For most of my life I’ve been bilingual (trilingual if you count Bisaya and Tagalog as different languages). It never occurred to me that it was a special skill to have, a good percentage of the world’s population is bilingual, so it must be pretty common, right?
Most of the friends I’ve met online are from the States or some English speaking country like Australia. Sure there are a few from Singapore and Indonesia, but a majority are in the States. Pretty much all of these friends of mine in the States or Australia can only speak English. Now that I’ve spent some time talking to them quite a bit, it gets more and more apparent the difference is between being bilingual and not.
Just tonight, a few of us were in voice chat and every now and again, I would talk to someone here in the house, which means I would speak Filipino. I usually don’t mute my mic because we’re doing something in-game, so they hear me speak Filipino. One of my friends got fascinated by it and said it was really cool that I could speak another language. She’s from Australia and only speaks English but has a fascination with languages. Not just Filipino either, another person in our clan is French-Canadian and spoke French in call, which she really liked.
You know how, whenever someone wants to learn a language or just learn a few words of a language, the first thing they want to know is the bad words. There was another time a few months ago where another clanmate of mine decided to search for a list of Filipino bad words and read a bunch of them while another Filipino friend of mine and I were in the voice call. It was the most hilarious thing ever because of the pronunciation and every time she said one of them, she would ask us what it meant.
Another person would also joke around saying he was fluent and would speak a few simple phrases and stuff. It’s become kind of a joke because to date he is fluent in Filipino, Japanese, Chinese and a few others I can’t remember. Language and nationalities, in general, has become a joke in our clan. Whenever we get a new member and they tell us they’re from someplace and can speak some language, we always try to not just joke about it but compare and contrast the cultures. My Indonesian friend would sometimes say how she eats bugs, especially ants and spiders, and even though we find similarities between the Philippines and Indonesia, I can assure you that I will never eat ants or spiders, not even for a million bucks- well, ok, maybe for a million, but my point still stands. Being in a really diverse group really shows you how similar we are in a lot of ways, then as we kinda find more and more things out, we find those differences that are very stark.