Welcome to my blog!

Why Jacaranda you ask? In case you are reading this the other side of the world and are not sure, Jacaranda is the name of a beautiful tree, which blooms around Oct/Nov, mostly in the Eastern states of Australia. Its flowers are the most exquisite shade of blue-purple, the nearest comparison probably being hyacinth blue, so who could not be inspired to write by such a spiritual colour? When the jacarandas start to blossom, you know it's exam time, but you also know that Christmas is just around the corner. It is said that if a jacaranda flower falls on your head as you walk underneath a tree, good fortune is sure to follow, so guess who did a lot of walking under jacaranda trees! Watch this space for changing images of this lovely tree!

Monday, February 1, 2010

But we speak the same language, don't we?

Two separate events occurred over the weekend, which led me to think about communication between the English-speaking countries of the world.

The first was when a peer, who was critiquing the extract from my novel, which I am planning to submit for the Advanced Practice Unit of my MA in Professional Writing, remarked that she couldn't understand some of the Australianisms I'd used in this piece of work. So, the dilemma is to find a balance between a prose, which the wider English-speaking community would understand without losing the Australian flavour and setting of this particular piece.

The second event took place at the movies (cinema to some). I went to see the British comedy In the loop with a dinky di Australian friend, who complained that they couldn't understand the Scottish accent and missed out on some of the cultural references.

I realise I can easily move between the two cultures (Australian and British), and, as a bit of a lingist, between a couple of others too. As a languages eductor I aim to bring my students to the point where they can do this too - we call this finding the third place, a zone where you feel comfortable between the two cultures, which may not be the same for everyone. You know which form of language to use, how to behave and what is expected in different situations, but may not feel comfortable taking on board every aspect of the target culture even though you respect and accept it. Some examples, which illustrate this, might be bowing in Japanese culture or visiting a public Japanese bath-house where you are expected to be naked, or to non-Anglos - queueing! These customs wouldn't bother some people but they might others.

So, as writers, how do we bring our readers to that third place?

For a review of the film In the loop, please go to my website

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