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Re: Multiligualism as the norm?

When I think of multilingualism, I think of loss. The loss of language. In
particular, my own loss as a diasporic Filipino American who is only
fluent in English. And although my parents speak two other languages each
(Tagalog, plus their own native dialects), and they even spoke these
languages at home as I grew, neither I nor my siblings picked them up.

Why? There are many possible reasons. But I am more concerned with the

I am a writer and a performer. Currently, I am working with a group called
Panata -- a coalition of Filipino, Filipino American, and affinity artists
-- on a project commemorating the 100th anniversary of the beginning of
the Filipino American War. 

In both rehearsals and performance, I experience a certain amount of
frustration in not being able to understand everything spoken around me.
By working on this project, people naturally think me fluent in Tagalog.

But I'm not.

My writing centers around this loss, this loss of language, and its
corresponding loss to a home that is not my own, and which I have never
visited. Perhaps because I only speak one language, I feel it is
imperative for me to make this a focus of my art. To explore this loss of
language, and the ache for its return.

I am now trying to learn Tagalog. But I wonder if I will ever be fluent.

Dan Bacalzo
* Dan Bacalzo's Asian American Performance Site * dgb9423@is.nyu.edu
* http://www.geocities.com/Broadway/Stage/5817  ***********************