the way back

8 12 2007

Bharati Mukherjee escreve  o primeiro ensaio do livro que trata do desafio de nascer num universo linguístico e terminar escrevendo profissionalmente em inglês. O livro é “The Genius of Language: Fifteen writers reflect on their mother tongues”.

Um trecho que me chamou a atenção:

As a novelist, I now melt down the cultural borders of my legacies. The fluid concept of time inherited through Bangla’s use of kal and the “magic realism” inherited from the Hindu epics inform my writing about immigrants in North American cities. Now I write in my third language, American, another “deviant dialect” of the E. M. Forsterian British I learned as authoritative, and in which, in fact, I wrote my first novel and earliest stories.

My mother tongue was a linguistic primer, a thin white-wash over all that is pre-conscious and pre-rational. It was in English that I began to apologize. Successive coats of French and English have faceted Bangla, but it still shines through. It is the odd fate of so many of us in the global community, not just those of us from India but from other homelands at ease in family-time and epic storytelling, that a second language, a school language, was necessary to liberate their minds from their bodies, their self from their community.

Two selves exist within the language-adoptee, as with any adoptee—what might have been, what was lost, and the good fortune, the delivery from want and frustration. For a writer, the melting of a mother tongue is the madeleine, the way back, and the way in, an early loss with the deepest memory, the mother of all plots.


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