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Thread: Writing in English

  1. #1
    Haribol Acharya blazeofglory's Avatar
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    Writing in English

    Today the use of English is growing in different parts of the world. Today people are nationalistic and in point of fact nationalism is held with significance. People started migrating, and the idea of patriotism and nationalism get constricted within poetic language and within rhetorics of some politicians.

    Now we are increasingly globally getting connected and we are in a web or netted regardless of where we reside physically.
    English is used by people even to put their ideas across a larger audience. Even if this is their second language they master this and at times outshine native speakers or writers.

    Why do people choose to write fiction and non fiction in English even if it poses great challenge to them? They could write better in their national languages. Mastering a foreign language is a tedious job. They have to surmount many difficulties. Even if they learn the depth native writers can plumb those from other language communicate can not do with the same intensity. There are exceptional cases. Reading Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy gives a different experience. They have done better than even native writers in some cases.

    There are more challenges to write in a foreign language yet it will be more adventurous too.

    Today national boundaries are gradually getting blurred and people are assimilating and cultural differences are vanishing

    Please share your ideas on this issue.

    “Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””

    “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.

  2. #2
    nobody said it was easy barbara0207's Avatar
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    I sometimes write in English although my mother tongue is German and I certainly do not have full mastery of the English language. Writing in English arises from the need to make myself understood by an audience that does not speak German (eg here on litnet or foreign friends). Instead of translating my German texts into English afterwards I rather write English right away because then I must think English, and certain idiomatic expressions will come to me that I would not be able to think of if I translated.

  3. #3
    Live. Be. Sing. symphony's Avatar
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    It is, I think, true that a foreign language always poses a limit to the fluency of the user. But just as true is the fact that this can be overcome by communicative learning. And nowadays communicative learning doesnt only mean reading books in that language and then downing a grammer guide, it also corresponds to communicating with a larger mass and then learning through errors.

    I, as a non-native user, am not as smooth in English as a native speaker is. And yet, I've gradually grown a steady confidence in this language. I am, of course, still unsure at times about my use of words and sentence-structures (not understanding the idioms and phrases are highly frustrating too), but still I follow my instincts in using english in a better way(since i hate studying grammer and i dont really think it'd ever help me improve my shaky vocabulary) and most of the times they are right.

    Why do people choose to write fiction and non fiction in English even if it poses great challenge to them? They could write better in their national languages. Mastering a foreign language is a tedious job. They have to surmount many difficulties. Even if they learn the depth native writers can plumb those from other language communicate can not do with the same intensity.
    Thats an interesting question, indeed. Noone's forcing the writers to write in english, and surely they'll be more at ease with their native tongue. But I think it's the desire to share their works with a larger community and since english is massively being used as the global language now so may be they like to "be in the game". Another reason can just be that they're positively smitten by english literature and like to stay in touch with it.
    In my case it is the latter that makes me write stuff in English as well as in Bengali. I have loved every bit of what I've seen of English literature till now, it's not much, it's never much, but still it's been enough to make me be in love with it so far. And so I write and share my small attempts at being part of that wonderful world in my own small way. I'm not going to be a writer, but that doesnt necessarily mean I cant play with what I love.
    Last edited by symphony; 09-11-2007 at 05:59 PM.
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  4. #4
    Haribol Acharya blazeofglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by symphony View Post
    It is, I think, true that a foreign language always poses a limit to the fluency of the user. But just as true is the fact that this can be overcome by communicative learning. And nowadays communicative learning doesnt only mean reading books in that language and then downing a grammer guide, it also corresponds to communicating with a larger mass and then learning through errors.

    I, as a non-native user, am not as smooth in English as a native speaker is. And yet, I've gradually grown a steady confidence in this language. I am, of course, still unsure at times about my use of words and sentence-structures (not understanding the idioms and phrases are highly frustrating too), but still I follow my instincts in using english in a better way(since i hate studying grammer and i dont really think it'd ever help me improve my shaky vocabulary) and most of the times they are right.


    Thats an interesting question, indeed. Noone's forcing the writers to write in english, and surely they'll be more at ease with their native tongue. But I think it's the desire to share their works with a larger community and since english is massively being used as the global language now so may be they like to "be in the game". Another reason can just be that they're positively smitten by english literature and like to stay in touch with it.
    In my case it is the latter that makes me write stuff in English as well as in Bengali. I have loved every bit of what I've seen of English literature till now, it's not much, it's never much, but still it's been enough to make me be in love with it so far. And so I write and share my small attempts at being part of that wonderful world in my own small way. I'm not going to be a writer, but that doesnt necessarily mean I cant play with what I love.
    I have read a poem posted by you and they were really captivating. You have a good of command over English and the use of words and sentence structures were amazing and you could express your ideas perfectly with appropriate words in appropriate places. This endorses the fact that if you really wish to be a writer you can be really a good one. That is just a view of mine, not necessarily you should agree with me.

