marshtide: (Mist)
We've been talking about language. I'm beginning to feel like I'm living in Swedish; I have control over my language and I think in it and I can communicate increasingly complicated ideas in it. I don't have fine control. If I'm not concentrating I use the wrong one out of present tense/infinitive fairly often. There are words I'm missing and have to talk around. Sometimes my subclauses end up with weird word order. But I have a different grasp of the language now to the one I've had before, and it's one where words stop just being words and start being big, complicated and loaded with associations.

We talked about Swedish literature. I've been reading quite a bit by modern authors, ones who aren't particularly literary, and they have quite sparse language; they just don't use many words. Mian Lodalen and Maria Sveland use so few words when you compare them with Birgitta Stenberg. If they didn't have things to say - and they do - then I wouldn't bother, basically, because there is nothing they do with language itself that's particularly exciting. The excitement has to come from characters and ideas; which is fine. But in terms of learning Swedish and feeling out the extent of it they have basically nothing to teach me. Against that, Theodor Kallifatides has heaps to teach me. For example.

Then Val said: If you want to see what the Swedish language can do, read Tranströmer.

So I did.

I am fascinated.

Tranströmer is a poet. He writes about nature a lot, but not like anyone else writes about nature.

He writes lines like, Gryningen slår och slår i havets gråstensgrindar.


I en långsam virvel har tystnaden stigit
hit från jordens mitt, att slå rot och växa
och med yvig krona beskugga mannens solvarma trappa.

The texture is somehow as fascinating as the content to me right now.

(Also discussed: whether I write in English or Swedish, this experience, living in another language, will change my writing. I find that really exciting. I'm beginning to find this whole experience, with language, really genuinely exciting. Before I was just fighting to get a grip on it; now I'm learning nuances.)


marshtide: (Default)

December 2012

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