“How bilingual brains switch between tongues”

Brief visions of two tongues being fitted, enabling one’s bilingual brain to slot the correct one into place as and when. (Aside: The Sufis say that two tongues of fire await those who speak with two tongues here and now.) I’d like to understand how this kind of stuff pans if the brain has doubts as to whether it’s dealing with two separate languages or with variation within one.

Similar posts

  • Bilingual blogs
    Sheesh! Someone called Luistxo has invented a complicated spec–read and shiver!–with which you have to comply in order to have a
  • Anglo-Saxon spam and the Klingon 5th column
    The studied use of archaicisms, vowel transposition and misspelled euphemism means that in spam a couple of hundred English proto-dialects are
  • Fucked translation of the month
    Congratulations to Begur, a council just over the Spanish border from France, which provides four languages on its welcome board telling
  • More tongues
    Crocodiles have no tongue; frogs have half, because it’s backwards, attached at the front and free at the back; men have
  • Bilingual betrayal
    Rodrigo Fernández de Santaella, Vocabulario eclesiástico (1499) says that a bilingual person is one who sings a different song depending on


  1. Bilinguality interests me, as I am an Englishman living in the Netherlands with a pretty good knowledge of the Dutch language. I wonder whether people don’t just react to the situation and switch without giving it a moment’s thought – assuming their grammar and vocab are up to it. I’d be fascinating to hear how speakers of Catalan and Spanish cope in a multilingual environment such as Barcelona, given the fact that locals must often have to switch to English or French as well, to cope with the tourists.

  2. Maybe I’m being unfair, but I imagine it would be difficult to underestimate the number of natives here who speak a third language to any degree of fluency.

  3. “the case of a trilingual woman with a damaged caudate region, who involuntarily switched between three different languages while speaking, says Price.”

    Ah, it was my damaged caudate region to blame then, when I went into a shop in Brittany just after spending two years on Madeira, and in response to a question about whether I wanted an extra croissant or something, I replied “Non, só cinq,” which I assume she heard as “No, bucket five.”

  4. For a single moment he really suspected premature caudation had been inflicted on him for his crimes. Thankyousorry.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *