Bilingual

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I tend to adopt an attitude towards language that it’s nearly pristine in its stipulations since I exact a nativists view on language that cannot possibly meet the standards I want. That is, I want what it is said in L1 to be exactly the same as in L2.

An impossibility by all means.

Yet this equation, L1=L2 is wrought upon the daily make up of humanity every time the sun rises.

So as I prepare myself to listen to Simon J. Ortiz: A Poetic Legacy of Indigenous Continuance a host of questions and stomach revolt seem to undermine with furious confusion the joy it would be to just listen to the darn thing.

For one, doesn’t it seem odd to you that this continuance happens in English?

Second: can English, with all its constraints that entail the language of pain for indigenous people in Norteamerica be a vessel appropriate enough to deliver the goods?

Am not the one to not allow said company. Consort at will I say. And just to open up more wounds here, look at the presenter’s name: Evelina Lucero.

Yes, its Spanish. Allow me to say it. What the tarnation are we saying here? Why do we choose to pretend that Spanish surnamed so-called indigenous people can tell us something about indigenous people’s continuance in English?

I don’t want to disrespect all the work laid before all this. By all means.

What I am saying though is how original does the L2 language allow us to be our genuine selves in the L2 milieu? Can I even though I have profound knowledge of L1 deliver that in L2?

That’s all am saying. Not just because the way the West looks upon the arts, with its Medici and Meneas paternalistic support. But because the parameters that uphold the standards are unequivocally different than the standards the local native language was once upheld.

I don’t want to diminish nothing here, because I know am stepping on some serious callitos here.

Image: http://www.transparent.com/swedish/

Anomalies are those things that do not just veer off into the unknown causing major friction in chartered and metered courses. They are in and by their own right natural occurrences that sometimes allow us to change course or make us stop right in our tracks. One of these phenomenas in language learning is the case for fear of mispronunciation. It is a well established fact that there is a time limit for humanoids (yes, it sounds weird) when it comes to trying to learn a new language as fluent as possible. After the so called window of opportunity closes the fluency channels begin a slow shut down. Not that it is impossible to learn a new language, you can, but no just as clear and fluent as a native. There are tricks and other awareness related techniques that allow for an artificial likeness to fluency but it is not the same. Again, you really need to be aware, awake of what you are doing. Basically anybody can do it but as languages go a slight mispronunciation can give away loads of information about you the speaker.

Be that as it may, the anomaly here is not whether one can pronounce right or not or how best to achieve pronunciation in any given language. There is one factor I have never heard discussed in major scientific ways and that is the negative side effects that mispronunciation produces in natives when the target language is produced. This Pavlovian reaction to the mispronunciation of the target language is of interest to me. It ranges the gamut from admiration, positive-negative, when accents acquire an accepted pronunciation to total rejection to both the speaker and the language produced.

I am brought to this topic because I was watching a tv news program earlier this morning. The Swedish tv channel called 4 had an Australian guest in its morning reportage and the guest tried to reproduce a Swedish word and was relieved to have pronounced the word right which was no small feat since it was a word with an ö.  This is tantamount to seeing foreigners trying to reproduce the -ird in bird or the -ur in fur. It was not the kind of relief one would expect to be a relief from achieving positive result or born out of curiosity but a relief that the produced language did not create a negative reaction and was both accepted and understood by the parties at hand which in this case were all natives speakers of the Swedish language. I immediately related to this behavior because as a Swedish learner and speaker I have had my share of total rejection by other Swedish speakers for the kind of language I produce when speaking Swedish. If you are ever to learn Swedish in your lifespan be sure to take into account that the level of tolerance for mispronunciation in Sweden is a fact one needs to be able to take to task. This tolerance level is very low in Swedes. They tend to frown upon the speakers of the language who grossly overlook how to produce good spoken Swedish. They have no patience whatsoever and are ready to mock or just right out lash at the offense before them. One here ought to keep in mind that this is a natural occurrence for Swedes since their language is a tonal language. That they are more or less tolerant than other tonal language groups is up for grabs but if Chinese are any indication than tonal languages have a characteristic as being intolerant to speakers who mispronounce the language than we’re in for it for the rough.

I personally don’t take Swedish intolerance personally, not anymore anyways because I know this sort of behavior cuts right across the board even when it comes to native speakers. I live between Stockholm and Scania and boy do these natives from Småland have things to say about 08′s and mouth potatoes. Although this level of tolerance is painfully more acute towards immigrants. We feel it more the so because though Swedish people are themselves largely unawares about how their own language functions, and that can be said about any group pf language speakers, by the bye’s, they fail to take into account courtesy. They have no time for considerations such as the fact that one is trying to learn their language. They will ask you how long have you been in the country just to gauge the severity of the offense. For some asinine reason, really, Swedes will not help out with one’s language problems. I Personally am baffled at this behavior because both in English and Spanish although not the Good Samaritans we do extend a helping hand when it comes to learning languages. But that’s just the American in me.

I need a new keyboard.

Not alien like the one before me. Of course, you can’t see my keyboard but really, proof here is a minor bureaucratic shuffle of papers. I really need a new keyboard.

But perhaps most importantly I need a new way to express myself in English. There are ways unknown to express new feelings. Yet the rut befalls me. There are no new ways like old Diamanda Galas There Are No More Tickets to the Funeral.

So I stand before thee. Begging for a new beginning. I want back. I want to express myself in this language known as the English language.

You might ask why I ask this.

I am at a loss too.

A weakness has taken over the control of this weak body. A body that negotiates at whim.

There is no longer who am I? Rather a business transaction in the background that demands a voyeur
as a democratic action would demand a notary.

The theocracy of la raza are beyond the streets they study. Something happens to chicano academics that makes them distance themselves from the very culture they purport to examine. I don’t get that. In colloquial language they sell out. For some reason they have transgressed a border and become uneasy with the realities before them. Instead of living the culture they resort to the text version of it. Then they romanticize it and then they crossover to a fantasy realm. Going academic is like a passport to another country which lets you check in but doesn’t let you check out. Few hardcore Chicanos are able to make it back, remain part of the culture studied before one.

I don’t get this. Academia in itself is a cradle of middle class values that will not allow to be tainted by anything it does not approve beforehand. The aesthetics are set and we fit not the parameters of its watermark. The reflection rejects us. And academic Chicanos know this. As soon as we fall into the realm of accepted beings we fall into another category whereby we are scrutinized with a set of values we dare not touch with a ten foot pole. These values are so cherished by the Chicano academic community that anything that threatens it we scamper like silly ninnies back to its refugee. It’s only natural, god featuring children that we are. We would very much like to believe that we are a fused we/I. We would love to believe that a syncretism exudes from us yet alas! In the kingdom of the one eyed we are the purblind.

