QUOTE

How to Use Bilingualism Against Your Spouse

We needed to break a $20. “I’m going to go and buy a chocolate,” Billy told me.

I looked at him expectantly, fully anticipating him to end with his favorite form of chocolate: “shake.”

When he didn’t, I followed up. “A chocolate what?”

That’s when he gave me attitude. (It’s my blog, but I’m completely unbiased…) “Um… a chocolate….?” He looked at me condescendingly… (or possibly amused… it’s hard to say).

“Um… a chocolate what?” I responded with an equal “you-are-a-crazy-person” tone.

“You don’t know a chocolate?” he asked me, definitely full-fledged mocking at this point.

Well, two can play at that game. And I have an advantage… I know English. “No one says just chocolate in English,” I assured him. “Chocolate is not a noun. You need a noun! It’s an adjective!” Because every rational argument involves dramatic (and inaccurate) references to the parts of speech.

“Okay,” he backed down. “I guess I’m getting a chocolate bar.”

Ah,” I confirmed with exaggerated clarity. Ah yes, the rare, yet infamous candy bar. I know that of which you speak.

After the brief errand, he returned home and sat down to munch on his candy bar. “You should write a blog about that,” he told me sweetly. “You know, like about the word chocolate.”

Awh, man.

“Well….” I confessed. “I may be wrong that no one ever uses the word ‘chocolate.’ I may have just been confused and then annoyed.” [Insert sweet smile and batting eyelashes here.]

He, of course, responded with humor and grace, and it was a ridiculous dispute that quickly wrapped up with the shaking of heads and shared laughter.

I’m sure you’ve never pretended to not comprehend what your spouse was saying. You’re not like that. It happens to us occasionally. Of course, now that I think about it, I usually do believe Billy when he says he doesn’t understand. Maybe he’s just tricking me!

So, seriously, has bilingualism (or just plain selective translation) ever infiltrated a disagreement?

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9 comments

  1. I don't think it was the lack of "bar"...it was the addition of "a." Had he been going to get chocolate you would have understood, right? ...Then again, I was a hot, crazy mess my entire pregnancy, so an 'a' here, or a 'bar' there may not have made any difference to me! :)

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  2. Oh, P.S. I love that Billy suggested that you write a blog about it, that you did write an entry about it, and that you mentioned his suggestion in said blog entry.

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    1. Haha. He loves to help me think of ideas. I'm grateful for that support! :)

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  3. Haha I love this! I'm American and my boyfriend's Chinese, and we both speak English and Mandarin. At first I thought because of the language barrier, it would be harder to say cute/romantic/touching things to each other, but this is not the case. My boyfriend says because we have 2 languages, "we doubled our bandwidth!"

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    1. That's awesome. I should really cut Billy a lot more slack since he has double the bandwidth as I sit on my monolingual high horse! :) So glad you shared - thanks for commenting!

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  4. Hah, we both speak English and we still don't understand each other! Perhaps you know of what I speak? Brian talks in Brian language and being completely opposite personalities I do not speak Brian very well yet...

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    1. LOL. "Brian language." I love that!

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  5. Ha ha! My Danish husband used to frequently accuse me of misunderstanding him on purpose! When I corrected him too much, he just switched to Danish, which infuriated me! Now I speak Danish fluently, so that doesn't work, but I learnt the important, humbling lesson of learning a new language and not always getting it right. There's a lot more grace between us, and now we use all our best language correcting skills on our poor, unsuspecting, bilingual kids :)

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    1. I hope one day I can mock my children in multiple languages. It's on my bucket list! :) Thanks for commenting!

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