In the business of brain development.
Jode, that surely doesn’t pay off.
Genuine Xicano thinking desde Sweden ese!
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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.
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)
Wayno (although to english this is better represented by why-no)
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.
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 …” ?
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?