What’s worst is that once we are accepted we cease to be this militant, question all entity beyond reason, take no prisoners selves. We share not. We become docile denizens of a society we fought so much to be recognized as part of it and once well in place we stand in humble obedience as onlookers as our brethren fight to get across this thin line that separates us from them. Once we have crushed the citadel’s walls we shut the doors and fall behind these academia forts that hold our historic knowledge in databases that restrict the vox populi from sites such as MUSE, JSTOR and ECBHost.

I mean what the F?

I mean, échame una mano compa, no seas puto ese!

Now and then I manage to hear my own self speak. I am like the omniscient God by accident. It turns out that hearing myself isn’t so productive at times. This time I happened to hear myself. And I thought: who am I? This question might just seem trivial for some. Specially monolinguals. I can choose between three languages to express. And in this case I have chosen the English language to explore the dilemma at hand. Who am I?

The thing is that prior to the elaborate result an equation factor is not known. I chose this language because when Iheard myself speak I used a Xicano dialect bounce off the walls el craneo that houses this I.

Tis this very dialect or way of speaking that is giving birth to this post.

.*

Nothing brings me more joy to my hearts delight then when I confuse people about my ethnicity. I just love it. I will give an example of said ventures of mine that tickles my belly silly. I recently came across a Spaniard and spoke only English with him. He asked me where I was from, México I said. Pronounced with that unmistakable ancient Arab glottal sound in the /x/. He even asked me if I spoke Spanish to which I proudly said straight out that not only was Spanish my mother tongue I also taught it as well at a local high school in the Swedish Highlands. He was dumbfounded. I know it sounds mean but this guy is highly educated with a doctorate’s degree.

Today I got to experience once more one of those moments, man am I ever delighted. It sort of boosts the ego somehow, mind you am otherwise terribly insecure of myself so when I met this American guy unbeknownst to me and him, he came and made my day. Before you knew it he was basically left scratching his head. We struck up a spontaneous conversation because he overheard me speaking English and after a while he asked where I was from. No easy daily chore I can assure you. Swedish people aren’t too fond of spontaneity. I noticed he had gotten comfortably secure because we both had the same cultural baggage and it went rather smoothly for the first 5 minutes or so until I said I was Mexican. His look was askance to put it mildly. Normally I reject when people put me in neat little boxes but am getting the better out of this game of language and identity of recently, mostly for my amusement.

Monolinguals and monocultural people live another life period. It’s all black and white so when they encounter people like me they are left on their own devices and they don’t like that. So this new secureness brings a small payback. Many of my insecurities can easily be traced back to the bullying I went through as a language aware person, that is, bilingual. I think many monolinguals have been themselves bullied except they gave up. I did not have the choice of giving up. What was there to give up? I was just bullied for being myself and I could not be accepted as I was. Monolinguals are encouraged to give up their acquired awareness. It becomes too painful for them to live the rejection or the bogey man before them.

***

I don’t understand how is it that people don’t get that we bilinguals, or some of us either way, cannot switch to another language as a means of communicating with a person with whom we have learned to communicate in only one language. Here in Sweden people are left in an aghast state of mind when I tell them that I don’t speak Swedish with my sambo. We have always spoken English and if we go over to speaking Swedish it would change a whole set of rules and it be like getting to know another whole new person. Am allergic to doing that anywheres in the world. I remember that I got teased as a young boy for just that. I happened during my first stint or rather sojourn in the USA, I was but a wee little lad and when I came back to Tijuana I refused to speak Spanish. I flatly refused to do so. I have no memory of the decision for that or when it happened. I wasn’t that precocious mind you. What I do remember is the laughter for having said that. Monolinguals don’t get it but they will get that language is identity. All monolinguals will defend a capa y espada their language but they can’t understand that bilinguals hence have two identities to deal with. Pero no, their monotheistic world refuses to comprehend it. We are ambivalent. We are ambiguous. Even Gloria Anzaldúa doesn’t do it and she is the creator of Borderlands! She doesn’t understand why chicanas are uncomfortable with each other.

L

English. Every time I look at this blog am embarrassed by the amount of posts. 450 with this one. In Spanish I have about a thousand more plus that. I guess that explains a few things.

When there is nothing to tell in English the flow stops. I believe that. I have failed to use English as a means to display the everyday. Therein layeth the problemática, I believe. I have entertained thoughts about the feasibility of English in my writing. I have waited patiently for the beast to take over again but it doesn’t. Once I discovered Spanish as a medium I became more inclined to write in that wretched language I hate so. It is curios in fact, that my loathing for the Spanish language has sucked so much writing time though I hate it so. Irony at some level I suppose.

I seem to recall Bartleby, that old Melville character that so baffles many of us in this so called modern world, whenever I cherish the idea of entertaining thoughts on Chicanismo. I feel am so way beyond that that the mere thought entails and automatic I prefer not to.

I believe I have lost my English voice and I do not know how and when this happened and worst yet why. It seems as though Spanish has taken sole control over what I say, communicate and invent via the written and oral means of parlance. Mind you, this area used to be the sole realm of English hence my bafflement. As soon as I am done with the day’s rant or keyboard orgy of thoughts I am done for whatever reason and pursue only that thought in all the vanities that entail being a blog writer and in Spanish. What is up with that? One reasonable explanation is that Spanish provides a more rewarding exchange. I noticed this when I began communicating with other English writing bloggers. I could never identify with them due to some odd chasm of sorts whereby what would otherwise seem to be on the surface unity factors created deep underlying differences. Mostly because the 2 or3 years I spent peeling off propaganda from my Xicano identity Read the rest of this entry »

brus

One does after all feel as throwing the towel. I do feel that I am losing it. I never had trouble dealing with two languages. Yet being so far away from the center of gyration that rules my bilingualism has caused an atrophy of sorts.

One can not complain after all, it has been little over a decade since I partook of the nourishing soil that bore fruit to my bilingual status and here I am now struggling with the fruit of being a trilingual. Curiously enough I posed this very same problem to the spanish community in my Spanish blog and as a result my head got chewed and spitted. I was being too much of a show off.

I have never been to good of a peacock. I flaunt feathers yet unbeknownst to me people react mysteriously aggressive to it. In English there seems to be less care for the language realm, one can be multilingual and be no reaction to it. Either way.

Swedish has become a nuisance. There is too much noise for me to make sense of it at times. Like watching the war of the ants. Like noise interferes with English and Spanish rendering nonsense and leaving me speechless, for what else is there left for us bilinguals that must store several languages in our brains?

Something is happening to my English.

I am becoming more aware of it. Ever since I took on the job of learning Swedish this change has been brought upon me through a very surreptitious way that, sutil.

Though I insistently argue that Spanglish is my first language due to ideological reasons, and more importantly because of environmental reasons, I was born, after all, in Tijuana, I cannot deny the fact that Spanish has been a determinant in that equation given English a sort of an uncomfortable second place in lieu of the fact that I cherish English so. However, this reasoning has its flaws because English ceases not to amaze me in contradicting the above specified. Evidence towards the latter have surfaced via real acts of isolation which would produce a deteriorated quality in the English I posses yet this has failed to materialize.

