Saturday, November 13, 2010

> Language > Place blog carnival

> Language > Place: a joined blog cyber journey featuring international perspectives on language and place.

This first edition of this blog carnival crosses borders, reflects on (m)other tongues, tells city stories, delves into the beauty of language, finds a home abroad, ponders on the relation between identity and language, and gets lost and found in translation. It includes more than 20 participating blogs from all over the world!

Enjoy the journey of places, reflections, languages and blogs~~

PS: For details on how to join, further links, and some notes on the project, visit the >language > place info page. And now, right into the carnival:

Crossing Borders

The isolation of not knowing the language ~ it is a strange feeling to live some days like that,” notes Steve Wing from Florida, who is mono-linguistic, yet enjoys other cultures and languages. Steve traveled to Africa a while ago, revisited his photos for language/place, and sent Senegal: In a Word

Karyn Eisler lives in Canada. This summer, she took a flight to Budapest via Frankfurt, and found herself surrounded by linguistic diversity at Vancouver International Airport already."Language is music - especially when I don't understand it," she thought, and penned down her impressions right there, in the waiting zone of Flight 493

Originally from Minneapolis in Minnesota, Michael J. Solender now lives in Charlotte / North Carolina as a transplanted northener, and blogs at 'Not from here, are you?' Michael recently travelled to India, where he enjoyed Keralan food in Kerala, prepared by a home chef with perfect English diction. Read the whole story in Cochin

(M)other Tongue

"People commonly talk about the experience of using a second language away from home," writes Tammy Ho Lai-Ming from London, "However, my poem "Languages" (written in early 2006), is about using a second language, English, in my hometown, Hong Kong, a city where my mother tongue Cantonese is used by the majority of the population." Tammy is the editor of Cha: an asian literary journal, her poem and a note on it is up in the Cha blog: Language & Place - Languages  

Brigita Orel lives in Slovenia, yet writes in English - and ponders the effects that writing in English has on the perception of her mother tongue. Read her poem Favorite Word, and the connected essay.

Vivian Faith Prescott is a fifth generation Alaskan. She writes: "I intermarried among the Tlingits. I have four grown children and I have been involved with the Tlingit language revitalization effort since 2000. After three generations of language loss, myself, my husband, and daughters are able to speak to one another in the Tlingit language." - Vivian participates in the language carnival with a blog post regarding the Tlingit language Revitalization in Southeast Alaska

Home, Abroad

"This sign: "Our children deserve to live in a better world with culture." Totally, right? Although why this sign, in an empty lot in the town of La Penita...." ponders Rose Hunter, who lives half in Mexico and half in Australia. She blogs at 'Whoever Brought Me Here Will Have To Take Me Home', and sent some Mexico moments.
Parmanu is from India, joined a multinational company, and was assigned to a project in Germany. In the blog entry he sent, he describes the journey of a foreigner as he progresses through stages of learning German - from his first contact with the language until reaching a familiarity that instills a yearning to know more, to participate further in the culture he has inherited. "It is difficult to put into words the feeling that passes through someone who discovers that sentences which seemed to make little sense until then had turned, all of a sudden, much more transparent and could be easily understood..." -  A language affair (the entry is from 2004, make sure to also check out the current entries + journeys)

Daniela Elza was born in Bulgaria, grew up in Nigeria, traveled quite a bit with her family, and now lives in Canada. She says: "While that makes me feel a bit alien no matter where I am, it also makes me feel like I belong to a much bigger place than the one I am in at any one time." Daniela sent a poem that reaches back to her childhood in Bulgaria, and sets off from there into reflections on language, place and human history:  Milk Tooth Bane Bone

The beauty of language

"Not only are their different "foreign" languages, but even within one language, there are foreign languages," writes Sherry O'Keefe, "for example, i am taking a photography class. The language in photography translates wonderfully into the language of poetry." Sherry sent a post on language from the 1800's in the Wild West of Montana, specifically the frontage road between Ft. Shaw and Bowman's Corner, where you can find the leavings

