If you want to learn a language, you have to be OK with failing. You're gonna mess up sentence structures, mix up genders, and even forget the simplest words. It's bound to happen. But if your ego doesn't crumble in the process, you'll realize that it's the only way to master a foreign tongue. And that people don't give a damn about your mistakes; they respect the effort.
Sam Collins is a 26-year-old gay man and the CTO of a medical software company, who also streams on Twitch every week. He grew up in an English-speaking part of Canada, but later moved to the French-speaking area. And that's precisely where he met Vince, his boyfriend.
Vince isn't a native English speaker. But he's killing it. I mean, he finds a way out of a sentence even when he doesn't know the right words. This one time, for example, he forgot the word 'lid' so he held up a pot and asked Sam, "Where is his hat?"
The genius one-liner caught Sam completely off guard. He liked it so much, he even tweeted it. But the man wasn't the only one who loved it. Nearly 800,000 people have liked the example of Vince's linguistic freestyle, and many have responded to it with other brilliant English word 'replacements' as well. Continue scrolling and check them out.
Image credits: chemicollins
Judging by the way Sam described his boyfriend, no wonder Vince had come up with something so simple yet so brilliant on the spot. "He's an absolute sweetheart," Sam told Bored Panda. "Our friends consistently call him an 'angel' because he's so thoughtful and kind. He can be a bit nervous in big social situations, but once you get him talking, he's happy to geek out and have fun! He tries hard not to depend on his French, so he makes a lot of word substitutions (like calling a pot lid a hat) when he's talking. I think it's cute as heck."
Sam acknowledges that couples who have some sort of a language barrier between them face additional challenges. But that's nothing they can't solve if both partners are committed to one another. "Healthy relationships are built on good communication, so being in a bilingual relationship sometimes means working twice as hard to communicate clearly," the man said.
"We often find each other totally missing important things that the other person said, which can definitely be frustrating, but we make sure to be understanding and kind to each other when it does happen. On the plus side, we've both drastically improved our second language skills!"
The attention Sam's tweet has received was not something he expected. So many people have been relating to it. Sam himself thinks the Internet's reaction is really cute. "Amazingly, everyone has been so positive about it! Almost zero negativity. Lots of people sharing similar stories and talking about what it's like to live in a bilingual relationship. It's amazing! I'm happy to share in that joy with so many people."
Interestingly, Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of Powers of Two, wrote that long-term couples "start to match each other in the basic rhythms and syntactical structures of their speech." This happens because of something psychologists call emotional contagion, which causes us to mimic everything from our partner’s accent to their laugh, bringing us even closer together. But it doesn't happen overnight.
"Be patient with your bilingual partner, and give them ample time to speak their mind," Sam added. "Celebrate the little mistakes and unique sayings that come from each other, and laugh about them together."