[astute language freaks will notice the running sentence there ...]

Yet this fallacy has yet to pass a crucial test because I have managed to, much to my ignorance, succeeded in learning Swedish, albeit, it took ten years, but nonetheless.

I try not to convince myself too much of the achievement because my standards are too high to fully declare victory over the Germanic language of the swedes.

We bilingual people hold very high ethics what separation of languages are concerned because if there is anything we most be honest about it is about the capacities of our own capabilities regards language. There is a systematic order in keeping the two languages at hand separate for all kind of needs.

Dear One

Would it just be possible to somehow churn out something in English these days? Frankly speaking, I am at a loss, have I abandoned the I which speaketh the Bard’s tongue? And do tell, why is it that I harbor no animosity towards Shakespeare yet I do so towards el Manco de Lepanto? Isn’t there anything for me to contribute to this language called English these days?

While denankius can trace its origin to mockery of the imitation of saying de nada with an Anglo pronunciation thus producing the lexeme denankius its ramifications are yet to be explored.

Denankius occurs because we southwestern peeps try to do a reduplication, a rhyme if you will. tenkius, denankius.

Denankius arises as a silly imitation to try to be anglo-speaking as well though only to signal that the speakers is not an anglo-speaker. From a phonological perspective this is highly possible because the slide from a fricative to a velar is not hard at all.

Also notice how easy it is to apply certain anglo grammar rules to new espanglish words, de nada, two words become as a compound once the transformation has occurred.

A closer research for the post of the day provides interesting results:

Denankius in google

Post originally appeared, though under different circumstances in Xicano hasta las madres.

With the English Only debate raging across the states of the US and a personal conclusion along the linguistic lines of learning a new language there is much to be said regards the topic at hand.

English Only is one of those distracting issues which political Republicans in the dual political establishment of Washington tend to chew at every now and then to draw attention away from the electorate. Nothing like a thorny and contentious issue to give beleaguered leaders a fresh breath of air. I personally don’t understand how in the world a language can save identity or strengthen it when language, and I speak from experience, is nothing more than a communications tool best manipulated by people who know languages and not by so-called nativists and monolinguals who are too lazy to even bother to research their language beyond the charms of the dialectal aspects that make up a given population. And I suppose that English Only proponents might find the English language the most natural language for the US but alas! by applying said thinking they are exacting a price on the Americas still fresh out from colonial rule. Forget the most natural languages of America, those spoken by natives of the land.

The most curious thing of the English Only gang is that they want to do their bidding in a democratic fashion by squashing all forms of attempt to communicate with the government in none other language than English hence creating a so unamerican institution such as a hierarchy between those who know and those who don’t know and their meddlesome middlemen otherwise known as translators. Which is ironic in some fashion because that would mean that the democratic principle of one man one vote would in effect exclude said votes inasmuch as voting in America is a federal institution who, if there will be such a mandate to implement, create a transloacracy peddling interpretations at the best price. I can now see the interests group market drooling that a new cadre of power peddlers are creating their own niche and the commissions they will exact to them for stomping on their grounds. This may sound dirty but it seems that those proposing their own agenda to fulfill their need of belonging at the expense of others are willing to throw the baby along with the water.

Then again these days it is not so much about democratic ideas but of extreme principles and dire consequences isn’t it? We must heed the cry of the leaders that decry the sky is falling. It has happened before and it will happen again, so there. Embolden the bilinguals of America to take a stand, they ought and we ought to raise our voice once and for all to this silly notion that America the Great only speaks English, caca de toro sayeth I.

*

Well, I finally realized the futility of it all. Learning a third language has cost me my dignity, my self esteem and countless hours of intense and embarrassing pain that still manages to kick in a pang or two as we speak. The excruciating pain I tell you. O-uch10.

To put it simply it has not been worth it. I suppose that I could of chosen a more lenient language variant other than the Swedish one but I ended up with this one due to family and unlike friends well one can’t choose that either. Please, allow me to expound.

What has made me to come to such a drastic decision, and some have said superfluous and ludicrous at some point during the past 2 weeks where I have ventilated said dangerous and precarious period in my life, well ten years of trying to master the Swedish language, that’s what, I have retorted randomly in minor tones as well as exaggerated ones and at times, I do confess, with a tad of irritation in my voice which has thrown some of my acquaintances off guard, no doubt partly due to some intoxicating spirits. And some impatience of mine to thwart off the masses appeal of learning a third language so positive in society. There has not been any positives in acquiring a new language as of far. At least not in the everyday if you will.

Learning Swedish has been a gateway to many treasures, yes, one cannot deny the fact of that yet on the other hand it has also been a constant source of irritation on one account. I am not sufficiently proficient at it to make my point come across. There, I said it, am not a good Swedish speaker. So learning a third language does bring its limitations along with it and that is that one must be ready to surrender the I of one’s constitution and let it be thrown to the hungry and savage beasts of ignorance to be had for brunch and leftovers. Either that or I am a jinxed motherfuck who has been lotted nothing but unkind and unfriendly sentients on this earth of ours all whilst I try to communicate with the so-called earthlings on this far fetched patch of mostly frozen dirt. Yes, I am reduced to nil every time my mouth opens to communicate in Swedish. This has been hard to endure because I have sacrificed personal development at the expense of trying to be understood, and I pray feverishly most of the times for it, halfways.

Swedish people will not meet you halfway when learning a new language. They will neither try to correct you nor they will try to finish your thoughts thereby creating a bridge for a common understanding. The pro’s an con’s of this attitude I have not weighted with earnest and I only mention it here because I have a grudge at it. I am most certain there is a positive in their attitude towards Swedish language learners yet I fail to grasp the purpose in it. This attitude as only left me rueful at best.

But the important thing here about my firm, unwavering adherence to the judgment upon my third language learning is that it limits me as a person in the everyday. Speaking Swedish means a certain death for me as a person because I cannot fully express myself. I can at most present a half cooked notion of my full potential and pray it is welcomed with open arms yet that seldom happens.

what this decade needs foremost
is a Richie Valens

lyrics here

In the business of brain development.

Jode, that surely doesn’t pay off.

Finally, I think I pretty much got rid of all the readers that I accumulated over the years. Intrinsic nihilism what not.

Well, not entirely, I am afraid that I have to be more honest in my rudeness.

Fact of the matter is that I am a trilingual writer. No if’s and’s or but’s, fair and square I must admit that being the trilingual as I so often laud ain’t a piece of cake. I often argued that there was no diference between languages since in the rock bottom end I am but one person who happens to master three languages. I argued, in all earnest, that I am the sum of all those languages hence I should have been able to be a consistent writer in the aforementioned languages. Alas! I wasn’t.

