10 Things Monolingual People Will Never Understand 14

1. Wanting to learn a language for no reason whatsoever

Yes, I’m learning Haitian Creole. No, I’m not going to Haiti. And I’m not married to a person from Haiti. And I’m not working with people from Haiti. I just like the sound of their language! 

2. That feeling when you walk into a language bookshop

And it’s like walking into a sweet shop as a child. It’s magic.

3. That feeling when you’re watching a foreign film and you spot a mistake in the subtitles

They always mistranslate X – they should know better!

4. The urge to buy new language textbooks all the time even if you know you’re not going to use them

It’s always good to be prepared – just in case you need to find out something about Hungarian grammar…


5. The urge to follow strangers around just because you want to listen to their language for a little bit

And they won’t think you’re creepy at all!

6. That feeling when you manage to use a newly learned phrase in a conversation and get complimented on it

Because you tried so hard!

7. That there’s no such thing as a difficult language – there are only languages that you haven’t learned yet

8. That feeling when you tell somebody how a borrowing should really be pronounced

It’s not ‘caffay’!

9. Accidentally speaking a foreign language to people who speak your native language

Because you’ve got too many foreign words in your head!

10. That feeling when somebody asks you to say something in a foreign language

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  • Kirsten Johnson

    Loved this 🙂 I agree 100%! One question- should #8 say “a borrowed word” instead of “a borrowing”?

  • ToGusDS

    hahaha #5 Happens to me all the time 😀

  • Hehe, I like your list.
    #9 happens a lot at our work as we are a multi language team. Often enough I notice that I’m speaking another language to those who I share my native language with.
    #10 Oh yeah. That weird moment when you suddenly don’t know anything anymore in the language requested. Happend most, when I lived abroad and told someone I’m from Germany. 😀

  • I do #5 a lot when travelling. A LOT.

    • Who doesn’t? 😉

      • Julia Reed

        I have a little bit the opposite. It happens to me in my native city. I’m just walking down the streets as usual, but if I bump into German-speaking people, I go crazy 😀 Sometimes it’s really awkward, but I cannot stop. The excitement and curiosity win 🙂

        Anyway, thanks for such great and uplifting post, Agnieszka!

  • Hey Agnieszka, how about changing your voice tone when switching to another language 🙂

    • That’s a good one – such a strange thing but it happens to me a lot! 🙂

      • ToGusDS

        haha yes, it’s a challenge to find out every language they use 😀

  • flootzavut

    Bwahahahahaha this is so accurate on all counts!

  • Vanda Rosignoli

    that is soooo true…

  • Foreigners pay different pricing in traditional market in Ho chi minh city,Vietnam. If you can speak Vietnamese there,you just pay the same pricing as local residents’. Anyone who likes to enjoy this kind of praise ?

  • 5th – I have thought I’m strange, but it turned up I’m normal. how great!