Today we have a guest post from Dr. J.K. Palmer in Santiago, Chile.
I’m an English dominant Spanish and English bilingual (well not technically bilingual as I didn’t grow up with Spanish, but I am a C2 on CEFR framework and teach at university level in Spanish). Living in Chile I normally speak Spanish, but I have noticed three cases of when I speak in English here, even to native Spanish speakers:
(1) I have a relationship with someone I work with which I prefer to do in English. He’s a Spanish dominant bilingual, and can be a bit, hmm, tricky, so speaking English means that I am able to manage it better
(2) With two of my best friends I VERY occasionally speak English. One is a fairly balanced bilingual, the other raised in an English speaking school here, but is strongly Spanish dominant. I occasionally say things in English to make sure that I have said it exactly right (i.e. personal stuff, rather than “difficult” stuff). I could communicate the information perfectly in Spanish, but I am still not sure of the connotations that the way I say it might have.
(3) I will VERY rarely use English as a weapon on monolingual Spanish speakers if they are being obstructive and it will save me time. I just moved house and the guard in one of the buildings I had to get some documents from didn’t want me to go in even though the notary was expecting me, so I just ignored everything he said in Spanish and only spoke to him in English. I got the documents much faster that way. I feel mildly guilty about this use, but he was very rude to me, so I don’t feel that guilty as of course I couldn’t say anything back to him.
Any other experiences of this sort of “political” use of multiple languages?