何毓琦的个人博客分享 http://blog.sciencenet.cn/u/何毓琦 哈佛(1961-2001) 清华(2001-date)

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To be Bilingual 精选

已有 4783 次阅读 2017-6-28 21:00 |个人分类:生活点滴|系统分类:海外观察

For new readers and those who request to be“好友 good friends”  please read my 公告 first
Many of us were brought up in one language (birth to16 in my case) and yet lived abroad for the longest time (68 years in my case)to be conversant in another language. By “bilingual”, I mean one can speak, read, and write fluently in both  languages. Literally, one has two different parts ofthe brain operating via SWITCHING and not by TRANSLATION. Of course, one still has to adopt one  language over another in daily use and in dominant thought. In my case  since 5/6 of my life was spent abroad, English has become my first language. I think and dream in English. Occasionally after months long stay in China I’ll dream in Chinese. At home, my wife and I converse in both Chinese and English whichever is more convenient for expressing our thought at the moment (she watches at lot more CCTV program such as “hundred scholar lectures” than I do.But she also had her undergraduate college study in the US). We also spoke nothing but Chinese to all three of our children during the first two years of their lives. As a result, all of them can converse and understand rudimentary Chinese Mandarin dialect even though none of them lived in China for long period. I’ll close this article with a quiz for my readers. Please guess what I do in Chinese to this date and never in English.

Note added 6/29/2107. For answers see comments 6 and 7 below.




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