Aug 02, 2015


Bilingual Brain

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A Few Líneas – less than 200-word posts on everyday trivial and not-so-trivial observations, by Dharma E. Cortes.

I am watching ‘Man on Wire,’ a documentary about a French tightrope walker chasing a dream: walk between the Twin Towers (circa 1974). His French, Australian, and American comrades who helped him make the dream come true are interviewed. Those who speak English respond in English, but I am having trouble understanding English with French intonation. I need to turn on English subtitles, but the only option the DVD offers is Spanish subtitles. Ningún problema, I can handle this dilemma. I turn the Spanish subtitles on.  After a while I wonder: “Am I listening to the English voices or am I reading the Spanish subtitles?” I realize am doing both at once, an easy task for my bilingual brain. When the film ends my bilingual brain ponders one more thing: “why is it that a tightrope walker walks on a tight rope in English and on a cuerda floja in Spanish?” ¡Buena pregunta!

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Dharma Cortés

Dharma Cortés

Dharma E. Cortés, Ph.D. moved to the United States from her native Puerto Rico more than 25 years ago. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and Frida Flor del Rosario, their locally rescued Puerto Rican mini-dachshund with a hint of sato pedigree. At home, they communicate in español. When she is not observing the trivial or not-so-trivial, Dharma is conducting public health research.

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  1. Love it! I’ve had similar moments. It makes one feel like an insane genius. LOL. (And the image for this post is really fantastic.)

  2. Great article! And fantastic movie.

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