I never imagined that I would one day speak another language fluently (I certainly studied a bunch of languages, but never to true fluency), but here I am living in a Swedish/English speaking family.
Having a different 'mother tongue' than your family has a lot of frustrating moments, but a lot of funny ones as well. In our household we are lucky, we both speak and understand the other's native language at a very high funtional level – which means that we can each speak whatever language we feel like. This has made us very LAZY with language – something we are trying to mend due to the prescence of a new language learner in our midst – but it is not easy.
My Swede speaks amazing English, and sometimes when he makes a mistake it catches me by surprise, because I don't expect it. I, on the other hand, still make a bunch of Swedish mistakes, and they can also bring the laughs.
Take, for example, the discussion we ended up having last night. My Swede was trying to put LO to bed and he had a loaf of bread baking in the oven. (Yes, my Swede is awesome).
Trying not to disrupt our almost sleeping child, The Swede says “Please take the bread out of the oven at sharp.”
I am confused. “Huh?”
“I don't understand,” I stagewhisper upstairs.
“At eight o'clock, take it out at eight!” He whispers loudly and I hear LO stirring.
I cannot remember the last time I gave the phrase 8 o'clock sharp that much thought, but all of a sudden I was thinking about when we use sharp, and why and how with time. And that is what rocks about having a bilingual relationship. You suddenly get a whole new perspective on the words you use.
If you say sharp, you need to give a specific time that it needs to be completed by, otherwise sharp has no meaning. But I did have a nagging sense of self-doubt and double checked on the internets. Because after living abroad for ten years, sometimes I wonder what constructions in English are real, and what just exists in my head.
Has bilinguilism affected your family in any fun and amusing ways?