Get Bilingual, Double Dip Your Words






Double Is Doable ""Image courtesy of Dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net".

Double Is Doable
“”Image courtesy of Dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

I was watching BBC World News. There was a phrase called “Double Dip Recession” used. It has prompted me to write about “Double Dip” as an anology for those who seek to understand how using two languages for the same word can actually help them become bilingual.

“Double dip” is a phrase used to describe an action when someone dips into a sauce or savoury with his biscuit or any kind of snack a second time (tortilla chips for instance) after the first bite of the same snack. This action is considered rude as the sauce is supposed to be shared with other people.

I’d like to use this phrase somewhat differently though. Take this example.

Cuba – Try

Cuba is pronounced as “chober” with a silent r and soft ch (say cherry without rolling the tongue). It is a Malay word for Try in English. Since I grew up listening to people using two words with the same meaning in a sentence, I am used to hearing words used repetitiously in differently languages. I call it double dipping because the person may have thought he has not explained himself well enough (not enough sauce the first time) and so he has to go for a second dip but this time using a different language. (same sauce for a half finished snack, same word for a seemingly incomplete sentence.) Although double dipping is considered rude in the social sense, doing it while speaking can be beneficial.

1. It helps the person absorb and internalise the meaning of the word in two languages.

2. It fills in a vacuum in the communication trail between two persons who cannot speak each other’s language but share a common language.

3. It is used as a cover up to give a false hint that you are fluent in two languages. (I know salesmen do this a lot.)

4. It draws attention to you when you speak because a foreign language, oddly placed in a sentence, does sound more peculiar.

Many people, especially travellers, use this technique or method very often. With very little to no knowledge of the local language, they make sure they repeat the same word in both the local (foreign) and their native languages. By ‘double dipping’, they are also showing that they are not fluent in the local language, so there is need for the listener to empathise with their situation. Sometimes, this may also prompt the listener to respond in the traveller’s language which gives a signal to the traveller that it is all right to continue speaking in his own language.

When you live in a multi-lingual society like Singapore, ‘double-dipping’ or repeating the same word at least once in two languages, is not unusual in a conversation. So go ahead, Double dip your words, it is the least you should do if you want to be bilingual. It is allowed.

Let’s Learn Mandarin

double dip: Favorite behavior of crude diners. Involves dipping your crudite or corn chip into a sauce, taking a bite from the veggie or chip, and then re-dipping the half digested item back into the sauce

双谷经济衰退(雙穀經濟衰退)[shuānggǔ jīngjì shuāituì] : double dip recession

We 我们 pulled the bread 面包 into pieces 碎片 to dip in 浸泡在 the sauce 酱汁. 我们把面包撕成碎片,浸泡在酱汁中。


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Thank you for reading.

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2 Responses to “Get Bilingual, Double Dip Your Words”

  1. Josef November 12, 2013 at 2:18 am #

    I am always searching online for articles that can help me. Thank you

  2. Hanifa January 10, 2014 at 1:39 am #

    Thank you Josef. You may subscribe to the blog if you wish to be updated for more articles.

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