I suppose if I kept my opinions shorter these might contribute towards a smoother and more manageable enterprise. This so happens to be my achiles heel. I tend to write long pieces and this tends to wear me out. So writing in three languages is no easy task.

If I count the days when I did manage to write reasonable bits of text based elocutions then the numbers will not tend to be impressive at all.

Since the balance of the past years, a little more than 3, has been heavily tilted to Spanish it is Spanish where you will find more consistency in blogging as far as daily entries are concerned. Neither English nor Swedish can match the overwhelming expression of thought that I have dedicated to it using Spanish as the language medium to express said thinking.

Spanglish gets token use, few pieces in my repertoire of blog entries in both Spanish and English.

Truth be I am mostly a Spanish writer. So far. I say so because I believe I have finally come to a point were the things I had to say in Spanish have practically been said. I find myself leaning more towards the germanic aspect of the linguistic sphere that dominates my thought process.

The experience has been enriching for a number of reasons. One, I found out I am not the language I speak but that which I use.

This tends to cause a tectonic shif in a host of values. Were I am a certain value carrier in the one language this vale tends not to directly be carried over to the next language. Most monolinguals will fail to appreciate the last cognitive piece. Monolinguals will tend not to experience beyond their own point of reference that their language gives them. There is no trascendence beyond what Spanish calls as a cosmovision. That is, the realm that encompasses every language. I suppose politicians of all sorts tend to argue for the nativists approach, after all, it is easier to deal with monolinguals than bilinguals.

The power of the word never ceases to impress me. Especialmente cuando esas palabras conforman parte del lienzo donde se pinta al ser que supuestamente debería corresponder a la imagen que las palabras muestran. This becomes moreso a truth on the internet where the word adquieres ready made power, so much is taken for granted that one does not immediately realize it. El messenger es uno de esos aparatos que le dan a la palabra su poder más intoxicante. I can tell someone “It is 6am here and am having a glass of whisky”. This will usually induce incredubility at first. Todo lo que tengo que hacer es matar esa incredubilidad. “Yes, it’s true”. Esta confirmación hará despertar en el lector opuesto una serie de reacciones morales que pintaran la imagen de mi ser en el lienzo de su mente. What the reader at the other end doesn’t realize is that this may or may not be true; the word is taken at face value and it must be believed in order for it to become “true”. Y es más fácil creer que dudar, me lo imagino, pocos son los que se toman la molestia de tomar esos comentarios como “juegos” mentales. So the reader at the end will believe my written words as if we were sitting together in some cozy lounge somewhere facing each other eye to eye. El poder de la palabra en estos medios es increible. Surprise, it is not called lying, it is called mind control, manipulation of the image one wishes to present to others, ambiguity is after all a pursuable goal in the written letter. Es lo que más da prestigio, imitar pues a la mentira es la meta.

One really must fight this sort of imagery that the word tries so deceptivily to imprint on our minds. Lo peor que puede suceder es que termines como una pintura de Jackson Pollock.

There is an element of faith involved in writing for the internet crowd. El blog es otro de esos mecanismos donde la palabra se aloja creando imágenes de uno que pueden o no pueden corresponder al autor del blog. The blog and it’s author are intimately related with one another; one cannot escape the mutual dependency that exists between the blog and the writer. No es como un libro, el libro existe aparte del autor. Then again, this may or may not be true en México where it is not uncommon to treat the book and the author as one and the same; there is a cult for authors and these latter ones derive great respect for having written a book. Me imagino que esto es un modo de ser pre-hispánico, donde los escritores eran una clase aparte, no sé, puedo estar equivocado.

So the word paints images of one. ¿Qué más hacen sino evocar? I tend to evoke the past. Me gusta acordarme, pintar esos paisajes del pasado. I like to paint images with the word; it is stimulating. La ficción eso es, una imagen, se presenta una imagen alterna a lo que es creible. Fiction grants a license to lie until your toes twigle in delight. Mas yo sostengo que la palabra, al menos que estes presente, y sólo bajo ciertos críterios, siempre es ficción. Which criteria could that be? Se reduce a ciertas frases que sólo son verdades porque son verificables justo en el momento en que se dicen, suelen ser frases que tienen relación inmediata con la realidad presente. “I have a bruise on my wrist” is a phrase that one can readily test against these notions of true and false that so haunts us in the every day. Lo puedo confirmar, podría mostrar interes, “a ver” y si el susodicho sujeto me lo muestra y lo confirmo con mis ojos, entonces las palabras esas adquieren el matiz de “la verdad”. But if I hear “I went to Egypt yesterday”, there is no way in hell that I might ever with all certitude know that that which was uttered is true. Por lo menos no es tan fácil de confirmar lo anterior.

But off course, not everyone worries about these notions when they write, that is why it is so easy to believe the written word as it appears, or as the word is. Por eso cuando la gente escribe se ve como “su verdad” sease esa credibilidad que se le ascribes verdad o falsa. There is no time to waste on the vericity factor.

Y eso es lo que diferencia a ciertos lectores de otros lectores. To read is an arduous job but one that one can live with in order to fill the canvas of ones mind even more richer; life’s rich tapestry. So hay que luchar contra la imagen creada por la palabra, saber distinguir y sobretodo darle tiempo al ojo de la mente análisar las imágenes que se plasman en el lienzo de la mente pues el palete del pintor lo proporcianas tu.

When I go the market I look for fresh produce be it vegetables, fruits or, je! beer.

Yet the brits somehow have a weird and twisted meaning to it that just baffles the living daylights out of my Xicano skull.

Israel in fresh Lebanon strikes

Fresh fighting on Lebanon border

Fresh Lebanon bombing kills three

Dozens die in fresh Lebanon raids

E-u.

From now on we just look for produce.

On other unrelated scenarios of the anima kind:

I got to thinking if the Generals ’round the planet didn’t wish the good ‘ol days before internet were back in vogue.

Jíjole, am sure more than one is whishing it could work in peace.

Después del todo, speculation hasn’t had brisky business since, well, newspapers came up with the idea that reporting on the elites was good business.

Generals ’round the world are set against a magnifying glass which scrutinizes their every move for, dios mio! profit.

Place your bets on the odds.

More and more businesses across the world speculate on conflicts and how generals will react.

Poor souls, can’t do their jobs in peace and quiet anymore.

I can’t help notice the noise that the right wingnuts make regards Aztlán and Chicanos and the whole culture clash enchilada. Specially English.

I still have a few problems with English. I grew up never feeling that English was part of me. It was a terrible atmosphere. Every vowel, every consonant got the third degree. You can imagine how that makes a brown kid feel surrounded by adults telling you that you don’t speak English when all along that is all you ever do.

The pocho phenomenon is a reaction to this constant language tit for tat in California. Pochos just realize what we dummier chicanos refuse by resisting full assimalitation: they integrate and merge in the culture forgetting and asserting their americanness at the cost of Spanish and our culture. At least they skip the language pains that are detrimental for later self-steem.

