Couples choose to jump language hurdles


Junior Erin Sullivan and senior Anthony Bil have been dating for three months. Sullivan is currently trying to learn Burmese. Photo by Chelsea Burnett

Chelsea Burnett, reporter

If starting a conversation with someone who speaks a different language is difficult, imagine trying to develop a romantic relationship with someone without a common language.

For four students at SHS, not only are there the everyday hardships in their relationships that other people face, they have additional challenges revolving around language barriers. Freshman Lalthansanga Sailung, a Mizo-Chin speaking student at SHS who is an EL level II, has been in a relationship with another student who is a native Spanish speaker. The two students have been in a relationship for a month, and have a lot in common with each other.

“Both of us are kind of quiet and do not have many friends,” Sailung said through a translator. According to Sailung, they met because they had mutual classes and it just evolved from there.

“We have the same classes together and that is how we met and then we just started talking,” Sailung said.

While other students, such as Junior Erin Sullivan, may have had a few initial reservations about being in a relationship with someone who speaks another language, Sailung said he had none of these.

“At first I kind of was [hesitant to say yes] but because he can speak english it is easier,” said Sullivan.

Erin Sullivan is in a relationship with Anthony Bil who is a senior. They have been dating for three months. They met eachother at soccer, and they would always just talk at soccer games. They both would also go play for fun at Mary Bryan.

According to both couples, their respective families did not have any objections to the relationships. While language is a barrier for both, it does not affect Sailung and his girlfriend in the way that it affects Sullivan.

“It is kind of hard to talk to his parents. He can talk to my parents, but I can’t talk to his,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan’s relationship with Bil is not hindered, but her relationship with his parents is. Sailung says that the barrier does not stop them from communicating, but it does make it more difficult.

“Communication is one of the hardest things that we face in the relationship…” Sailung said. “We just understand [each other].”