Bilingualism
My mantra is that language is not just a set of sounds with meaning. A language is not only words, but history, climate, customs, art, science, gastronomy, lore, religion, prejudices, heroes, taboos, literature, music and lyrics… Culture in brief. All those ingredients, added to sounds with meaning, is the complexity that becomes a tough nut to crack when we try to master two languages at the same level. And we all err when we think that just words, phrases, idioms, idiotisms, phonetics, will make us learn a language and even pass off as a native. Sooner or later we will be found out.
My mantra is that language belongs to a people and to a culture, and my question, Can we belong to two languages and two cultures equally and jump from one to another with ease? makes more sense than we would care to admit because it is an uncomfortable question, perhaps even embarrassing since it might put in jeopardy the true essence of our being, the depths of our cultural belonging, our very roots. Can we have two roots from which we get the sap of our lives, of our thinking, of our allegiances?
Read the full article on Fox Latino News.
[Mamiverse’s Bilingual Plus is an online channel devoted to bringing parents and educators the bilingual learning tools they need in the form of digital picture books, sing-alongs, and free curriculum-based family activities.]