Monday, July 09, 2007

More On Language

"To be a foreigner, but in one's own tongue, not only when speaking a language other than one's own. To be bilingual, multilingual, but on one and the same language, without even a dialect or patois. To be a bastard, a half-breed, but through a purification of race. That is when style becomes a language. That is when language becomes intensive, a pure continuum of values and intensities. That is when all of language becomes secret, yet has nothing to hide as oposed to when one carves out a secret subsystem within language. One attains this result only by sobriety, creative subtraction. Continuous variation has only ascetic lines, a touch of herb and pure water"(Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, 98).

Most of my life I have felt like a foreigner. My speech belonged neither here or there. At first it occupied a no man's land. I tried out words with my thick tongue that made no sense to those who reared me, nor to those who taught me. I practiced with that thick tongue, coaxing strange new words with complicated phonic syntax. As I grew older, I let go of the birth accent, and slipped into something undefinable. Now people make a game: Where is she from?

I am from nowhere. I am a bastard and a half-breed. Like a witch, I throw in a pinch of this and a pinch of that, stirring it all together with ocean water.


John B-R said...

We're all strangers in a strange land, aren't we. Nomads (to coin a word, eh?) not knowing where we're from or where we're going. I've been told at least a thousand times "You talk funny" and asked at least a thousand more "so where are you from?" I was even told to go back where I came from once. he didn't mean Chicago.

Ginger said...

The Deleuze section just gets better by the way. He has more to say on dialects which I'll put up once I have had some more coffee.

I get the "You talk funny" all the time.

And we are nomads, bastards in a stolen land really. This all ties into H's reading of Rodriguez...

Horacio said...

another recipe for language fun:

A little scoop of plaster mix
some coffee grounds and mud
and then she stirred it with the ladle
that her Grandmother had bought her
threw in a pot of melted wax
a forefoot and a hoof
apple core, worms galore
and a can of some corrosive

coconuts and chloroform
some wicker and some cork
Toxic waste, some purple paste
she hoped was not explosive

Reba dip a ladle for a taste of her creation
and she knew that what she make
would be the finest in the nation

Phish, Reba.