Two of my good friends are originally from Mexico. They were born in the U.S., but their parents were born and raised in Mexico. My friends speak some Spanish at home, but usually they mix Spanish and English. One day I asked them why were they speaking in English and Spanish at the same time. One of them answered that they called it Spanglish and that was how they communicated all the time with their parents. I actually was present during a conversation between my friend and her parents. Although the mother could barely say a few words in English, and my friend only knew a little bit of Spanish, they could understand each other perfectly. When I was reading the part on page 4-5 of the Canagarajah reading where the mother communicates with her daughter while both of them are using Tamil and English, it reminded me of my friends. Canagarajah calls this a polyglot dialog (pg.5) and explains that it is enabled by receptive multilingualism, which is the principle that we can understand more languages than we speak. I think that my friends’ dialog with their parents in Spanglish can also be considered a polyglot dialog since both sides have a limited knowledge of one of the languages. While the parents can speak Spanish perfectly, their English is very limited and vice versa for the children. I think it is very interesting to see that many of the things that we are reading in class right now relate so much to our own personal experiences.
I have encountered a lot of movies, books and maybe art related to multilingualism, but I would like to start my first blog by sharing my personal experience with multilingualism. I was born and raised in Albania and moved to America at the age of thirteen. Back in my home country, I had a lot of exposure to foreign programs on television. That is how I learned Spanish and Italian. As a child I would watch movies in foreign languages, and after a while I started understanding the language and later on speaking it. I had some exposure to English in school, but I learned it properly when I came to America. I have realized that being multilingual helps me a lot not only in everyday life, but also in school. Some of the classes in which multilingualism has helped me are Anatomy, Biology and English.
According to the article of Canagarajah that we read, multilingualism separates languages, while translingualism goes beyond one single language. Relating to my own experience, I think multilingualism does not mark a separation between languages. On the contrary, I think knowing multiple languages helps in the learning of a new language. I speak Spanish, which has helped me so much in understanding Portuguese.