Satu Kaikkonen lives in Finnland, and writes poems that include different languages in her blog unsaleable returns. Satu says: "This blog is my place where I try to write poems also with different languages. It also includes my project with google translation machine - my first idea of using google translation machine was to reach my friend who speaks English, but then I got interested in French and Spanish too..." For this carnival, she sent the link to an entry titled: rain poured himself havaintoj√§rjestelmiimme

City Stories

"Just recently I blogged about needing a better grasp of Spanish to talk to customers at my job in a Metaphysical Store in Madison, Wisconsin," wrote Cathy Douglas. "People from other parts of the U.S. think everyone here in the midwest has blond hair, blue eyes, and no use for foreign languages. Not so!" Here's her language blog post: I need more Spanish

Jean Morris sent a reflection from London on "reading a quiet, rambling, cerebral novel about a visiting Spanish lecturer at an Oxford college, loving the language, remembering a dead friend who also loved it and with whom I shared many novels in Spanish, thinking about home and abroad and place and lostness; which are always at the centre of my feelings and are all themes in the novel, and about the consolations of language and literature." While reading, she also found a lovely Spanish word: ensimismado (insideyourselfed). Read it all, here: All Souls

Can you love a city without knowing the language? that's what Christopher Allen, a US-American living in Germany, ponders in a series of visits of Prague, logged in his travelblog "I Must be Off!". Read part 1) Prague, Rain and Common Sense, part 2) Dobrou chut! (Czech for "Enjoy your meal!"), and part 3) Third Time's the Charm?

Identity + Language

"Learning and speaking another language can not only change your life, it can also change you ... or, allow you to change yourself," notes Matt Potter, who is from Australia, has lived in Hamburg and (twice) in Berlin, and teaches English. At the moment he is back in Australia, and wrote an essay on speaking different languages:  Jacqueline Bisset and Me (ignore the blogger adult content note)

Nicolette Wong lives in Hong Kong, and blogs at Meditations in an Emergency. Yet since July, this isn't the only place she blogs: "I started a Chinese blog where I am curiously open about bits and pieces of myself. Nothing confessional, but revealing in that it features long-forgotten details about my teens, dreams or glimpses into my present that show a different side to me ... These are things I'd rarely write about in my English writing." Here's the full essay: The Writing Switch

Dorothee Lang lives in Germany, yet mostly writes in English. She recently pondered on that fact when she was invited to join the blog-series "Writers in Masks" - a series that asks: "We all wear masks. Doesn’t “who we truly are” change with each person that we’re with? I would like to invite you to take a picture of you in some sort of mask." Her mask? She wears it almost every day, she realized, but it's not easy to take a picture of it. It is: English. Read the whole essay here: My Mask

Triangles of Place 

Michelle Elvy has been living, writing and loving on a sailboat with her husband and two daughters for the last eight years. Making her way around the Pacific, she has written about children, food, faraway places, motorcycling, dreaming big, and the kindness of strangers, as well as Alaskan fjords, Mexican chilis and Fijian headlice. Her days at sea have allowed her plenty of time to reflect on detachment and belonging, authors who write about place, and the region where her roots grew deepest: A Sense of Place: A Reflection on Literature, Cowboy Boots and the Search for Panama

Tania Hershman is a writer of very short stories who was born in London, moved to Jerusalem in 1994, and after 15 years in Israel, moved to Bristol in August 2009. She wrote an essay about her experience of feeling alien when she first went to live in Jerusulam and, and again on her return home to Britain, and mailed the essay to friends - it's online in the blog of Petina Gappah, who lived in Switzerland and now moved back to Simbabwe: Searching for Words

[and in a serendiptious correlation of place and time, Petina Gappah currently is back in Switzerland, and blogs from Zurich, Hirchenplatz, just some miles from the next carnival stop, the Bern region of Switzerland]

Jennifer Saunders grew up in the American Midwest and now lives in The Bernese Oberland in Switzerland with her Swiss husband and their two bi-lingual boys. She blogs at Magpie Days, and recently wrote about life in Switzerland, a country with different mother tongues. “There even is a word for the divide between the French- and the German-speaking regions: R√∂stigraben."

