Sunday, April 22nd, 2012...6:55 pm

28 . Language and Connections

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“… it did not suggest that English was ready to do to me what Spanish itself had done to others so many during its evolution, what it had done, in fact, to my own parents: wrenched them from the arms of their original language.

And yet I am being unfair to Spanish – and also, therefore, to English. Languages do not only expand through conquest: they also grow by offering a safe haven to those who come to them in danger, those who are falling from some place far less safe than a mother’s womb, those who, like my own parents, were forced to flee their native land” (Dorfman 1508)

I find it interesting how Dorfman talks about languages primarily as connections between people, a positive thing.  The grammar of the first sentence from this excerpt is a little confusing but I am pretty sure that the narrator implies that the English language ” wrenched [my parents] from the arms of their original language.” The personification of the Spanish language and the aggressive verb, “wrenched” implies there is more to his parent’s loss than the Spanish language.  Maybe, the English language not only “wrenched” them away from the Spanish language, but it also may have “wrenched” them away from Spanish culture and heritage. The narrator continues to speak about language in a positive way; he states, “languages do not only expand through conquest: they also grow by offering a safe haven to those who come to them in danger.” According to the narrator, the spreading and knowledge of language is beneficial for those who seek safety, and maybe the safety of connections with others.

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