Mine, mine alone, and I’m not an expert but I saw a post again that irritated me by assuming that people did things wrong by doing what I did daily and had to say something for my own peace of mind.
I took French and Spanish in school. I’m an English speaker by birth but I’ve wanted to learn other languages since I was a kid. Mostly French, but I once had grand ideas about knowing them all. I was going to take my French and Spanish and learn all romance languages. I learned a bit of Dutch because of the guy I was dating. I taught myself some Irish and some Italian for stories. I tried hard to learn Ojibwe/Chippewa as I am of that descent.
Now I’m older and I know I won’t be learning everything, but here’s what I know from my experience…
I was at a point where I would and did think in other languages. I would mix all three of them in the same sentence even though I knew the words in English. I would dream in the other languages.
Even today I will randomly ask “ou est mon -?” Like with my phone, even though the last word is almost always in English. I speak bits and pieces of things in other languages no matter what I’m doing or who I’m with, and yes that can be embarrassing but just because I’m around all English speakers doesn’t mean I won’t mangle some French or Spanish in there.
I am someone who doesn’t use bad language as a rule, but believe me, I abused the heck out of knowing the curse words in my other languages, especially in French at work, I swear.
I read a lot of French in the past, sight translating it. I went crazy and collected French music and sometimes randomly sing it.
My friend is learning Spanish to communicate with her step-mother-in-law, and it has sparked a reawakening of both languages in my mind, not just Spanish. I’m mixing in more words in thoughts and spoken sentences than I have in years.
I find it irritating to be told people don’t act like I did myself and that shouldn’t be in the story. I lived it like this, so it shapes my writing. Maybe I’m not the most popular example, but I’m not invalid, either. I exist. I did this. So people do it.
My point with languages like everything else is that it’s unique to the individual. Someone else’s experience as a bilingual/trilingual will be different from mine, and I accept that. I just wish I wasn’t seeing a very popular post going around telling me what I lived was wrong and telling thousands of writers not to write like I lived.