Growing Up Bilingual: One or the Other

I think a common misconception about bilingualism is that you do everything in both languages. While it is true that most people who grown up bilingual CAN do most things in both languages, it doesn’t always mean that we do. From my personal experience, a big part of how I use language, was and still is, influenced by the world around me and the experiences I encounter in each. There are plenty of things I subconsciously choose to do in one language over the other. I thought today I would go over three topics where Spanish always seems to take over my brain even though I could just as easily execute them in English.

Nursery Rhymes & Songs

Growing up in a household where Spanish was the only language spoken, it only makes sense that any nursery rhymes or songs I heard for the first few years of my life were in Spanish. Even later on in life when I learned English nursery rhymes, I couldn’t see them as such. That memory of being put to bed and having my mom sing a song to me was and always will be connected to Spanish. So how does that affect me now? Well, I don’t have any kids of my own yet but I’ve come to notice that any time I am putting any of my friend’s babies to sleep I automatically start singing in Spanish. I don’t even think about it, it just seems natural. This has made for some pretty hilarious moments when I am in a room full of English speakers only and all of a sudden burst into Spanish songs. This is one of those quirks of being bilingual that I quite like because it makes me feel as though I carry a part of my mom with me when ever I sing them. If anyone wants me do a post of some of my favorites, let me know and I’d be happy to! ^^


Okay, okay, so I don’t ONLY curse in Spanish. So that in it of itself is not unique but there are two situations where I curse almost exclusively in Spanish. The first is whenever I am frightened or more specifically when someone or something unexpectedly scares me. This can be anything from someone popping up behind me to me spilling hot coffee all over my hand…like I did last week at work. ㅠㅠ My automatic response is to curse in Spanish. Keep in mind when I say curse I don’t mean very explicit words, more like strong exclamations of surprise…yeah, we’ll go with that. The second time this happens is fairly similar, it’s when I get hurt.To say that I am clumsy is quite the understatement and so this happens more often than I care to admit. I really am not too sure where this habit came from as I never cursed in front of my mom/family and I still don’t. Perhaps it was a way to express myself without fear of others understanding? Given, these days a lot more people I encounter speak some degree of Spanish and could potentially understand me, but in most situations the person is completely oblivious to what I just said because they are too busy laughing at how easily spooked I am…


I grew up in a fairly religious family who attended service multiple times a week. These were always in Spanish and because of this, religion became something I naturally associated with the language. The biggest quirk that came out of this is that I can’t pray in English. Well, I can, but it’s uncomfortable to do so. It feels more rehearsed and less sincere if I try it in English and I just end up switching to Spanish. I know this one is not really a big deal because 99% of the time I’m the only one who would even know this but I always found it fascinating how something could have such strong ties to language.

Okay, those are all for now! ^^ For all you bilinguals out there, do you have certain things you do more so or completely in one language over the other? If so, please share in the comments!



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