15 February 2009
Giving up the homeland?
Here are words from Cuba: A Cubano’s Coming-of-Age in America (1995), by Cuban-American writer Gustavo Pérez Firmat: The exile "waits to embark on a new career, to learn the language, to give up his homeland." Do these words ring true? Do writers learning a language give up their homeland? Or is this true only if they actually emigrate to another country? In the case of Filipinos, some writers still living in the Philippines appear to have given up their homeland by, for instance, forgetting that the language (English) they write in is not their mother tongue. These writers fail to exploit their advantage of having two languages to work with, as opposed to linguistically challenged monolingual writers. For example, they insist on following the grammar of American English, instead of the grammar of Philippine English, a variety of English as respectable as American or British English.