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Do you mix and mingle your languages too?

A multilingual mélange may not look pretty. Yet it can be useful.

I don’t mean you should translate in your head before you say something in English — that slows your speaking down too much.

Nor should you draft your writing for work in one language and then translate it into English — that makes your emails and reports sound stilted and the flow won’t be natural.

But brainstorming in all your languages does make sense.

So does multilingual list making, note taking and journal writing

My shopping and to-do lists are a blend of English, German and French.

As are the notes I take at talks and seminars or when an idea for a future Trunk pops into my mind.

In my travel journals, I might start off in English, continue in German and suddenly a French expression crops up followed by another English turn of phrase.

In fact, my lists, notes and journals look like those text messages we send to our multilingual friends.

Why is this mash-up useful?

Because it’s a simple way to keep up all your languages.

You’re painlessly recycling the common words and phrases you need daily.

You’ll notice the words you’re missing in a language and be challenged to finally learn them.

And this mixing and mingling seems to make it easier when it’s time to write in only one language. As writing becomes a habit, there’s less hesitation and more confidence.

My advice for everyday writing:

Go with the flow and jot down the word or phrase in whatever language comes fast and first.

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© Christina Wielgolawski