photo: Giphy

If you’re bilingual, then you’re oftentimes met with the occasional “you’re so lucky to know two languages” comment from people. They’re right: Having an additional language under your belt can be incredibly beneficial and apparently it can also change the architecture of your brain. Psychologist Judith Kroll studies bilingualism at Pennsylvania State University and looks at the cognitive consequences of speaking multiple languages. When making a decision of what words to say, Wired reports, “Kroll thinks this constant cognitive challenge that bilinguals face may be responsible for an observed improvement in what’s called executive function, or the ability to filter out unnecessary information and make decisions” — a.k.a. the brain gets stronger.

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Monolingual people find us fascinating — because let’s be real, being able to connect with other people in their native tongue is beautiful — but they don’t see our daily frustrations. A lot can get lost in translation when you’re a master in one language and not the other. Hell, it can get messy even if you’re mediocre in both languages — the struggle does not discriminate your strength in one or both languages. And as someone who speaks English and Spanish, you start to wonder if you're trilingual because you’ve become fluent in Spanglish. So here’s nine things bilingual people can all relate to.

Let us know any things you do because you’re bilingual in the comments below!

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You think of the word in one language but can’t translate it to the other

This is one of the most frustrating feelings ever.


People always want you to translate

As soon as they find out that you know another language, they want you to translate every text and random word that pops into their heads at that moment.


Switching languages mid-sentence

Maybe it’s because you’ve been talking to mami for too long, but this happens more times than you think it does.



Phones just don’t get it.


Misspelling/mispronouncing words

Where does the accent go? Why are phone and knife pronounced the same? Grammar is so hard when you’re flipping between two wildly different languages.


Actively choosing when to turn on/off your second language

Is it appropriate to pretend to only know English when someone assumes you know Spanish and they only talk to you in that language? What if there’s a creep trying to hit on you and you hit them with the legit, “No hablo Inglés”? A blessing and a curse, I tell ya.  


Using the wrong words because of the other language

For the longest time I didn’t know the difference between lime and lemons, because Spanish uses the word limón for both. Don't even get started on the word carne.


Being told that your proficiency in one of the languages sucks

Not to be petty, but if this is coming from someone who only knows one language, just walk away.



Okay, let’s be real. If we want to share juicy stories and don’t want the general population to know, we’ll turn on the other language oh so quick!