    In my case I always dream of being a writer and I have to do a lot prior to venturing into this profession. For writing is a big challenge and one should equip him or her with a great many things previous to taking on this course, for writing is to undertake responsibilities to give people something new or possibly something they have not thought about.

    Writing is really a venturesome job, and the kind of satisfaction it gives is really rare and is not come by in other professions, for it is a matter of self expressions. Since man is always desirous of sharing his ideas and this is, needl;ess to say a medium that helps him share with larger communities.

    I have this dream since my babyhood, even when I was a small kid, ten years of age I had this longing. I know I have to scale bigger heights and plumb profounder depths but I have rooted my mind in this domain.

    I therefore read a lot, diverse subjects, that range from philosophy to literature, to economics, to theology and all the rest.

    All that set me to take on this course is a very strong desire and I am kinda galloping my steps unmindful how many hardships I have to undergo, for it is worthy of taking a hard course like a roller coaster ride.

    “Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””

    “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.

  5. #5
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    The issue is much broader than that (the language used by non natives):

    The deterioration of all languages is a fact and it has to do, imho, with other media replacing written speech and other political-neophilosophical issues .

    When english became the official language of polyethnic USA, there was a price tag attached....

  6. #6
    mind your back chasestalling's Avatar
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    joyce/english

    interesting topic blazeofglory.

    i'm reminded of joyce who felt he had exhausted the limits of english and therefore felt the need to create a language of his own.

    i've heard different things written about finnegans wake, that its celtic, that it's a hodepodge of all the european languages melded into one.

    ambition has a price, alas, a price which only one in a million would dare pay. god bless james joyce for daring to try the impossible.
    If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly.
    --Shakespeare

  7. #7
    Haribol Acharya blazeofglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasestalling View Post
    interesting topic blazeofglory.

    i'm reminded of joyce who felt he had exhausted the limits of english and therefore felt the need to create a language of his own.

    i've heard different things written about finnegans wake, that its celtic, that it's a hodepodge of all the european languages melded into one.

    ambition has a price, alas, a price which only one in a million would dare pay. god bless james joyce for daring to try the impossible.
    Every language has a limit to go and grow. I am very much with Joyce, in fact whole heartedly subscribe to his ideas. I have read him I do not remember exactly when, and one novel of him moved me beyond bounds. His was style of impeccable, he definitely must have mastered the English language. The rest follow after English, and in his case, English runs after him at his command.

    I live with the conviction that we can make the language work for us.

    In my case,personally speaking, I too learned it as a second language and I too have to scale many heights, I am still at the bottom of it. I have started learning it a few years back, and I read books written in this language very deeply. My mother tongue is Nepali. I chose to read in English owing in the main to the fact that I could read ranges of books in English, for I can not find them in Nepali.

    Now I believe English has to run at my command, not me at its command.

    This is a will, and we have history to witness that every force has to give in to man's will. Why not English has to crawl on fours before me? I believe in boundless potentials in man. I believe to the extent the whole universe can be constricted within man's will power.

    There is no reason for us to worry and be submissive to any forces.

    Now I love to write and I believe that one day may be in a few years I can write beautiful articles to go across a larger audience.

    This is not vainglory. Simply will.

    “Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””

    “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.

  8. #8
    mind your back chasestalling's Avatar
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    one day i too hope to scale the himalayas. perhaps we'll meet at the summit, blazeofglory.
    If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly.
    --Shakespeare

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    Registered User MrD's Avatar
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    Writing should generally be done in your first language. It is your heritage and your literature. It belongs to you and your culture first. If the English speaking world wants your work then they can translate it.
    Light Travels Faster Than Sound, Which Is Why Some People Appear Bright Until You Hear Them Speak.

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    veni vidi vixi Bakiryu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrD View Post
    Writing should generally be done in your first language. It is your heritage and your literature. It belongs to you and your culture first. If the English speaking world wants your work then they can translate it.
    I don't like writing in my original language. And my people HATE reading with a passion. I rather write in english so people who love to read can enjoy my work anywhere.

    If anyone who reads in spanish, wants to read it, LEARN ENGLISH.
    Shall these bones live?

  11. #11
    Haribol Acharya blazeofglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrD View Post
    Writing should generally be done in your first language. It is your heritage and your literature. It belongs to you and your culture first. If the English speaking world wants your work then they can translate it.
    Indeed you are right. However you might not have come across the difficulty in other countries where English is spoken as a second language. It is all colonialism. Now whether I like or not I have to learn English, for mastery of it gives one a stamp of recognition. Besides that we have to use English in our education also. In many of our offices English is the official language. I am far better at my mother tongue, Nepali. It is really a beautiful language and it is more organic language than English, for it is the child of Sanskrit. Many scholars, even western linguists also agree that Sanskrit is a rich language.

    It is the demand and the cirucmstance I am hemmed in that I am forced to learn English. Now I have come to love it. I feel comfortable with this as I read many books in English.
    I am now on the point of making it even a language of creativity. It is too much tough. I am trying. I do not how far can I go.