Within the Words

"What if understanding of language were a perpendicular relief, an image of a street?" - Kate Thorpe is currently exploring the metropolitan Ruhr region in Germany as part of a poetic Fulbright project, and contemplates on language in her blog "Salvaging Spaces", where she explores the nature of language in the essay on not understanding

Stella Pierides grew up in Athens, Greece, and now divides her time between London and Bavaria. She sent Song of the Aegean - "the poem attempts to convey the feeling of the impact of simple words on the person reading the poem. There are stories within the words (“sponges”: the lives of divers in the Aegean) as well as in the gaps between words (“winds, caique, bitter waves”). What “The Aegean” means to a Greek!" For more poetry on Greece, visit Seferis' Houses,  a poem dedicated to the Greek poet George Seferis, who originally was from Smyrni (now Izmir) in western Turkey, and worked through the loss of his homeland using the language of poetry.

Lost (and Found) in Translation

"I switch from Russian to English, from English to Russian, grab some Ukrainian and German words on my way to self-realization… It’s a mess. Where are you my almighty Translator?" asks Vera Ulea - a bilingual Russian-English poet, writer, scholar and film director - in her essay Scraps of Thoughts

Kate Brown is a filmmaker who was born in the UK, lived in Amsterdam for a decade, moved to Berlin this year, and now went to Crete for a holiday. She wrote about all the different languages at war in her head: It's All Greek to Me

From Bangalore, India arrived a mail from Ankur Agarwal, with a link to a blog note from the time when he started to learn French: "The beauty of French is that many disparate words have either the same pronunciation or quite misleadingly similar one. Hence, one can play with words, render ambiguity to a text/speech, and bring unexpected subtleties and revelations. I was reading Derrida in a beautiful evening sun-lit library and it inspired me to have a little play myself" - legs, lait, laid, laisse, laisser / envoyer, s'envoyer, vois, voix

About + How to Join + Links

This is the first edition of the >language >place blog carnival. you can read more about the idea and structure of this web project on the >Language >Place info page. There also are some notes on the process with extra links.

The next edition of this blog carnival is planned to go live on Wednesday, 15th December, it will be edited + hosted by Nicolette Wong at Meditations in an Emergency, for details on how to join, check out the carnival guidelinesPlease note that Nicolette receives the mails, and pieces together edition #2, the carnival really switches editors and hosts with every edition.   

Some related links to other international web projcets are online on this link page, together with some current calls for submissions with a language / place theme.

- there now also is a contributor blog roll
- a list of blog posts about the carnival
- and a list of all participating bloggers


Michael Solender said...

Wow - what an assemblage - I've got great works to read and can travel all over with just a few clicks! Thanks Dorothee for putting this great carnival together!!

Dorothee said...

And thanks to you for contributing and for the feedback. "Travel all over with just a few clicks" could be the subtitle of this carnival. There's such a variety of different places and moments included, it was stunning to receive the mails, to follow links and piece this together.

Karyn Eisler said...

Regarding what Michael said:

"I've got great works to read and can travel all over with just a few clicks!"

I like that. Well put!

Rose Hunter said...

Really impressive Dorothee. I love how you've put this together. Most delighted to be a part of it. :) I love the variety of posts too, on different topics - really interesting. And it all looks so pretty too!

Jean said...

This is great! I'm thrilled to be in it, and it's brought together such riches of writing that I've only started to absorb myself in. I've just linked from my blog, with a few thoughts on why this is a project so close to my heart.

Dorothee said...

aryn, Rose, Jean: thanks for the feedback, and for posting about the carnival in your blogs. i now started to gather the referring blog posts on top of the link page, here:

yes, the variety of topics is amazing. this really turned into an international blog journey.

Rose Hunter said...

I just linked your link, Jean! :)

Jessie Carty said...

wow! This will keep me busy this afternoon :) thanks for all these terrific links!

Jennifer said...

Thanks for putting this together it's great! Not only do I have some great posts to read but I'm discovering entire new blogs to follow in the future!

daniela elza said...

Yes, Dorothee,
Thanks for this. I am working my way slowly through the festival.
As usual stopping and lingering in the crowd, perhaps on an ant on the ground, perhaps obstructing the flow of people around.
Whatever the case, I too am discovering new places, I would like to revisit, and add to my neighbourhood.

Lucy said...

I just came over from Jean's, what a collection! Good luck for the future of this.

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