Part of my background is in creative writing leaning more into Spoken Word and quirky, sexy monologues. The English language has a vast amount of words to toy with and dress up a character, accentuate an emotion, and colourise a scene. Think of Oscar Wilde’s brilliant depiction of Dorian Gray, describing the story’s imagery with a fantastical yet elegant style. In lyricism, I often think of Morrissey’s penchant for moody and witty sarcasm, while cleverly signaling to queer culture (e.g. “Picadilly Palare“, “I Have Forgiven Jesus“). Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant is more polite, poking fun at the hypocrisies of society using sarcasm and introspection (e.g. “I’m With Stupid“, “Rent“). On the more fun side of lyricism, the English language supplies plenty of naughty humour, with the likes of such odd acts as Aqua (e.g. “Bumble Bees“, “Barbie Girl“), and let’s not forget the socially conscious and poetic rhymes of the hip-hop culture (e.g. 2Pac’s “Brenda’s Got A Baby“, Queen Latifah ft. Monie Love, “Ladies First“).
However, the embracing of English in order to make an entrance into the North American market takes away from the importance of learning another language and contributes to the loss of linguistic diversity. To learn a second, or third, language well is to appreciate what it offers in its own unique creative expression. It creates a bridge to others and breaks down walls of misunderstanding and prejudice. The English language should not be considered the only lingua franca of business, entertainment, media, popular music, literature, and social media. In regards to creative writing, many languages – if not all – rival the beauty of expression, and it is refreshing to see higher institutions establishing university programmes in languages other than English (e.g. University of Iowa’s Spanish Creative Writing MFA). In other instances, PhD candidates are defending their dissertations (also known as ‘thesis’ in other countries) in indigenous languages (e.g. Peruvian scholar defends the first thesis in Quelchua language).
As part of my own exercise into practising what I preach, I will be posting in Spanish as well as in English. Hopefully, it will invite diversity of thought and also demonstrate how equally expressive and charming another language can be.
(Speaking of charming, here is a perfect example of beautiful expression: Pablo Montero, “Hay Otra En Tu Lugar”, ca. 2002)