23 September 2010

Second-language writing as defense mechanism?

 Niko Besnier, in “Crossing Genders, Mixing Languages:  The Linguistic Construction of Transgenderism in Tonga” (2003), offers an explanation of code-switching that might be helpful for multilingual literary critics:

Fakaleitī code-switch for complex and diverse reasons, and in this respect they do not differ from code-switchers in all other societies of the world.  However, one of the most salient, although largely unarticulated, motivations for code-switching that this chapter has explored is the fact that the use of English represents for many fakaleitī a symbolic escape hatch out of social marginality.  The claims embedded in their use of English and their code-switching serve as an idiom of resistance against the symbolic and material oppression that they experience sas both transgendered persons and poor Tongans.”

Is it possible that Filipino writers writing in English (to take only one example of second-language writing) use English because they are marginalized in Philippine society, which uses for the most part various vernacular languages in media, books, the street, the market, and real life?  A radical thought, indeed, which has never been articulated as far as literature is concerned.

1 comment:

  1. Sir Ganni,

    Maybe, the title of this post (sept23)raises some thumbs up. I couldn't answer for others, but as for me ---- a second language like English covers for much honesty than saying it in Filipino (Filipino speaking in Filipino,

    or yes, maybe some can be marginalized

    et. al

    A question: how about saying some words in English with no malice - but why in Tagalog ---could sound so sweet or vulgar (depends on the word)?

    Good evening all

    Thanks Sir Ganni and may GOD bless po,