So I logged on to ted.com today to make some translation, to have a positive contribution to the community. And what I found out was, I was perfectly capable of watching TED talks without any subtitles (even when I watch them with subtitles, I put English subtitles on), and of course I’m perfectly capable watching TV shows in Turkish, but the thing I found out was, I wasn’t that good when I needed to translate. Actually this isn’t my first time. When somebody asks me the Turkish of a word, I usually can’t find the Turkish of it, instead I explain the meaning of the word to them.
This problem got me thinking. Maybe, my brain has two different parts for English and Turkish. I’m not bilingual, but I learned English at a relatively early age. I was 6 years old when we moved to Italy, and I went to an American school which I couldn’t talk Turkish at all, since I didn’t know English, I couldn’t talk that either! But after staying 3 years over there, when I got back to Turkey, my English was far more better than my Turkish.
There is another fact that supports my idea. When I study (I’m studying in a university with 100% English education) or watch TED or watch any kind of English show, when I send a tweet, or when I think something, I DO IT IN ENGLISH. Now this really makes me think. Why? My native language is Turkish, I live in Turkey. Yes I do get exposed to English a lot, when I study, when I watch something, when I search something on the web. Or even my cellphone and my computer are in English (just because when there is a problem, it’s easier to search a solution on the web). But really, to how much extent does these factors effect my language center. And since I can express myself perfectly in both languages, why is it so hard for me to switch between them? Even though I know the meaning, and even though I use a word in Turkish with the same meaning in daily life, why can’t I link them together in a blink of an eye?