Tag Archives: Language

I Did Not Blog En Français, But I Am Going To

Photo by Diodoro

Graffiti of Beckett by Alex Martinez

As I discovered the work of Samuel Beckett several years ago,  I read that despite being a native English speaker, he prefered to write in French, a language he felt allowed him to write ”without style”.

I could not help but wonder if that was sarcasm, especially coming from someone who’s first language was English. No offense, native English speakers, but I find your language much easier to learn and speak than French. The later is more complex, has a richer, more colorful vocabulary, and relies on grammar rules which are far more difficult that those found in English, in my opinion at least. Feel free to disagree and even contradict me. In any case, it is neither a good or bad thing. Each language has its own merits and I enjoy speaking them both. It allows me to communicate with more people, and I actually use them differently.

In the last few years, I believe I have gained a clearer understanding of what Beckett meant.

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French, Spanish, English and a Soupçon of Japanese

Language Scramble by Eric Andresen

Language Scramble by Eric Andresen

Yesterday I opened a notebook at a random page and found a chart my husband had written years ago.

The chart is titled ”Who Spoke English?” and has our initials place on top of two columns. Our intention must have been to keep track of our progress through the week, but it seems that we couldn’t keep up with our resolution to use the chart for more than two days.

It wasn’t a first, either.

When we met in Japan in February 2008, my husband and I had to speak English to understand each other. He had studied French a little but didn’t speak it at all. I had studied Spanish for three years in High School and had spent a month and a half in Nicaragua. And yet I could not manage learning Japanese, speaking French with my friends from France and Quebec, talking in English with most international students all while trying to remember Spanish. Not to mention that all my friends who spoke Spanish did so in different accents. Needless to say my brain was overwhelmed. Whenever I tried to speak Japanese, Spanish words would come to my mind.

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