Up to this day I still don’t feel American enough. Though I am. It is easy to put in words and write down, yes, am American, pocho, chicano, watcha gonna do about it? Another to live it.

For many of us, English has always been a language of repression. The language that white americans use to put us down because our language alas! merge with our Spanish and churns out new sounds that are alien to ‘real’ English speakers.

That is why many Xicanos seek themselves to academia, to heal themselves, to prove the very thing they have always suspected, that they are American, that there is nothing wrong them.

I don’t know why gringos always feel we are never American and just wish they stopped there but they don’t. They have to have proof that we are Americans. Gringo Americans will always deny our existence. They are not ready to admit that our history is tied to the land and that even though part of our history doesn’t appear in English it sure does appear in Spanish. Why are they ready to deny us our existence as a people baffles me. It is almost as if they believe so much in their destiny, their place in history, that there is no room for nothing more tham white America in the good ol’ US.

We all remember that afternoon. The clouds hung at an uncomfortable low and the heat made the humidity stick. It was then the town council in all its wisdom had decided to pass a non-bilingual bill, despite the majority of the town’s opposition to it.

What hurt more was councilman Richard Rodriguez vote. He, raised amongst the locals, turned his back against his own folk.

- “Why, just last night he come over to take a’drink wit me, that bastad!” lauded Tauwny.

Tauwny was an immigrant from French Guyana and appealed most fervently of all for the dual capacity bilinguals have only to fall into deaf ears. The future couldn’t look bleaker for him. He had two sons and every February the third made a curios display of patriotism by taking out a flag no one but him knew where it came from. The vote had barely passed by a slight majority, and as the crowd gathered in front of the municipal building, the politicians where getting ready to read a statement to announce the town’s continuance of a monolingual policy for all.

Albert Villahermosa had been ambivalent throughout the debacle. His forefathers had moved from the city of Torreón in the state of Coahuila to what is now known as the San Joaquin Valley in California but then just another town in Alta California, not long before the American invasion of 1848 led then by Commodore Stockton. His great grandmother, or bisabuela as he would know her, would tell him “not to many freckled faced boys roamed the streets yet back then.” He was a fluent mexican spanish speaker but barely had need to use it except at family gatherings where he would endure a host of questions regarding his “Mexican-ness”.

He looked on the mass of people, wondering just what was he doing there amongst the throngs of angry people demanding that the city council reverse its vote. English after all, he thought in the back of his head, was what united everyone. It was the bridge that made this multicultural town what it was.

He headed homewards. That night, Angela, his wife of three years, had made a special dinner, mole, a chocolate spice sauce dish that Albert loved and as he readied himself to sit comfortably in the dinner table he heard on the radio that a protest had turned into a scuffle and Tauwny had been arrested for punching Councilman Rodriguez in the face. He could distinctly hear Tauwny’s voice in the background, yelling “traitor, traitor!”, as he was being dragged on while the radio reporter continued to report live from City Hall. Angela could be heard saying a few pity words for Tauwny but not much that moved Albert into a civic mood to go and demand Tauwny’s release, although the issue of bilingualism had slowly crept into his mind as the night passed on.

The next morning proved decisive for the whole town, during the course of the night many residents had gone out and held a vigil for Tauwny. They nearly broke the windows of Councilman Rodriguez car, had it not been for Sheriff Gonzalez timely intervention, although many would later wonder maliciously where had he been at the time of the punch that gave Councilman Rodriguez a black eye. A few had ventured to suggest that it was because he too had been on the pro-bilingual wagon but others spoke out plainly that it was because it had more to do with his insurance business where Rodriguez had recently taken out a policy insuring the 1956 Desoto he owned.

On the way to work, Albert met with disgruntled and sleepless neighbors who wondered where had he been all night while the town’s very essence was at stake. He shook his head in bewilderment at the utterance of those fancy words unable to answer quite right until he met his cousins walking by.

- Hey! Wuz up cuz? Were where’ya last night? Thought you be ‘round but I never caught sight of you …
- I went straight home from work, I was tired.
- Yeah, well, tomorrow were gonna be at it again till they change that fucking law, are you comin’?
- Don’t know, well see.

He never really understood his cousins; they didn’t even speak spanish although they belonged to the 1848 Committee. A group that demanded that the lands he grew up in be given back to México. As he walked by his neighborhood, he pondered what it was to be bilingual. Though he didn’t come to a clear conclusion as to its significance or its bearing to his town or himself. Worse yet, he was beginning to feel uncomfortable with the whole idea of this discussion coming up so high as the to waste precious council time and taxpayers money on such a, what he considered to be, trivial business.

He pondered about the language he first heard at home, the one that nurtured him and the one language that soothed him so much whenever he came home from school. His mother tongue as it were. It was the language of the house, the one mama and papa spoke. The one he discovered the world with, the one that first made him cry and the one that first made him laugh but also the one language that left him so many scars. He remembered all too well how his teachers would chastise him whenever homely vowels blurted out of his mouth but that were foreign to the teacher: “greasy language” the teacher would decry. At one point he adamantly refused to speak that wretched language. A choice that only brought him acrimonious chastisement closer to home and in the streets, the children would call him “beaner” and make him feel a stranger in the only land he ever knew.

- “Spanish has been nothing but trouble for me and I don’t want that for my children, that’s for sure”, he thought.

At work there weren’t to many bilinguals so the topic never really came up and the day proceeded as normal until the waterman came by.

- Hey Albert, how is it going? Heard what happened last night?
- Yeah, pitiful ain’t it?
- What?! You mean you stand by those crooked gringos ese?
- Well, not really, well…, I don’t really know you see …
- Well would you look at’cha! You’re the only mexican here and yet you wonder, how cozy homes! Meanwhile, us little guys who’ve been here before these gringos ever came to run our lives and are now telling us how to speak have to fight for our very existence.

Albert just stared; it never occurred to him that he was being run over by people who until this time had been his co-workers, neighbours, friends and associates. Albert didn’t have any more strength to continue the conversation and walked away from the water fountain leaving the waterman shaking his head. That the whole issue had come to his work was more than he could tolerate and made it a point to get the issue out of his head for the rest of the day.

Then, it dawned upon him. The division of the town was the division he had so long felt within himself. Never really belonging here or there, always having to choose sides. Yet essentially, whatever it was that made him who he was, a straddler, a walker of in-betweeness, a hyphen between the anglo and the mexican and the rest of the world, it was also happening out there in the streets. He walked back to his office shaken by the realization. All along, since he was a child, translating for his mother, speaking for his father whenever they went to shop or do some business with the rest of the community he had to be the middleman between two worlds in his town. Now he understood what it was the throngs that so baffled him were all about. He thought pensively for the rest of the day and decided to take a stance.

