5 Minutes with Bilingual Student Lal Bakir

5 Minutes with Bilingual Student Lal Bakir

Mercy Soly, Media & Features Editor

The month of October honors the national observation of Bilingual Child Month. Junior Lal Bakir, a native Turkish speaker, grew up both speaking Turkish and learning English at the same time— even when she lived in Turkey.

“I grew up bilingual because the private school system in Turkey forces you to learn English starting in first grade,” Bakir said. “Therefore I haven’t really struggled compared to maybe some other bilingual children.”

Bakir moved to the US from Turkey at the age of 10. The transition of learning to speak both languages wasn’t difficult thanks to her prior schooling, however she admits at times her words can overlap.

“Sometimes when I speak to my mom, or others who speak Turkish, it can quickly become a mix of English and Turkish. It isn’t an issue, but naturally it happens a lot,” Bakir said.

Bakir believes language has impacted her and her younger brother’s life in interesting ways.

“Since my brother is six years younger than me and moved here when he was very young, his English is a lot better than mine,” Bakir said.

Baker’s favorite part about being bilingual is her ability to share the language with her friends who don’t know or understand it.

“When I’m with my friends and my mother calls, I often will put her on speaker because they want to hear her,” Bakir said. “And when I speak it in return, you can just see that they are blown away.”

Going back home to Turkey is something that makes Bakir enjoy and take pride in her ability to communicate in Turkish too.

“It’s all I’ve ever known, so I hold the language very close to my heart when going back to visit and fully communicate with my family and friends back home,” Bakir said.