Doing The Thing

It is 430 in the morning, and I sit upright whilst my boyfriend sleeps, and my cat lounges — whilst typically glaring in the feline way –: one without a care in the world, and the other wondering why I am still awake.

It is the realisation that I have chosen two languages — Fine, fine. Nynorsk is a written variety of a language. Anyway, as I was saying: two languages — that I have no community to share. I discussed this last year as a defiant, fist up-raised rebel; however, I have these words in my head, these concepts to share, these colours to describe — I am currently obsessed with the fact that different languages divide the colour spectrum differently –, and I have no one with whom I can share it.

As I have mentioned previously, my boyfriend speaks Arabic. There are times where he misses it to the point when he calls his dearest friend to speak it. I can see his troubles — whether they be school, or the fact that I put my wet towel on the floor again — be lifted. That by expressing a part of him that exists beyond my English-based knowledge of him, he can relax.

Now, this feeling of mine obviously does not compare in one iota to the pain I am sure native speakers feel; nevertheless, I still wish to ask: how the hell do they do it? I get antsy when I have not spoken French in a few days, and I am an L2 learner.

[ L2, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a term in linguistics to define people that learnt a language (to whichever high level) after a period of native-acquisition…typically puberty. I started learning French in the throes of puberty. I suppose that it could, therefore, be an L1 (first language), but I do not feel that way. I lack a certain moyen de vivre en fraçais/way of French living. ]

How do natives deal with it? It reminds me of smoking. My Aunt Pat smoked packs a day when I was growing up. I remember, in my rude naïveté, asking her how it felt to try quitting. She described it as needing to pee, but not being able to do so.

Frankly, that describes a language in me.

So, how do I do the thing with no community to do the thing? Well, short of winning the lottery, or falling into an inheritance from a dead relative, and moving to the Hebrides, I suppose that I can return to how I learnt French: I talked to myself. I, seriously, did.

Oh! I need to count money out to pay for my school lunch? It is $4.25 (or however much it was then, for it has been a bit). Count it in French.

I, therefore, decree, and decry one thing each. I decree that I will be speaking to myself oftener. I decry any semblance of normalcy. If one sees me, know that I be not crazy, only a wee bit nerdy.

Gjer tingen! Dèan an t-rud! Do the thing!

Ver trygg! Ver elska!

Bi sàbhailte! Bi a’ ghaol agaibh! (I must work on my imperatives.)

Be safe! Be loved!

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