    “Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””

    “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.

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    Registered User MrD's Avatar
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    Difficult situation then if you've been pushed that far by red tape to use English.

    Virtually everywhere we lived round the world everyone spoke English although we did not expect people to be masters of it. We appreciated day to day language and niceties, not demanding sticking rigidly to Standard English.

    With the British Army we saw :

    Holland, East Germany (Berlin), West Germany, Hong Kong, Zimbabwe.

    My mother is an artist, I write. So the whole expecting someone to write in their own cultures language is broken up I guess by situations like yours where your own culture is put second by your government.
    Light Travels Faster Than Sound, Which Is Why Some People Appear Bright Until You Hear Them Speak.

  13. #13
    Haribol Acharya blazeofglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrD View Post
    Difficult situation then if you've been pushed that far by red tape to use English.

    Virtually everywhere we lived round the world everyone spoke English although we did not expect people to be masters of it. We appreciated day to day language and niceties, not demanding sticking rigidly to Standard English.

    With the British Army we saw :

    Holland, East Germany (Berlin), West Germany, Hong Kong, Zimbabwe.

    My mother is an artist, I write. So the whole expecting someone to write in their own cultures language is broken up I guess by situations like yours where your own culture is put second by your government.
    Writing and making people understand is not that difficult and through practice we can master the art but when we turn to art, to present something artistically or to influence or win over somebody and engross them in your piece of work is a really big challenge. English is not a problem for me, despite the fact that English is my second language and it has not been even a decade I started learning it with interest. Now I am much more confident. But the problem comes when I write something in this language, a piece of art. I will have double responsibilities, one to present it correctly, grammatically and secondly artistically. However I fee it is hard to write grammatically indeed, for I am still unsure I can be grammatically hundred percent correct.

    I could writer better if I wrote in Nepali, but the problem is I have already come a long way and to go back to start something in Nepali again will be a matter of frustration at this juncture, for I have spent a great deal of time and energy on learning English.

    “Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””

    “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.

  14. #14
    Registered User MrD's Avatar
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    Hmm, well is the official language of your country Standard English? Or is it accepted that your countries citizens use a slightly different form of English? This could allow you to get away with so much.

    ie. Hingrish, Indian-English. They are brought up speaking from childhood not using one or two sounds used in their own language and struggle to use them. Spoken English is not Standard English, written is a bit more formal.

    Some literature we study is from people who's second language is English and the differences are acceptable to us as primary speaking English users as we understand who is writing the work. It is read in context. Enter an English speaking nations poetry/short story competition and you will find you have to use Standard English. Other forms of writing have relaxed rules.

    The differences between the two main schools of thought on descriptive and prescriptive language mean that your use of the language might be acceptable.

    Don't worry yourself too much if you go wrong. Us native English have to fight the American English dictionary in Microsoft Word as it is!
    Light Travels Faster Than Sound, Which Is Why Some People Appear Bright Until You Hear Them Speak.

  15. #15
    Haribol Acharya blazeofglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrD View Post
    Hmm, well is the official language of your country Standard English? Or is it accepted that your countries citizens use a slightly different form of English? This could allow you to get away with so much.

    ie. Hingrish, Indian-English. They are brought up speaking from childhood not using one or two sounds used in their own language and struggle to use them. Spoken English is not Standard English, written is a bit more formal.

    Some literature we study is from people who's second language is English and the differences are acceptable to us as primary speaking English users as we understand who is writing the work. It is read in context. Enter an English speaking nations poetry/short story competition and you will find you have to use Standard English. Other forms of writing have relaxed rules.

    The differences between the two main schools of thought on descriptive and prescriptive language mean that your use of the language might be acceptable.

    Don't worry yourself too much if you go wrong. Us native English have to fight the American English dictionary in Microsoft Word as it is!
    I am from Nepal and our schools teach British English. It is compulsory to learn English in our country from our school levels. If we do not learn English we will have to face problems when it comes to pursuing higher education. The basic problem is books are available in Nepali when we ascend higher levels. In my case I did my master's degree in social science. I am an avid reader. I read books on literature and philosophy. I read them mostly in English. I have learned a lot of vocabularies. I can understand any books in English. Even Shakespearean English is not a problem at all. I can understand them.

    suddenly I got a passion for writing. I can write well but I find difficulty in grammar. There are some rules of grammar particularly when it comes to using correct articles and appropriate prepositions I really find the application of them rather tedious. Now I have gained more confidence.

    I want to take part in competition of poetry and prose. I do not know any address. Could you please help me with this?

    “Those who seek to satisfy the mind of man by hampering it with ceremonies and music and affecting charity and devotion have lost their original nature””

    “If water derives lucidity from stillness, how much more the faculties of the mind! The mind of the sage, being in repose, becomes the mirror of the universe, the speculum of all creation.

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