Sharing: Autistic Bilingualism

Lovely post by a lovely person!   I can relate to this.  Enjoy!   🙂 ❤

Autism and expectations

I’m bilingual

My first language is English. It’s what my parents spoke at home, my first words and thoughts were English. I learnt Welsh when I went to Ysgol Feithryn (nursery). I would have been about two. It carried on into a first-language Welsh primary school, and then a secondary school where English was not permitted even in the playground (making it the ironically rebellious act). I did my GCSEs in Welsh. I learned French and German and a smattering of Japanese through the medium of Welsh.

I remember a teacher once saying to me (and time passed means it will be a clumsy paraphrase), “It must be so hard for all you second-language-Welsh pupils, you have to translate everything in your head. You see a table, you thing ‘table’ and then look for the Welsh word, ‘bwrdd’ and then you can say it.”

I looked blankly at her. I…

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16 Comments

  1. That was really interesting. My first language was Cantonese, but now it’s exclusively Australian (English). I cannot communicate in Cantonese anymore. I cannot recall if I ever thought in Cantonese. I must have to have been able to communicate as a child. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Language vs Communication, vs Internal Processing.

    We live in a world where we hear a lot of people “talking” but
    they aren’t actually saying anything. My Mum is English, &
    at school they learned Latin. Growing up I learned English,
    so in English words are spelled differently, not by much, but
    also there are a lot of saying, riddles & rhymes, which have
    a lot of wisdom in them. When we moved to America I was
    really learning a whole new language, since the structure is
    completely different. I always have a laugh with my Mum
    since English people get to the point, & Americans take it
    as being “short” or rude. When we listen to some American
    “English” & think can you please just get to the point already?

    We laugh when we hear people LIKE use the word LIKE
    every other word, LIKE, needing to LIKE fill the dead space
    LIKE with LIKE you know LIKE… Not even using it to compare
    two different things. (as in a Simile) It seems more of a habit
    filler word to use rather than forming a complete thought before
    speaking out loud. So even communicating in the same language
    there can be a lot of non-communication & mis-communication from
    region to region, let alone translating another language.

    One useful ability would definitely to be omnilingual. To not
    only speak but understand all languages. This technology is
    already being fine tuned (as we see in these multinational
    conferences, where numerous different languages are being
    used & translated in real time). Wont it be great when we all
    have access to these tools for communication, it will truly
    open up our capacities for understanding without so much
    of what we say & hear being lost in translation or misconstrued.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh wow! I love hearing about your background 🙂 ❤ I hold the same viewpoint on the "like" epidemic. American English is like listening to dogs barking as opposed to British English lol. (And I'm even American lol). Omnilingualism would be TOO COOL!! ❤ I hope the technology for this is released in our lifetimes. With the speed of the world increasing to feverish heights as it is, I'm guessing that will likely happen. 🙂 ❤

      Like

  3. We’ve always talked about speaking “Ben” in our family. He’s using verbal language as best he can so we’ve learned the meanings of his scripts and non-verbal expressions.
    I’d never thought of it as bilingual….pretty cool. Great share! Thanks Dude 😘 💞🌻🌴 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so cool!! I had recognized something similar in our household but never brought it through the levels of consciousness enough to write about it. Rhi put it so succinctly, though; can’t improve upon perfection! 😉😘👍🏼👏🏼❣❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Each household really has its own language doesn’t it?
        Phrases, gestures, grunts, exclamations, not to mention
        non-verbal facial expressions, body positioning, etc it really
        is amazing the nuances of communication & what we pick
        up on when we have extended contact with someone or
        actually pay attention & make an effort to understand.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved it! I should show this to the psychologist who told me to drop Spanish and only speak to my recently-diagnosed 3-yr old in English. Why would I do that? Spanish is my first language and, autism or not, clearly understands both languages, even when she might be non-verbal. I speak two languages and understand two more, even when I don’t speak them. And I have been asked the same stupid question: Do you translate in your mind? No, I don’t. I grew up with both English and Spanish (as well as Italian, but I don’t speak it) and, even though Spanish is my mother tongue, I don’t need to teanslate in my mind.

    Thank you for sharing this piece. It gives me hope concerning my daughter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow! That’s so cool that you’re bilingual in Spanish and English! Your daughter sounds like a gem, and very bright 😊. Rhi is such a brilliant writer; I’m so glad her post helped you so much, and yes, I totally think the psychologist should see this 😁💙

      Like

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