On his way home, the issue of bilingualism had died down, the city council had backed down from its stance and Tauwny was free. The town went about its business in a regular fashion and Angela awaited to tell him of the funny language his son uttered, a mixture of English and Spanish, they called it spanglish. Albert now stood feeling better about his new identity. His new self to the point of considering running against counculman Rodriguez only to later recant, “one step at a time” he thought, looking outside the window of his house as life returned to its normalcy to his beloved city.

I shall no longer be subjected or fall into that treacherous pit, I am mexican Xicano and I speak english as a primary source of communication. I shall no longer care or worry that my brethen down south or within our culture think I may have gone lost with no return. I was born in no man land’s, it is my natural state. I shall no longer partake in the mourning or loss of this or that culture because I no longer speak spanish. I have matured, I am mexican, I am gringo, I am those two, I am Xicano.

Though I speak english I talk mexican Xican@. If the spanish speaking majority find this as regrettable I find it sad that they would come to that conclusion for I am mexican Xicano though I speaketh the anglosaxonist tongue. Spanish does not have a sole right to the mexican culture, nor do their other dialects. I am an expression of that mexicanness regardless of that ostricism that some practice to obligate, force their view of their ways to people like me. I am Mexican Xicano and I speak english. So weep not that I may have lost this or that caracteristic of my race, celebrate fool! Celebrate for this is the dawn of a new culture, a culture that is yours, mine theirs, american!

To the very contrary as supposed and mourned I preserve, I retain those values, I used to be though of another opinion. I used to feel obligated to preserve, no longer is such thinking the mana of my soul, I now know that I am because I have that which you have said I no longer have, though I ceasesly tried to convince you otherwise, I now know that that thinking is akin to racism, you want to me to be different from you. Though I am not, for I am an extension of that expressión and as such a part of you.

When you say I am lost and that I have lost my culture not only do you denigrate my culture but you also denigrate my familia which has learned to love me for who I am.

I have always wondered why the mexican government hasn’t really taken advantage of the bilingual population that it has alongt its 3000 kilometer long border con los gabachos. I mean it’s an increible asset right? people who actually understand bilateral communication, but no, few, like counted in the fingers of a hand, can say they actually work as they wish or could to their utmost potential for the mexican government. The fact is that ideology still permeates to the hilt the relation between the native of the Baja or for that matter entire 3000 border population and the centrist macho I am mexican at all costs burocratic employee in Los Pinos.

Such is the case as well in the US of A.

It seems as though that the English love affair with China and India has more than seeped into the anglo gene, I mean, you’d think that América Latina would stand in priority A one list over at the Washington offices, but no, last if not the very end of a reminder thought like a comets tail it is seen that América Latina is here, on our backyard or should I say home?

As far as Xican@s are concerned the matter is far more important than matters should suggest.

Ten years have now gone since The Tomás Rivera Foundation sponsored by the Stanley Foundation in collaboration with The Tomás Rivera Center gave out a little pamphlet called Latinos, Global Change, and American Foreign Policy Report of a New American Global Dialogue Conference October 7 – 9, 1994.

I have always reckoned that the ‘new’ in that sentence has always meant the introduction of Mexicans into the close-knit circles of the anglo Washingtonean spheres.

Here are some ideas that the little pamphlet highlighted for the reader:

”…to promote an exchange of ideas … about the current and future role of Latinos in US foreign relations”

”…because of this new environment, Latinos may increase their influence over the direction of American global activities.”

”…regional and group agendas have come to the forefront to displace the national perspective of the past.”

”…many Latinos are already substantially involved in the foreign relations process”

“One of the more daunting challenges for Latinos is making explicit the common interests that may unify them.”

“The chances for unification are better as Latinos understand that their domestic converns are directly linked to global issues.”

“Latinos are uniquely suited and situated to link the United States to emerging Latin American markets.

That was then, the matter is that things remain more or less the same. Latinos are still seen as nothing but canon fodder either for the war machine that Washington greases its power like a liftweighter might with steroids or as a little gimmick to the rest of the world that the US of A takes into account all of its race sectors in its now in serious doubt democratic society; in which case we are but the less for it and far away from the 15 minutes Warhol stated everyone has a right to.

So there are dualities in Xicano bilingualism. However, I believe that what am about to divulge here covers pretty much trilinguals and quatrilinguals as well because in essence that which I have in mind is language shifting that is, adjusting one’s way of speech according to one’s environment.

So it does not matter if Xicanos, who by the way not all speak Spanish as their first language nor English, know two or three languages. In fact it could very well be that said Xicanos have an indigenous language already so that by default they are trilingual inasmuch as they not only shift between the Anglo world they must also shift languages style when they confront the Mexican Spanish world.

Ok, what I have in mind is the following and all because I was standing in one of the cafeterias at Stockholm’s University minding my own xicano business when my eyes suddenly came to a table where three young people sat and talked. Two were girls of obvious middle eastern background and a swede. What caught my xicano attention and started my cogs on the go was that they spoke what seemed to me a very Stockholm Swedish, that is, to put in equivalent xicano terms, the girls were speaking as if a xicano spoke like a white dude or dudess for that matter.

It made me reminisce about my old California days. I used to live in Redwood City, (Bay Area) were talking the old RWC with its little Michoacan town and all. However since I was so-called “illegally” in the US I had to adjust a lot so as to “pass off” as a native. Never mind that I spent quite a few years of my infancy there as well, hence the English, but that is another story for another post. At any rate this situation meant that I had to spend, according to my very young logic then, time away from the “mexicans” and so I lived and worked basically in Menlo Park, güero town as güero gets. My English changed dramatically from one that was purely Chicano to and all out assimilated English, in fact, I know this because I used to get recriminations about it every time I called my relatives and they remarked and answered as if I was a gringo.

So there is a duality in our manner of speaking which raises several interesting ideas regards the sole identity of the Xicano in Califas, Aztlán.

Am nearly certain that we are still doing this in Califas, the question is, when are we going to stop doing this and what will it mean?

The phoneme /w/ [a voiced labio-velar approximant, lip rounding] has multiple and productive sounds in the spanglish and espanglish Xicano community.

For us there are choices to be made between:

Güey, huey and wey
Güero, huero and wero
What, guat and huat
Wacatelas, guacatelas and huacatelas (seldom seen written as thus)
Wacha
Wayno (although to english this is better represented by why-no)
Wachatelas
Wuacara, guacara
Wacha (watch) (notice the eliptic u [it sounds as guacha]once it is pronunced in espanglish)

The fact is that this phoneme has various representations when it comes to the written spanglish/espanglish Xikano language.

However, there is a clear distinction once it is blurted out of ones mouth.

I particularly noticed this in my trip to Mexico City. They had a curios expression going on there. More than several times I noticed that people responded with a what? when addressed, although their what sounded more like a guat with a /g/ (clear and distinct velar stop), and were, for the most part, unable to render a clear and pure /hw/.

The curios thing about this phenomenon is that it would seem to appear that it is stricly a border phenomena.

