mercredi 30 janvier 2013

writing in a second tongue; Beckett, Vyleta.

I write in English and in French. Writing in a foreign language, a second tongue, une deuxième langue, is a different process to writing with one's mother tongue. Naturally, the age at which one learnt the second language shapes the experience. I have only learnt and written in French as an adult. Following the Second World War, Beckett chose to write in French,"Je me remis à écrire en français avec le désir de m’appauvrir encore davantage", "I started writing in French with the desire to simplify even more". When I write in French, I am more conscience of the structure of the process. I construct a wall, align my sentences with care, place bricks slowly, spread cement. The text does not flow, it is built. The second language can induce a distance between the words and the things, the writer and the text. In the book, Interférences de langues et de cultures dans le monde francophone, they name the author's second language as a langue épousée; an expression far more poetic in French than English, translating as a married language. This Guardian article gives a little peek into Dan Vyleta's experience.

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