Sunday, September 30, 2007

Secret Languanges

Betty has been reading lots of Enlightenment thinkers who, anticipating Chomsky somewhat, dreamed of a universal language that would make manifest the equality of all men. Is it a sign, or a similie, for our sinfulness that we all speak different languages? Is esperanto the way to undo the folly of Babel?

Quite independent of this Betty's off-beat musing on the subject, this blog's Washington correspondant, Moo, weighed in:

As you well know, I like nothing better than to be surrounded by writers and people who read and care about books and recently I got to meet and talk with one of my favorite contemporary essayists, Richard Rodriguez. His first book, Hunger of Memory deals with the issue of private vs. public language. He is the son of Mexican immigrants, and writes that while his private life language was Spanish, the language of his public life in school, playground, and the streets was English. In a similar vein, Jorge Luis Borges also wrote that he thought that his family and his English nanny just spoke to him in different "ways" before he became aware that they were speaking different languages.

Since Betty and I speak different languages, and my other daughter, Little Hun, speaks even more, I am interested in this question both from a linguistic and private point of view. What is our private language? Our lingua-franca is English, but with some Spanish and Spanglish thrown in for good measure.

I am an interpreter, and interpreting for the Chinese Supreme Court Justice this morning was incredibly difficult into Spanish, but for some reason when I had to go into English it became much easier. Odd, isn't it?

This blog has many bilingual and multilingual contributors, and we encourage everyone to weigh in with their thoughts.

P.S. Just to set the record straight, No, Betty and Bimbo are NOT getting married! They do not WANT to get married. So let's just quash that rumor right here. They still live happily together and with their chi, with whom they share a sinful lifestyle and a private language.


Nancy D., Girl Detective said...

Thanks for that clarification. While I couldn't have believed it possible, having heard Betty declaim against marriage many a time, I was getting a might befuddled by all these comments on the blog. What is up with the commentors? Why this violent interest in bureaucratic errands?

Anonymous said...

we don't care if betty and bimbo get married ....but if they want to have a has to be on the island!
bt if they don'tget maried is the chi their love-child?

Montserrat Nicolás said...

nancy: interest = possible party and celebration of certain sinners. I have a hard time thinking outside the litter box...and my martini glass.

moo: "one of my favorite contemporary essayists, Richard Rodriguez"...

ok. you can look around. some window shopping is always great. however, I still know who's your favourite FEMALE ensayista. no hard feelings.

B&B&C: already planned the outfits. mainly Coo's. she would look great in pink. let's just pretend that you guys will get "married".

now, having said that, soooo many sayings in ezpagnol comes to mind:

1. 'no escupas al cielo'
2. 'si el rio suena...'
3. 'former postmodern girls of the liberal sort went kicking and screaming to hitched by TWO churches in one ceremony. and any gods in attendance just didn't strike down on the heretic. must have been the love and 5 months old Co-love (back then, happily savouring the fiesta chez uterus)...