essay frustration #1 – bilingualism

While I love that I speak two languages, when trying to write an essay, it is less than helpful. I keep thinking of the perfect words…in French. I’m sure that simultaneously translating documents is only making the situation worse.

While some of the French words exist in English, and they are the exact words I want to use, I just don’t know that they work. For instance, who actually says “ameliorate”? Oh, wait. I do! I do!

And “comportment”? I don’t even know that I’ve ever heard someone use it in English. I know it’s a word and I know what it means, but will other people? Will the people reading my essays assume I just pulled out a thesaurus to diversify my vocabulary and think I’m a complete idiot?


9 thoughts on “essay frustration #1 – bilingualism

  1. Thanks for the sympathy and advice! Cristin, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one. Michelle, I started studying French when I was 11, I was an exchange student at 14, I served my mission in Switzerland and France, and I just love the language.Holly, thanks for the encouragement.Christy, I know you know how I feel.Anne…”Chow!” Ha ha ha!Jenny, always good advice.Thom, you are mean.Lucy, I’m sure with all of your reading your vocabulary blows mine right out of the water which is another reason we need to go to dinner again…I love talking to you!

  2. I see the dilemma! I think you should not worrie too much. I also think that you should use vocabluary that you understand and can use in the correct context. Do not be worried, they will understand what you are talking about, and if they are reading your essay for acceptance into an MBA program and they do not understand the vocabulary that is used then shame on them! I am looking forward to talking with you tonight!

  3. I agree! Use the smart words because you ARE smart! No need to dumb down so as not to sound too pretentious. If it’s the perfect word then go ahead and use it 🙂

  4. I think they will find it refreshing. Good luck with your massive essay mountain and your translations. You amaze me!

  5. Ooh, I love ameliorate! One of my favorite words. Though it’s true comportment isn’t used all that much in day-to-day parlance. Since you’re applying to grad schools, I would assume that your readers will be intelligent and educated enough that you won’t have to dumb down your writing.Now I’m curious about the bilingualism: were you raised speaking French or did you just learn it really well? Marc says things all the time that are poor translations from French, but since I know French I know what he is trying to say. It makes me giggle, though.

  6. I have the same problem. Especially when I play scrabble. I get desperate and want to use french words. I say use the english/french in your paper and you will sound really smart.

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