Note: Especially in AmE and Scots, there exists two allophones of /w/ that actually become separate phonemes, /w/ and /hw/. The /hw/ is a voiceless labiovelar approximant, like a /w/ with a puff of air (an /h/) to start it off. It normally is spelled with [wh-], as in [what, where, whistle, whoop]. It is becoming increasingly rare in EngE and has no major significance in AmE, some people using it and others not.

Note: Like /j/, /w/ is a semivowel; they are proniunced like vowels, but function like consonants. (notes: David Minugh, Stockholm University)

The point here is that there is a semi-vowel shift going on just now in the border towns, which makes for a pretty interesting thang, so yeah, that.

Recientemente Osito came up con la idea of a diccionario en spanglish. I wholeheartedly think que es viable. Pero one must be careful sobre las variantes de spanglish. There is lo que I call Spanglish and (e)spanglish (otherwise known as border lingo). El spanglish es un phenomenon que se da en Los, (USA); el (e)spanglish in Mexico.

Spanglish, I have said en differentes ocasiones, is more like the cosas we used to say with amigos and the like. La people se impresionaba de our modo de talk, code-switch era la word que abrio el path para toda una culture que poco by little se afirmaba. We, los suit suiters, los cholos y all ese talk of low class chicanos se hizo un badge de honor. It was our lengua and it still is, de hecho, it is so new, that it hasn’t even finished being popular. Hay unos pockets de resistencia here and alla pero son considered como ignorantes and the like. Gone estan los days que la people se ashamed de escuchar how we speakeabamos, de acuse us de raza who didn’t know ni una ni la other lengua. Ese era el argument then, pero se hears aqui and alla still, una small nagging minority.

Mas el spanglish de Los se diferencia markedly con el (e)spanglish del mexican border pueblos like mine, Tijuana, pues en Los el estratum es patently obvio. Hay Xicanos of generations and then there is Xicanos like me who are first generation pero que aprendieron el english right away como un native. Then there are los immigrantes. Xicanos employ muchas veces, code-switch and calo, slang proper to our cultura. Pero como we can’t detach ourselves de nuestros parents we also pick up los tries que hacen nuestros fathers and madres to adapt to la new culture. They speak and add a new variant to the english language. It is from those sectores que el spanglish feeds itself as well, son palabras que ellos use in spanish pero que son words in english. De este array de words other things in the linguistica came to el conociemiento de us. Calque es one of them, por ejemplo, many confuse la libreria as the library when la libreria is a bookshop y el otro is la biblioteca. Words que son usadas por those que no understand el ingles are such como, vacumear, apodar (no, its not to nickname), groseria (no, its not to curse or cuz out and others that I borrowed from our good friend Nelson. There are other more tecnical terms to differenciate estos fenomenos in spanglish pero asi lo vamos a leave por esta time.

El (e)spanglish es un phenomenomen que da in border towns. Son words que nos llegan from Los and there were no traducciones directas to it in spanish, por alguna reason u la other. Asi que la people se apropiate it them y las usan for si. Palabras like troca, brekear, mofle, birria, daime, nickle, cora, vaipin, sueter, zipper, batear, cachear, pichar, and many other that postearee later offer una gama diferente al spanglish. Inclusive there are also incursiones sintacticas del english al spanish already in the spanish populations del border.

So, eso es just un little de lo que nos awaits if we pull off este diccionario para la raza, good luck Osito, and hay mas where this came from ese.

http://www.spainview.com/spanglish.html

http://members.tripod.com/~nelson_g/spanglish.html

In English I am a rabid atheist. I frankly don’t believe in the paranormal when it is told in the English language even though my mexican culture is filled with it, however, told in Spanish, I am more prone to believe it.

The belief systems are of another kind in these languages. The belief system in Spanish has an aura like attitude towards it. Usually what happens is that when you hear a story about a paranormal event in Spanish it happens through a medium that has been used through centuries in our culture: oral narration. This puts you face to face with the narrator and hence, I believe the belief trigger is more apt to accept said events ‘as probable’. ( notice that even as a write this in English my attitude is one of resistance) In English, it usually doesn’t happen that people tell each other those kind of stories, face to face, unless you are at campfire and even there it occurs collectively. It so happens that when one does come across those paranormal stories they tend to occur in the third person and distant from one, prepackaged in nice little news bits and therefore more liable to be questionable.

For those of you who are monolinguals this would seem quite odd indeed, because it raises several questions no doubt but most importantly, what does this fragment say about language, belief, and how the brain works?

First of all, how is it possible to believe in paranormal activity in one language but no the other? Alas! The human constitution is not as stable as one might possibly think, just as the planet with its seemingly stable and daily routine gives us the impression that everything remains the like forever so does the body. The truth is that the planet can go haywire any minute of our lives, the poles can change, and earthquakes can hit us and change the course of our lives in just a second. The body with its many liquids and chemicals are like the ocean under the influence of the moon, except that in our case every other human being we meet are each one of those like a moon rotating around us and under the pull of our gravity.

This can most easily be proven if you are abroad, regardless of the country that you are from the minute you leave it one amazing thing begins to happen: you begin to see and recognize your own kind. It is a feat that it is nearly dormant and occurs only every now and then in your place of birth, you can tell when someone is a foreigner. Abroad this sort of recognition radar has a mystical aura to it. I believe that establishes how the body is not as consistent as it might seem although language might give the illusion that things are firm, monolinguals seem more prone to stick to one sort of belief in practice, they might read about others but not incorporate it.

The curios thing about languages is that there are image carriers and therefore agents of change. When a bilingual is raised its not only passively taking in words and an accent free language, it is also taking in adaptation methods to deal with the many contrast that exist between cultures, for example, I carry the Mexican and American culture within and they are deeply rooted in my soul. This has produced a middle ground in me that it is referred to by many as Chicanismo. The thing is that the human soul cannot exist too long in caos and a sense of normalcy must abide every now and then therefore the culture clash that every Chicano/Chicana experiences is felt to be safer blending these two cultures to form one. Chicanos are most readily able to accept change and adaptation because that is their life training, finding the middle ground. Experience dictates as well how one is to react with the other, mores are like etiquette books for us, that is why we can change culture norms in the snap of a finger, or as linguists prefer to call it: code-switch. It is hence, possible for me to believe that in Spanish, which has a long history of telling paranormal stories to its children ( la llorana for example) to believe that this sort of thing happens since one is inculcated into it. On the other hand fairy tales and santa claus are disseminated and dissected for their belief as early as 7 years of age, we are trained in English to start questioning those stories and argue vehemently that they are not “real”. A factor I believe has more to do with evangelists fervent impulse and influence on American society to root out all evil in all aspects of society.

