Recently, when I “revealed” my intention of learning to jiang hua yu (speak mandarin), I was sms-ing with Arch and he asked whether May and I communcate in Iban or English…and that in turned brought about the realisation that I’m not the only one with this whole “split-communication-identity” thingy…
What was that you ask?
Well, basically, a “split-communcation-identity” (or SCI for short) is when you communicate with the same person in a different way, specifically in a different language, depending on the “scenario” at that time…
For instance, my brother and I grew up in an Iban-speaking household. Our parents speak to us in our mother tongue. And yet, at some point in our lives, we (my brother and I) developed this SCI and we now speak English – in fact,I don’t even remember if we ever spoke in Iban!
There was this one time when I went out with my brother and his friend. After noticing that we siblings spoke in English, he point-blank asked me: “You don’t know how to speak Iban issit?”
When I communicate via email, or sms, or any digital type of communication I tend to use English with certain people, like May, Arch, Bong, etc. But when I see them in person or call over the phone I tend to speak Iban or English or both.
May and I are friends since high school. We spoke Iban back then. And then came the revoultion of emails and sms…and we started using English. Until today, everytime we email/sms we use English, but in person, we still use Iban.
I knew Bong firstly through his blog in which English is the language of communication. And then when I met him in person for the first time, I was inclined to speak English. Instead, he answered me in Iban. So we ended up using a lil of both. Hehe.
And then Arch…I talked to him once before but I forgot what language we used. But it was much later that we actually got to know each other (also digitally through blogs and sms) and we used English. And then recently when I called him during Ops FuYoh Hrs, he spoke to me in English.
Long story short, we’re all multilingual.
And totally have split-communcation-identity. ;p