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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.

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 »

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.

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

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