Sunday, April 25, 2010

Parliamo Italiano? Espanol? Deutsch?

Question: if you were fluent in 5 different languages (and we’re talkin' totally fluent), what would determine which language you would speak in at a given time? With the Swiss, they are all proficient in a number of languages, so I am wondering which ones they choose to speak in, and why? I overheard a couple of different conversations when I was there, and it seemed like they switched through languages at random. As I really have no idea what it would be like to be so amazingly multi-lingual, I’m curious as a kitten about how it works. What language do they think in, dream in? How are they taught so many languages as babies? Jeez, how do their parents do it? Hmm, tricky business, these childhood geniuses.

1 comment:

  1. The only Swiss I met that can speak all of the languages in their country as well as English are the German Swiss (the French Swiss know some English, and in my experience the Italian Swiss don't never know anything other than Italian). All the German Swiss I know fall back and think in Schweize-Deutsch, which is sort of a bastardization of French and Italian into German anyway, so maybe that's your answer? They think in some crazy combination of every language they know and that's why they're incomprehensible to the rest of us?