Linguistic Inertia

less than 1 minute read

I frequently converse in three languages: Hindi, English and Marathi - all with distinct sets of acquaintances. Likewise, every person has a preferred communication language with every other human they are acquainted to.

Occasionally, two of my acquaintances meet and have a different preferred language. If I’m not acquainted to that language, all’s usual. But if I am acquainted to that language and they are aware of that: they might request me to converse in that language.

This usually happens for all three possible pairs of Hindi, Marathi and English.

What happens next is fairly awkward: I’m stuck between two modes of communication and stutter for a good half minute with a jaw-dropped (my first aware use of a passive adjective) smile of embarrassment.

Hence, have been explicitly forcing myself to converse in different languages with the same acquaintance and switch fairly smoothly, for a few days.

Now I switch easily.

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