24 April 2009

Esmeralda Santiago 2

Esmeralda Santiago's self-description of speaking in Spanish while typing in English is another way of putting N.V.M. Gonzalez's statement that he writes in Tagalog using English words (which is practically identical to the statement of Bienvenido N. Santos that he writes in Capampangan using English words). We might be able to make a generalization about multilingual writing: Multilingual writers write in their mother tongues using words of other languages. Since this formulation, however, makes it appear that the writers do not think in but are merely translating into the non-mother tongues, we have to qualify it a bit: Multilingual writers think and write in their mother tongues while thinking in and using the words of other languages. That's still a rather clumsy formulation in terms of style, but as we go along, we should be able to put it in a more literary way.

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