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Language, language!

Lingua franca

There are times I am gripped by what feels like a lingual fantasy. I can hear the words of a proverb in what was once my native, or at least first, language in my head, but I cannot form them. I am unable to repeat them even though they are on the tip of my tongue.

Instead, I stammer and realize the inadequacy of the attempt.

Afflictions of the tongue

What was my mother tongue is lost to me in almost every way. It remains a shadow, a memory that I cannot express. These afflictions of the tongue sometimes feel like afflictions of the heart, too.

It saddens me that the words I should be able to say are stuck in my throat. i feel like I am dreaming words that are familiar, and the dream becomes a waking nightmare of regret.

Drowning

The words I hear in my head sound as if they were under water. There is no ease in repetition. The harder I try to express them, the stucker I feel. Stuck in an adopted language, one in which I am quite adept; speaking the words of a country of choice, not birth, more fluently than I ever remember speaking the language of the country I left behind.

Nativists would argue against bi-lingualism. I, despite my ineptitude, am all for it. I would love to be able to speak well in both the languages to which I belong.

I miss the fluidity I once had in moving between two languages, the gift of easy expression.

 

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