June 14, 2011
Last year Manuel looked over my book of stories about Calig for an intermediate reader I would like to publish. He was amused by an American’s view of Càlig and made some comments on the cultural content. This year he agreed to read the chapters I had written on the oral history of Càlig and correct my Spanish. (He taught primary school for many years and is now teaching adults.)
I had debated constantly about whether to write in Spanish or English, but the language I write in is somewhat determined by the audience who would be reading it and I would like for the people of Càlig to be able to read their own history. Last summer the professor from the UNED who is working on the project suggested I write in Spanish even though I said it would be hard particularly since the people I interviewed were speaking their second language and my Spanish is influenced by theirs. I struggled all year to write as well as I could only to be told this year I should write in English.
I also wanted the voices of the people I interviewed to be heard. They had talked to me in their second language because they wanted to tell me their stories and I didn’t want their voices silenced as they had been for so many years. Yet their way of speaking was not always clear and it was hard sometimes to decipher what they were saying.
Because Manuel had heard some of these same stories, he was able to make sense of them. He knew what something that didn’t make sense in castellano was in valenciano and could then use the appropriate expression in castellano. I began to feel encouraged again about the work I had done this year.
Most of all, it was fun to see Manuel act out some of the stories. He caught the spirit of the people who had originally told them to me.