I write about the space in-between languages, cultures, and identities that people experience when they become bilingual or multilingual, when they move from their homeland and make a new home in a different language and culture. It is difficult to describe the experience of in-between. Gloria Anzaldua, a Mexican who grew up on the border with the United States, calls it Borderlands. In her book Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987/1999/2012) Anzaldua writes: “A borderland is a vague and undetermined place…in a constant state of transition.” For bilinguals and multilinguals this is not a foreign experience. The hybrid language Anzaldua speaks and writes in, Chicano Spanish, is neither Spanish nor English; it is “a forked tongue, a variation of two languages”.
Do you speak “a forked tongue”? I speak Hebrish (Hebrew and English).
More than 10 years after I wrote about my experiences of Borderlands, I return to reflect on them. What has changed?
Collage above: Borderlands, Copyright © Sara Promislow 2003