I Have a Favorite Language for Every Situation in Life

There is a language for laughing and a language for crying

Antonello Zanini
6 min readMay 30, 2022
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“A different language is a different vision of life,” said Italian film director Federico Fellini, and I could not agree with that more. Languages shape the way we think and communicate, changing who we are and how we interact with the world, making us different human beings. This is the most valuable lesson I have learned in my language learning journey.

When you can speak several languages, you find yourself unconsciously switching between them based on what is happening around you, especially when surrounded by other multilingual people. This fascinating phenomenon led me to wonder if there was a sort of continuity in the way my brain chooses one language or another, and it turned out that yes, there is.

As it emerged, I have a favorite language to write in, dream in, love in, hate in, listen to, curse in, and even rap in. And now it is time to share with you what these languages are.

My Favorite Language to Write in

No surprise: English is my favorite language when it comes to writing. But what may shock you is that If you had asked me two years ago, I would never have said English. I hated writing in English. Yet, I slowly fell in love with the way writing works in English, finally realizing it when the italki web platform shut down and I could no longer write my daily text in English. As they say, sometimes you need to lose something before you can understand its value.

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Even though I have told this story in a previous article, I always love to remember how learning English helped me discover my greatest passion and made me become a writer. Recently, I have even started writing hilarious rap songs in English, and I do not plan to stop writing in this language.

My Favorite Language to Think in

As someone pointed out to me recently, you cannot really choose the language you think in. It simply happens. And I have caught my brain thinking in Spanish so many times that it comes naturally to me to believe that Spanish is my favorite language for thinking. Or maybe it is simply because I find Spanish an extremely emotional language, and after hours and hours of business in English, my brain just wants to remind me that I am a human being, with emotions and feelings.

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Either way, Spanish has monopolized my thoughts from day one and is likely to maintain this position for years. After all, how can you get rid of who controls your thoughts?

My Favorite Language to Read in

Throughout my life, I have mostly read essays. And when it comes to essays, I find English to be the perfect language. It is rigorous enough to avoid misunderstanding and so pragmatic and effective that I am hard-pressed to think of a better language to convey a structured message among the languages I know. Simply put: English is my favorite language for reading. But do not get fooled by this last statement. It is more complex than that.

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When dealing with novels, poems, books that involve detailed descriptions, or where the music of words plays a key role, Italian reigns supreme. I was once reading a book in English and found it deeply dull, only to get to know that there was an Italian version translated by one of my favorite authors. I switched to that version and loved the book. English is pragmatic, but Italian is magical.

My Favorite Language to Speak in

Although speaking in Bresciano, one of the several ancient and forgotten Italian languages, feels special because only very few people can understand it, Spanish has become my favorite language to speak in. Bresciano is and will always be the language that represents me the most, but Spanish has a special place in my heart and whenever I have the opportunity to speak in Spanish, I am happy.

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I find Spanish joyful, warm, and colorful, so distant from my way of being. Spanish has the power to loosen me up, making me much less cold and sometimes even uncomfortable with myself. But I love this feeling. And this is worth more than anything else.

My Favorite Language to Joke in

Joking is an art. But as an Italian, joking is hard-coded in my DNA, and my blood tests confirm a presence of a dangerous amount of a sense of humor. I truly believe joking is part of my Italian heritage, and I love that. So, for long, articulated, complex, or very subtle jokes, Italian is by far my favorite language, and I do not think any language will ever come closer.

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But when it comes to gross jokes, Bresciano reigns unchallenged. After all, making dirty jokes in a language that only a few thousand people understand makes everything easier. Also, a special mention goes to Spanish, which I like to use for puns.

My Favorite Language to Listen to

When you hear someone speaking in perfect Italian, regardless of their accent, you understand why it is regarded as one of the most fascinating languages in the world. Its inherent musicality makes it special.

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As a native speaker, it is sometimes difficult for me to see the uniqueness of the Italian language, but I must say that I have slowly begun to realize how incredible and fantastic this language is to listen to. It took me a while, but now that I know how phonetics works, I can truly appreciate the masterpiece that Italian is. Dante, thank you for giving birth to Italian.

My Favorite Language to Swear in

I have always been a very quiet and calm human being, and I tend to swear out of anger very rarely. Actually, I almost never get angry. However, there are a few situations that bring out the worst in me, and one of these is driving in crazy Italian traffic. If you have experienced it, and I hope not, you should know that there are no rules, apart from “Cosa fai?🤌 Tocca a me!” (“What are you doing? 🤌 It’s my turn!”).

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In these situations, you will hear me yelling in Bresciano. Usually, soccer players say that you can tell when the coach is angry with them when they start yelling in their native language. So, I have to assume that my native language is Bresciano, because whenever I have to say something bad, it comes out of my mouth in what is considered to be one of the harshest and rudest languages in Italy. If you hear me yelling in Bresciano, be worried. I am not saying nice things.

Those were my favorite languages when it comes to writing, thinking, reading, speaking, joking, listening, and swearing. Now, I am curious to hear your stories. Let me know in the comments below.