Monday, February 7, 2011

Everything Sounds Better In Spanish... Or Not

Confession: I speak Spanish. It is an awesome language.

It is also awesomely hard to deal with.

Why? Because... it's... hard?

My point is, English was much easier for me to learn. What's that? A second language easier than my native one??? *blushes* Why? Well, for many reasons. Which I will not discuss for fear of sounding like an English grad student. Which... I am...

Anyway! There's this cliche regarding Spanish. It's sexier. Sounds better. Makes some people look funny when they speak with an accent. The list goes on.

That cliche got me thinking about writing (I know, I know... what doesn't?). In particular, the different styles of writing. And I totally had an epiphany. Of sorts. You see, whatever story writers are working on dictates the style they use. Yes, they have their preferences, but it all comes back to the story. And the characters. Some writers love funny. Others are sucker for purple prose-infused drama. They make their characters and stories mirror that preference, and at times, they nail it. When they don't, they start over until they find the right voice.

The right language.

One is not better/more fun/sexier than the other. Perspective, folks. Everyone has it. Find yours in your writing and stick to it.

Oh, and this video below? It's the superbly awesome commercial that inspired this post:

What say you, blogging buddies? Is there a language you can't seem to master, but would love to???


  1. Huh. I've never thought about the tone of your novel being more like language. That's an interesting perspective. I wish I could do flowery - but I can't. I wish I could do funny too....

  2. I thought I was fluent in spanish. I took it for three years in college and three years in high school, so I thought "I got this, I can write and have conversations." Then I started working in you have ANY idea how hard it is to memorize car pats in spanish?

    I like that you compared writing language to another language in general, does this make me tri-lingual if I know spanish, english, and writer's lingo?

  3. Hey Amparo! *waves* I LOVE meeting Spanish speakers in the writing community!! :D REALLY! You're the second one I've run into.
    I'm Peruvian, living in Chile, writing in English :D

  4. Hee hee! Great video! I am a huge Spanish fan, even though I quit after Spanish 2 in high school. It's always been a beautiful language to me.

    Now on to the writing metaphor-- Spot. On!

    You know I've struggled with finding the right language for a particular story. There really is one that will fit the best with the story. I think the characters determine that voice, like you said. My key to finding that voice is to read a lot of other people's work. Otherwise, I don't learn the languages in the first place.

  5. I've always wanted to master - Gaeilge or better known as Gaelic Irish. I'm mystified by the nuances and cadre in which the Irish speak.

    I should be learning another language which is sign. I've been deaf for 6 years it's high time. In any event, I tend to write in more visual prose due to my lack of hearing. I often have to remember that characters in my books, can hear. (Hugs)Indigo

  6. This is a great analogy for the issue of author voice vs. character voice-- although your narrator/style may change from book to book there's always your own personal flair in the background. I'd like to be fluent in French but I think most of what I learned in school has trickled out of my ear!
    - Sophia.

  7. Lol, I love that commercial. I actually took Spanish in high school and college, but I still haven't mastered it yet. So, I would love to continue learning Spanish, but also take a few classes in Italian as well. :)

  8. I can't believe learning english was easy! It seems hard to learn, with all its exceptions. My hubby speaks Spanish, and I love the language. Plus, it's practical. And pretty. Although his abuela can't understand why I STILL haven't learned the language!

  9. Hahaha! That commercial is funny--Piano...wait that doesn't work, LOL!

    Nice post!

  10. Melissa--I swear I hadn't seen it as language, either. But for some reason, it clicked these past couple days. I think whatever we write is a language all on its own, you know? Cannot do flowery, either!!

    Magan--LOL! I think you're trilingual, even if you speak a little Spanish :D

    Monica--HI!!! Another Spanish speaker on the blogosphere!!! *fist pump* LOVE that you're Peruvian! Haven't been there yet, but planning to. So happy you found my blog!

    Katrina--I also read other people's work to find my character's voice. Who knew research could be SO MUCH fun, right?? ;)

    Indigo--Oooh, that sounds like fun. Haven't dabbled in that language yet, so I should probably put in on my ever growing To Do List :D Best of luck!

    Sophia--French hates me. I rejects me like rat poison. I'd love to master it, but yeah, it'll never let me :D

    Pam--I WANT TO LEARN ITALIAN, TOO! *fist pump* *fingers crossed for both of us*

    Julie--Abuelas are like that :D I love that you said Spanish was pretty! Never thought of it that way, since I speak the most *ahem* lovely words often ;)

    Laura--Piano FTW! Hands down, best part of that commercial.