Sunday, December 05, 2010

This'll be a funny story one day...

One day, when I'm a famous (or infamous) novelist, or one day, when I'm a lecturer in writing like my mother, the following will be a funny story...

Today the mail arrived.  Today is a Sunday, so I was quite surprised when Erik and Luey ran into the house with a package. For a minute I thought it might be the clothes I'd ordered on ebay as birthday presents to me from Dave and the boys, but as soon as I opened the package, I realised it was my thesis novel and essay returned to me by my supervisors.

I put the package away in the study and continued cleaning the house because I had promised myself I wouldn't fret about this thesis any more and I would get back to work on it tomorrow.

Some time later, Dave returned home with Bryn and I mentioned to him that my thesis draft had arrived back in the mail today.  He was keen to see the comments on it, so I reluctantly brought it out and we went over them.  I have to say, I'm fairly relieved, nothing more is expected of me than what I suspected would be anyway.  I can cope with the changes I need to make, it's all good.

One comment stood out like great big hairy dogs balls though...


 "Your English as a second language shows up more in the essay..."


I was not born in Iceland, like my mother (who my supervisor knows well), I was born in Australia and the first language I learned to speak was English.  I was exclusively spoken to in English until I was 10 months old.  Yes, then I did live in Iceland for ten months, and I did live with my Icelandic grandparents for most of that time, and they did speak Icelandic to me, but then I move back in with my parents at about 20 months and spoken only English for the next year.  Then we moved back to Iceland I had to LEARN Icelandic, which I learned to the level of a 3-4 year old before move back to Australia until I was almost eleven.

The third time we moved to Iceland, when I was almost eleven, I didn't speak or understand Icelandic at all.  For the second time in my life I had to learn the language, pretty much from scratch.  English is the language I've spoken consistently all my life.

My mother's second language is English, and she taught me English, but my father is English, and he also taught me English.  I can read Icelandic and Norwegian, and if I lived in either of those countries for a month or two, I could probably speak Iceland or Norwegian well enough to make myself understood for the most part, but neither Icelandic nor Norwegian is my first language, and if English isn't my first language either, then I have no first language...

Anyway, so one day, when I'm in front of a class and one of my students complains that they will never get published or be a good writer because their English is so bad, I can tell them that when I was doing my second Masters degree, my supervisor thought my English was so lacking because it is my second language - which it is not.

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