What it says about the brain is that the brain is elastic and gooey-like and thus able to function within several or more ways of dealing with life and its myriad manifestations so-called cultures. The brain then is independent from culture and thus more universal than one can imagine, the brain is not the property of any one society; how we incultate the brain manifests itself in the way we react and respond to each other. The brain is religions worst enemy, one would safely conclude since it can betray faith in all manners, perhaps that is why many revolt at the very idea of changing religions, it sickens them not because they abandoned their faith but because they too can fall prey to the brains brainy ideas of independence from the yoke of unilateralism.

Ok, little by little I’ve managed to notice some things about my writing. The energy I place on the subjects I like need to be taken into account in which language they sound best …not.

Reading some of the articles on Chicano English (ChE) has been quite the rewarding event. It seems, first of all that there isn’t really a consensus about whether there is such a thing as ChE, typical isn’t it? Worse yet the bickering that we have out there in our big family about what to call us seeps all the way through academic papers in linguistics as well. So far I’ve read about three articles on it and they use everything from Che, MAE (Mexican American English) to English of people of mexican descent …jejeje qué mamones really. Anyways, the features for ChE is unlike AAVE. They (AAVE) speak a dialect but we seem to still be out in the patent office somewhere held up, apparently what researchers are befuddled about is the constant input of Spanish in our English.

Unlike the a-prefixing that dominates in AAVE, or third personal use of pronouns and possessives amongst other features typical of AAVE, (ChE) has only to its favor the prosody, that is, the way we talk when no gringo is around.

So the big question is still out there, is our english a dialect or not? Can I say, with all assurances, ” órale homes, I speaketh Chicano English ese …” ?

The buzzwords here are interference, code-swithching, and other bilingual goodies.

Granted, but my research ain’t done yet …so hold your breath while I see how we incorporate our special kind of English into the national conscious of the USA.

It seems to me, since I have experienced it and lived it, that when it comes to writing, the essence, the emotion of what you want to say is independent of language. For me, at least, this is proof that what I feel is a pure an unique feeling which is separate from language.

I say this because in the past couple of days I have been busily engaged only with one of my mother tongues, Spanish. Curiously enough, since I feel that I need to write everyday in all my languages to improve said skills, that is writing skills, when I get to the point of wanting to write in English, I don’t know if it is due to exhaustion or laziness, but I feel that I have said that which I needed to have said for that day.

If that is the case, then there is really no point to the argument that one language is better than the other to express this or that since the core source of inspiration is the inner self, independent of language …

Of course, this feeds well in to my argument that the written language is in the stone ages, why? because it leaves one sorely unsatisfied that that which we wanted to express via written ways falls short of telling all …

Well, suffice to say my spanish blog has sucked a lot of time out of me and it’s because my blog community is so responsive to the text I write and I believe I have developed a sort of friedship with some of them. Well, after all they are from my native city and we have lots of common, I just can believe how great this blogger thing can be! I know, I sound so cliché but it’s true! I just love it.

Anyways, our good friend Logovo answered an observation on a blog post in Spanish [ Tijuana en el Exilio : Thursday, April 17, 2003 ] I made regarding the direct translation of a well known phrase in English ( I can’t believe I just did that ) to Spanish. It sounded foreign in Spanish, because it is not lexicalized (yet) in Spanish, so I pointed it out to her and she so kindly said:

Direct translation… yep, it’s just in my system. This is what happens when I’m trying to say something but my brain will provide me with only one way of saying it. It knows that it’s given an answer and refuses to make an effort to search any further. ” (my italics)

Now, bear in mind that the following text am about to write here is in response to the text and as my Creative Writing teacher Jon Buscall says: you are attacking the text, not the person in question.

I refuse to believe the above mentioned assertion because I know how a bilingual brain works, I had one for 36 years.

I believe in incubation, I think that if you leave the problem in your head long enough, it will provide a solution to the translation issue in question.

However, this is the tricky thing about being bilingual: you must do maintenance work. If you do not balance how you feed your languages it will turn into a lopsided affair.

This happened to me not long ago. The thing is that I only took care of English, you see, I only read and developed my ideas in English. I left Spanish to its own devices, and that’s why many point out that Spanish is the language of the house.

That’s why you can relate when I say that English is more of an “intellectual” issue for me, since I have overdone the idea department to an English only area.

Are casseroles flying yet?

Being trilingual has caused interesting activities in my brain.

Although I’ve never had any problems with Spanish and English sharing the same mass of grey matter, it seems that English and Swedish are just being too concomitant with each other, like lost cousins they intermingle. They’ve cozied up too much producing a dissonance in my phonological sphere. Words just sound too familiar with one another and what I think is right and makes perfectly good grammatical sense turns to be later a hybrid of sorts, specially in the preposition (a closed area) areas. I am glad that I have a high metalinguistic awareness, because I hate to go through life speaking Spanwednglish.

For example, yesterday I confused until with unto, (the Swedish negation word inte, could it also be somehow involved here?). The discrepancy in sound is very limited although I would assume that monolinguals would have no problems in identifying this word no pro. However, and not to digress but to expound, there is also a possible phonetic sway. The dark l, I’m gringo American, easily can be confused by what phoneticians call a minimal pair with the sound of the vowel o. Until – unto [inte ?]. Just a small difference, nonetheless, It troubles me to make this discovery in my head.

Further commenting on this issue shall be duly noted. It must happen when am the most taxed, hence, the reason mornings are best for me.

When it comes to languages it seems to me rather curious the stance some people take. I remember as a child how embarrassed I was to speak Spanish. I recall how one day we came to my grandmother’s in TJ and how, in spite of being raised by her, and just only two years before all I spoke was Spanish I claimed not to. English was my de facto lingua. Later, as I grew I did everything in my power to disguise my Spanish accent to the point of only thinking, eating, walking and peeing in English.

However, we are products of our environment and the oppressive years in California, oppressive for me because I lived in such an environment, Spanish was worst than the black plague, it gave you away as a foreigner, in your own country. Unknowingly we youth, as we grew older resorted to a much vile new form of language that everyone from México to Spain disliked, much as Estuary English in London. Spanglish was only spoken then by pochos. Later it became a badge of sorts of pride, to distinguish our unique culture, because we had two cultures, we had things that couldn’t be expressed in neither language except by code-switching.

Spanglish is now more popular than ever to the point of having a translated piece of art like Don Quixote, curious how the world changes.

I find it interesting to find interesting people. But these dark glasses season has got to stop, a little sunlight and suddenly non-vampires turn vampires, the sun turns into an anathema and the curses begin. Maybe it’s all in the squinting. Sweden is funny in that way. They curse the winter and they curse the sun. Of course not that I have glasses 24/7-365 on me made any difference of opinion. Or maybe it did? Gosh, the difficulties am made to face, couldn’t God, in all its might, figured out a better plan for this bloke? I mean, Jesus Christ! Give me something to chew on here …

I noticed much to my chagrin that my English is being corrupted by all sources from the UK. And it doesn’t help that WP’s correct errors because these WP’s usually tend to prefer English from England, It’s a struggle I tell ya ….May the best idiom win.