Special “foreigner treatment”: please no! I’m a heritage speaker.

Usually, I don’t want to attract attention to my not being a local by asking for special treatment when I am in a Russian speaking country. Because as soon as I tell...
People communicate online in different languages communication concept

Why It’s Smart to Be Bilingual: The brain’s real super-food may be learning new...

A recent article in Newsweek, Why it's smart to be bilingual, shows some positive and negative elements of multilingualism. I didn't know that those who know more than one language may have a reduced vocabulary...

When being multilingual is a burden

What you’re about to read may seem counter-intuitive.  Sometimes, being able to speak more than one language can be more of a burden than a benefit.  You might ask:  “How so? Isn't the ability to communicate across...

Hiding behind a multilingual mask

Being surrounded by various languages at the UN and then being forced to speak Portuguese, I had to think about what to do with my language knowledge and stop hiding.  United Nations, “It’s your world”...
Languages Signpost Meaning English Chinese Spanish And French, how to learn a new language fast

Primero Hay Que Aprender Español. Ranhou Zai Xue Zhongwen.

A quiz: If a person who speaks three languages is trilingual, and one who speaks four languages is quadrilingual, what is someone called who speaks no foreign languages at all? Answer: an American. Primero Hay Que...
Russian heritage speaker

Multilingualism: Being a Russian heritage speaker in the former USSR

  Professor François Grosjean, the Emeritus Professor of psycholinguistics at Neuchâtel University, Switzerland is a specialist in bilingualism, multilingualism and heritage language speakers. Last week, he wrote a blog piece, Portraying Heritage Language Speakers: Heritage...
Adult students studying together

How languages change the psychology of multilinguals

Steve Kaufmann, of LingQ, invited Tetsu Yung and I on his podcast to discuss how we change psychologically when we speak in different languages and the politics of learning certain languages. For years, I've felt...
Eating mutton fat soup for breakfast

Being in limbo: Difficulties of a Russian heritage language speaker going to a Russian...

The limbo land of being a heritage language speaker is one I’ve been inhabiting most of my life. It’s only recently that I’ve known the term “heritage speaker”, referring to those of us who...

Will there be more military linguists when homosexuals can serve in the military?

As I was driving home and listening to the news on the radio about the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell", the military's ban on homosexual military service people, I realized that this may...
english as a second language

Being multilingual: Is my language my homeland?

(My country is the Portuguese language. Fernando Pessoa) The idea of feeling an affinity with a language is not foreign to me given that I speak seven languages and have studied ten. In fact, my...

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