The Bilingual Brain: What really happens when we hear NO!

Limits are behind all loss… our culture routinely interprets losses as alien invasions that interrupt our “normal” lives.

Peter Scazzero

 People like me more when I say Yes. When I give my kids what they want, they tell me that I am the Best Dad in the World. That does not last long. The sun must come up and I have to say No, again. Then my Championship belt is stripped away and I hit the skids. Telephone sales people are very nice to me when I say Yes, but they keep talking to me even when I say No. Even when I say it fifty times. I must have a lot of children, because when Telephone solicitors hear No from me, they keep talking.

I think it may be human nature. When we hear Yes, we are happy and feel our needs are met. When we get a No, I wonder if we somehow do a Google translate thing and it becomes “Keep asking.”

My children are bilingual, they speak both English and French. That must mean that they need to hear No in both French and English? Maybe in French, No means “Please ask me again!” In Canada, we have two languages, one for each side of the country. I guess my kids brains are divided up based on official languages, just like Canada. Right side is English, Left is French. Righty tighty, Lefty loosey.

So I looked up No in French. It is a different word, longer and awkward. The word is “Acun.” That must be why my kids cannot understand me. I now have another word-tool that will help me in my parenting. In fact, I will even expand on the No to make it Nope. That will give me an extra strong version of the No, No on steroids… Nopers!!!

It is interesting that even at work, people don’t like to hear No. I think it’s a family thing. Growing up, we either get comfortable with hearing No, or we have a brain dyslexia thing going on and when someone says No, we really hear “On.” Maybe that’s it?

I wonder if the conversation in the brain goes something like this:

“I just heard the word No.”

“There it is again!”

“Is it really a No?”

“I don’t like the reason for the No!”

“Maybe they have verbal dyslexia and they meant, On?”

“So I should keep asking because they keep talking?”

I think that when we hear No for something that is important to us, it wakes up the challenge sector of the brain. That must be in the French half of the brain. We hear No, the French get busy and we push back against the limit. We push until we are clear that the No is really a No, and not a pretend No. Damned French. That is why things have been so quiet lately over there. There is an Insurgency going on!

I do it too. When life gives me a No, it is a like something goes off in me and I push back. I usually don’t even know I am doing it until I am part way into it. I guess that is the French side of my brain again?

For now, au revoir! And just for fun… Acun!


Keep it real

You may appreciate this video with comedian Tim Hawkins. The quality is poor but the audio is good. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s