Tuesday, March 20, 2007

writing in english

Anna Tambour, one of the leading speculative fiction authors in Australia, has interesting thoughts on writers who write in English as a second language (Medlar Comfits: Do English-as-a-second-language writers (and speakers) have more fun?).

I agree with her assessment. Here in the Philippines, new words arise, new meanings blossom and new ways to use words appear, all serving to enhance the experience of English. While we adhere to certain formal rules of usage and grammar, postcolonial people like the Filipinos have taken ownership of English, the language of the conquerors. We use it everyday, after all, and we use it to express our deepest thoughts and emotions. It is no longer someone other's language, it is ours.

She was kind enough to include me (which, of course, makes me feel like the poorly dressed man at a ball haha).

"Dean Francis Alfar, in the Philippines, writes with a lyricism that has no affectation. His stories are full of pathos without bathos, deeply emotional without a bit of melodrama. He isn't afraid to mix languages and to play with meaning. He is only one of many writers who make me aware of the meaning of words. He chooses. He expresses with a particularity that doesn't pretend that any one language can express all, yet he finds verbal and written language rich enough that he doesn't need emoticons. "

One of my short stories, Terminos, appeared previously on her site.

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