Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How do bilingual writers express themselves better?

Those of you who've met me or have read my bio details  know I'm Greek. You must also know I'm a Greek teacher of English. After twenty years of teaching, even more years of speaking and reading English literature and reference books (thanks to my ongoing postgraduate studies) I have become bilingual.
The most important thing is I think in English. My inner voice is English, not Greek. Pointing this out does not imply in any way that I disdain my native language; quite the contrary. But my tendency to select English is a fact I cannot ignore.
In the past I tried to write my stories in Greek. The ideas were there, the story was flowing in my mind, but when my pen touched the paper there was an odd block. I couldn't understand why I wasn't satisfied with the Greek words I read, why it wasn't the same with what I had in mind. That was no self-expression.It gave me no pleasure.
Two years ago I decided to write in English and...a miracle happened. I couldn't stop myself. I relished every page, every word. It's not easy because no matter how good you are in the second language it is hardly possible to use it like native speakers do. That's why I spent months editing my first book (and still I'm insecure about the errors you may find in it). But the bottom line is I wrote an English book I'm really excited about and  not only am I working on the sequel but my notebook is full of notes on two other books I have in mind. Really I have to find an editor next time, but it's okay.


  1. I find it very interesting that you prefer to write in English. I wonder why? Does English offer options Greek does not?

    love your picture above btw :)

  2. Greek is famous for the countless words it includes. Words that often have no equivalent in other languages, for instance the greek word "filotimo" to which the US President referred to the other day. Also, if you search the etymology of many english words you'll be surprised to find how many of them derive from greek. Yet, I have difficulties in expressing myself in greek. I could say my inhibition is mostly based on social/ pychological reasons.Where I come from (rural, greek area) being an aspiring writer is not common, you see, and I can think of a lot of people I know who'd laugh behind my back . Or it may be a matter of culture as through time I I've come to feel closer to foreign culture. I wonder if thereare others like me out there.


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