Sunday, June 6, 2010

Breaking the silence of polyglots

En tekst av Julia Kristeva som har vært viktig for meg... Nå at jeg leser den, er jeg uenig. Jeg finner meg ikke igjen. Jeg protesterer - høylytt! Er det hovmod som taler gjennom meg?

Not speaking one's mother tongue. Living with resonances and reasoning that are cut off from the body's nocturnal mem­ory, from the bittersweet slumber of childhood. Bearing within oneself like a secret vault, or like a handicapped child—cherished and useless—that language of the past that withers without ever leaving you. You improve your ability with another instrument, as one expresses oneself with algebra or the violin. You can become a virtuoso with this new device that moreover gives you a new body, just as artificial and sublimated—some say sublime. You have a feeling that the new language is a resurrection: new skin, new sex. But the illusion bursts when you hear, upon listening to a recording, for instance, that the melody of your voice comes back to you as a peculiar sound, out of nowhere, closer to the old spluttering than to today's code. Your awkward­ness has its charm, they say, it is even erotic, according to womanizers, not to be outdone. No one points out your mistakes, so as not to hurt your feelings, and then there are so many, and after all they don't give a damn. One nevertheless lets you know that it is irritating just the same. Occasionally, raising the eye­brows or saying "I beg your pardon?" in quick succession lead you to understand that you will "never be a part of it", that it "is not worth it," that there, at least, one is "not taken in." (…) Thus, between two languages, your realm is silence. By dint of saying things in various ways, one just as trite as the other, just as approximate, one ends up no longer saying them.

Men i ett tilfelle er jeg fremdeles litt enig i tekstens påstander. Det er når sikkert velmenende samtalepartnere spør "forstår du ordet ...?" F.eks. kahytt, sendelektor, ødemarkstillegg. Da blir jeg med ett forvandlet til en Grumpy Old Pole (GOP) og mister interessen i videre samtale...

Det er kanskje på tide å finne en annen tekst om flerspråklighet. Og Umberto Ecos "For a Polyglot Federation" er en god kandidat.

1 comment:

Lord Bassington-Bassington said...

Verden trenger mer Grumpy Old Pole!