Saturday, September 5, 2015

An Open Letter to My Bilingual Friends

Hello again! Class started this week, but we only meet once or twice a week and we haven't been assigned anything yet, so there's not really much to report back on. I think it's going to be a fun semester though.

This is a blog post I wanted to put off. I wanted to wait until the middle of the semester or so. But I really couldn't put it off any longer. I've been thinking about this post, writing draft after draft to make sure it's perfect, and I think it needs to be said.

So without further ado, here is an open letter to my bilingual friends:

Don’t apologise for your accent. Your accent is not a sign of weakness, though you oftentimes think that it is. Your accent is a sign that you’ve dedicated years to learning a language so you will be able to communicate with those outside the small parameters of the world you grew up in; it’s a sign of courage.

Squad goals
Don’t apologise for the times you make mistakes, the times you put words where they don’t belong or leave words out completely. These are times of learning, both for you and for me. Your grammatical errors offer an insight to your native tongue, and, instead of apologising, I wish you would explain to me how it would be said in your language because it can often explain why you said what you did in English. I know that the times someone corrects your English or you catch yourself making errors feels embarrassing, but I wish you wouldn’t view these things as embarrassing. You’re learning, I’m learning, and learning is never anything to be ashamed of.

Don’t ever for a second think that I think you’re inferior to me or less intelligent than me because of your English speaking abilities. I know that you’re incredibly smart (you’re smart enough to learn a second language, obviously!), so you never need to try to explain yourself to me.

Words cannot express how much I love you and your presence in my life. Thanks to you, I feel as though I have learned more about the world in two weeks than I have in my entire life.

I only ask one thing of you: that you are never ashamed of your English proficiency – I promise you that it’s great.