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Språkkrönika: The art of switching languages in the middle of a conversazione

I keep on reading James Joyce's ”Ulysses”. Or, I do not at all by the way. I honestly have maybe read the first five pages, because I insist on reading it in public transport and constantly getting distracted. Last the other day, I was distracted by a particularly interesting conversation. The woman opposite me spoke with someone on the phone in Spanish, but threw now and then a few English words and the languages that went seamlessly into each other so that it only renders when someone knows two languages really fluently. For example, she said, ”Estoy en el metro”, I am in the subway. Kodväxling called the phenomenon – to change the language in the middle of a conversation – and a little bit of different theories exist on why multilingual people sometimes do it. Kodväxling seems at the same time be a question of identity, as a way to reinforce what you want to say or get around to a word does not exist in a particular language, or is kulturspecifikt.

Read more of DN's språkkrönikor here

that should have been crafted a bit with the kodväxling is James Joyce's daughter Lucia Joyce. I know this because I am at another lästillfälle allowed myself to be distracted from Ulysses by googling a bit on James Joyce's family. According to an essay in The New Yorker, a friend to the family have described the Lucia Joyce as the ”illiterat in three languages”. But she actually spoke four: German, French, English, and the special dialect spoken in Trieste in Italy (and which, incidentally, should have inspired James Joyce's language when he wrote both ”Ulysses” and ”Finnegans Wake”). To Lucia Joyce spoke, exchanged, and perhaps not fully mastered the four languages could be explained by the fact that the family of Joyce is constantly moved around in Europe during her formative years.

Before the kodväxlande the woman on the subway went by, I heard her ask the person on the other side of the handset: ”Tienes el audiobook?”, do you have the audiobook? And with this I believe I have solved my Joyce-problems.

Now I downloaded ”Ulysses” as an audiobook. No överhörda calls and no kodväxling in the world can stop me anymore! However, the deterrent, the length of the audiobook (32 hours) might be able to make it.

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