Thursday, March 22, 2007

...when you are isolated from a community...

My mum has lived in Australia for just under 60 years (left Malta when she was 14) and she speaks the Maltese of when she was in Malta. She has always spoken to all her brothers in Maltese in Australia, and until recently has had no real contact with the country she was born in. So when she now watches the Maltese news on SBS, she scratches her head wondering what some of the words mean... I guess it is evidence for how language evolves... and when you are isolated from the community, you go on speaking in the same way, while the community that you came from starts changing the way it uses language. Is this a behaviorist-type observation?????

Moving off on a tangent, however, the most amazing thing with her English is that she speaks with native-like fluency (little if no accent), and it's difficult to distinguish the mistakes she makes, from those expected of native-E speaker mistakes. Yet, when she has to write something, that's when you can see all the non-native errors. I quite enjoy seeing my mother's letters (though quite rare, as she readily avoids writing). They remind me of her cultural background. Steven Mondy (By the way, my mothers maiden name - "Muscat", a very Maltese name)

No comments: