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Poll: Do you mix languages when talking?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Local time: 07:11
SITE STAFF
Oct 18, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you mix languages when talking?".

This poll was originally submitted by Natalia Pedrosa. View the poll results »



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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 16:11
German to English
+ ...
Depends on situation Oct 18, 2011

I speak English to my children, who may reply in English or German. I use german basically to talk with my partner, but if I can't think of word, I'll use English, and may slip entirely into English for a while. Sometimes we speak English with each other and then the converse applies. With other people, I may use the off English expression if I can't think of the German term, or if there isn't really one at all, but only with people who I am pretty certain will understand me.

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Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:11
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Other: Oct 18, 2011

Yes, often, but not with everybody.

My husband and I mix French and Russian all the time.
This can happen too with Russian friends living in France.
Otherwise, no, I usually don't mix.


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Leon Ivanihin  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:11
Member (2011)
English to Russian
Yes, sometimes Oct 18, 2011

We like to play in languages at home. Using words of different languages we know as weird mix.
Another 'game' is using grammar for one language and roots from another one.
Besides we travel a lot and sometimes catch some phrases from journeys. Then these phrases live their own life, making our everyday dialogs more funny.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
All the time Oct 18, 2011

Most of my friends and colleagues are functionally bilingual and anyway it's fun, and some things just sound better or more natural in one language or the other.

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norwegianblue  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:11
English to Polish
+ ...
I try to be consistent Oct 18, 2011

Our home it tri-lingual, and because of the kids we have to be really consistent when using languages, just so they learn to use each properly and aren't confused as to which is which. I speak Polish to the kids, my older daughter and her step-father (my current partner) speak German, my younger daughter and her father (my current boyfriend) speak English. Gets quite wild sometimes. But it works, and the kids use languages without problems, don't switch, aren't confused.

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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 16:11
English to French
+ ...
Other Oct 18, 2011

I used to when growing up, as my parents and siblings all spoke our "home language" and what I call my mother tongue.
I did it at uni with fellow students, mostly for fun, and a while with my husband who was fluent in English and French. He made me aware I was switching or mixing and I started separating languages, speaking one OR another.

As a young boy, my son did not like me to speak anything but our mother tongue to him, even though he would use other languages with foreign friends.


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Natalia Pedrosa  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:11
English to Spanish
+ ...
I do but... Oct 18, 2011

I mix languages by speaking Spanish or Catalan and then adding English phrases that come in very handy when I have to complain about some work-related issue. Were I go about speaking English as I would like to, they'd probably think I am losing it, which on the other hand might be a bit true.

Cheers to all!


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isabel murillo  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:11
English to Spanish
+ ...
All the time Oct 18, 2011

I mix Spanish, Catalan and French at home all the time, plus English as my main source language at work.

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patriciacharnet  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:11
English to French
+ ...
no Oct 18, 2011

never - strange as it may seem I've never done that - however switching rapidly between languages when I used to translate what the French family said to the British one and vice-versa, I happened to occasionally get the wrong language i.e. started speaking English to the French family, but only when big family reunions happened.

Otherwise never - very strange - does not happen to me but I've seen lots of people doing it


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Louise Péron  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
English to French
Sometimes Oct 18, 2011

Being a French native living in France with a British boyfriend, it does happen sometimes... Mostly when I'm tired.

I've noticed I switch languages a lot when writing to-do lists or shopping lists, am I the only one doing it?


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Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:11
German to English
+ ...
No, not if I can help it. Oct 18, 2011

If I am thinking in Portuguese, but speaking in English, I make a point of sticking to English, and moreover, using the *correct English expression* and some dreadful so-called equivalent of the Portuguese.
Occasionally though, I seem incapable to eliminating French or German intonation from my speech in English. When thinking to myself, however, any combination of the above is possible, as it is with sleep-talking.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:11
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Force of habit Oct 18, 2011

When I used to work for the USAF we even had our own language, a combination of American and German. After work it was a challenge not to use our own "lingo", and many misunderstandings had occurred with non-English speaker.

Sometimes I use the word in the language that first comes to mind, opening doors for confusion and sometimes for worse. But normally I tried not to mix languages, especially since 3 of them are spoken by only a few people here in Europe.


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Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro
Germany
Local time: 16:11
Member (2011)
English to German
+ ...
Happy three-lingual family Oct 18, 2011

I used to be very strict when speaking with my son - he is growing up trilingual and I wanted to make sure that he doesn't get confused, so I only spoke German to him. However, this changed when I realized that he could differentiate between languages well and when we started to have many English speaking guests. Now we can have a conversation mixing English, German and Portuguese phrases and sometimes words.
When we visit the German grandparents, my son manages to speak 100% German and at school he speaks 100% Portuguese, so I guess it is fine.

I mix many Portuguese and a few German words into my English when I talk to my husband and know that he doesn't know the proper English word for something. We call this "Terlamontenglish", after the place where we live and which might be the only place on planet earth where this particular type of creole is being spoken.

Occasionally, I ask my English speaking guests for the names of a few things that I don't know in English (and therefore call them by their German or Portuguese names). But there seems to be a few words that I always forget again, especially kitchen utensils (I wonder why).


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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:11
Hebrew to English
Not really but.... Oct 18, 2011

I have done in the past usually to annoy people or purposefully obscure what I was saying from someone.
On one occasion because I didn't particularly like the person (and I knew they didn't like me) so I knew it would antagonize them if I switched to Hebrew, and once or twice to bitch about someone in their presence without them knowing. That's always a fun excuse to code-switch


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