Being the only monolingual in a group of bi/tri-linguals

We have some visitors from Germany over for the wedding which means I’m surrounded by multi-lingual people again. Being the only monolingual sucks sometimes. You know those huge buy-in-bulk stores (Cost-co, Sam’s Club, etc) where you have to have a membership to shop at? It’s kind of like that. Everyone else is a card-carrying member and you just get to stand at the door.

Here are the most prominent things that I’ve noticed about being the only monolingual in the group:

  • You tend to zone out a lot. And why wouldn’t you? You just assume no one is talking to you (because they aren’t unless it’s in English).
  • You secretly wish everyone would stick to one language (preferably yours) while together, but there’s no way you would EVER be rude enough to ask that. I mean everyone is allowed to speak whatever language they’d like. There is one exception, though: playing boardgames. When you play boardgames you speak one language, because it’s a dick move to use another language to talk secretly knowing others don’t understand. Don’t be a dick. If you want to be secretive find a different way.
  • You know the gist of what they’re saying, but that’s about it.
  • It’s so damn frustrating wanting to say something in their not-so-secret secret language so you feel like a “cool kid”, but knowing you can’t. Or maybe you can say some super basic stuff, but how the hell is “My name is Brittany. I’m 24 years old. I come from Georgia” going to add to a conversation about politics or some guy’s hair? It’s not.
  • Feeling the desire to speak the only bits of a language you know but they don’t. Je parle un peu français, Betches.
  • Not speaking said language, because you are 1. horrible at it, 2. don’t know enough to dazzle anyone with it, and 3. know everyone in your group, besides you, hates France and everything associated with it.
  • You get annoyed for literally no reason whatsoever. You aren’t annoyed with anyone really, more so at your inability to speak the language you’re now surrounded by. You just tend to take it out on everyone else. (Sorry. I can be a shit person at times.)
  • You’re weirdly exhausted. From what, you don’t know. You haven’t been doing much speaking. WHY AM I SO TIRED?!
  • People tend to stare. It’s kind of funny, really.
  • The staring makes you feel like you’re a “cool kid”, even if it is only second-hand coolness.
  • You become even more determined to one day speak their godforsaken language just so you can be a part of their stupid multilingual club, damn it.

I really do love having everyone here, and I really do love German, but sometimes everything just kind of gets to you. Today seems to be that day. Tomorrow we have a short road-trip and then wedding festivities (a.k.a. chilling out on a beach).


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