Monolingual

Americans have such a reputation for being monolingual that sometimes people mistake me for non-American when they find out I know Russian.

“Wow, that’s so cool you know multiple languages!” someone said to me once.

“Thanks,” I said. After all, who doesn’t like to have their ego boosted like that?

“Do you ever mix up your languages?” she continued.

“Sometimes.” It’s true, I’ve accidentally inserted Russian words into English sentences and vice versa.

“Really, that’s so cool you’re bilingual. And it’s great you barely have an accent in English!”

I nearly burst out laughing at this last point. “Actually,” I said drily, “I’m a native English speaker. Russian is my second language.” To this day, I’m not sure what to think of the alleged slight accent I supposedly have in English.

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6 thoughts on “Monolingual

  1. So far only my American friends say I have a rather “British” accent. Not a word from British friends though…

    My Russian is so bad that it is not even possible to assign an accent to it. (Speaking of which, I’d better get going on studying if I plan to take that exam next year!)

    1. I’m sure your Russian isn’t too bad. We should practice on Skype!

      I’ve met a grand total of probably four Singaporeans in my life. Their accents weren’t really British, but their vocabulary and word choice were. 🙂

      1. You obviously haven’t heard Singlish, which is our local pidgin. It bears no resemblance to English, It makes no sense to native speakers and its economic use of words are well-suited to lazy or impatient people.

      2. I’ve heard of Singlish, but never heard it spoken. I assumed it meant English spoken in a Singapore-like accent. Apparently not!

  2. English-speakers tend to think I’m either Irish or Australian 🙂 I find it flattering that they think I’m a native English speaker 🙂 Funny story – back home in Finland I once had an argument with an intoxicated woman about my nationality. She was absolutely sure I was Russian even though I spoke completely fluent Swedish to her. I’m quite sure that I don’t have a Russian accent when I speak Swedish 😀

    1. OMG I really want to hear your accent now (I adore Irish and Australian accents). And that is funny about Swedish. Isn’t it your native language? That’s funny she thought you were Russian. 🙂

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