Naughty Hottie has become Knotty!

http://youtu.be/HMRkdE4TUKA
Dear readers, and followers from every platform, Une belle infidèle! is back. She went through a tough time, but the mental refurbishment has done her good, and now she is grown up, she has become a naughty… oops, kn-hottie, damn, again! I meant a Knotty Translator.

This branding process has taken some time, three months between the moment the idea first entered my mind, and today. Of course, there have been phases, with clear points in time when a new step was taken, and several people who I have to thank for their inspiration, their support, their help, knowingly or not, and I hope to make justice to all of them through these anecdotes.

The first person to thank, or to blame, or both, is Valeria Aliperta, the famous Rainy London or, as I often define her, “the branding guru.” Vale, I already told you that your speech at Lenguanding left a mark on me, also because I didn’t win the mug, but mainly because I walked out from the capilla with an idea mixed with a urge: I needed a brand.

I had no idea where to start from, but I already had a certain image, a character, and I wanted to build my brand in that direction. I was Une belle infidèle! but I didn’t want to keep that name: too complicated; not too used, but still not new; but the main reason was that I saw that, to a speaker of non-Roman languages, the word “infidèle” is immediately related to religion, and I didn’t want that connotation to be associated with me. I couldn’t kill Une belle infidèle! but I had to help her grow up. Here is where my second inspiration comes in, surely not that consciously, but still very strongly, and I would like to thank Scheherezade Suriá, the Scheherezade of Las 1001 traducciones. Scheherezade, your puns and jokes, often naughty… knotty… both, have convinced me about the path to follow. Also, your pin-up girls, with their witty messages, have inspired the knotty translator that is now going to accompany my brand.

Why this name? Because translating is never easy, the texts are knotty, they keep the translators awake for many notti, and these poor daysleepers can never be completely faithful to the original, the best thing to do will always be to be naughty!

But if Valeria’s speech is the point in time that I associate with the beginning of this adventure, some other moments have pushed me towards what is happening today. The first one may sound silly, and it actually is so by itself, but it changes completely when inserted into context. In one of my TV series overdoses, I went back to watch 2 broke girls, and episode 4 of season 2 is, what a coincidence, dedicated to branding, brand image, and do’s and dont’s of the promotional phase. Watching it, I felt the final push to go forward with my idea.

The second moment is, no surprise there, my second attendance to Lenguando. I took that plane with the clear idea of presenting KT before Christmas, and of doing it by re-opening Une belle infidèle! That is when I put the refurbishing sign on. The first afternoon in Logroño just cancels every possible shadow of doubt still standing on my way. The lunch at Tondeluna has happened with a perfect timing; if I had planned it, I couldn’t have done anything better. For that reason, I want to thank my final inspirations: Molino de ideas (that is Eduardo Basterrechea, Elena Álvarez, and Elena del Olmo,) and Santiago García Clairac. It is funny that, Eduardo, you said to me: “Apologies for us talking a lot without letting you saying anything!” My serious face was not showing boredom, on the contrary. I was silently taking everything in, and the clear message of “You need a brand!” was echoing in my head. Elena must know that because, on our way back to the halls of residence, I could not be quiet anymore, and we talked about my ideas for KT.

A final thanks must go to the people who materially helped me creating the image; incredibly enough, they are, at the same time, my consultants, and some of the people I love the most in my life, Claudia Musio and Alberto Becciu.

Claudia is my best friend, my soul sister, a great engineer, a wonderful novelist, and an incredible artist. She worked out the logo and the image for me, following all my ideas and improving them, all in a very short time span. Moreover, she has supported me in this project from the first moment, as she has always done with every single crazy decision I took in my life. I love you, sister!

Alberto is my brother, my financial advisor, and the person who is always there when I need a hug. Also, the only one who still calls me Emmixedha; no one else is allowed, and neither is he, but I am getting used to it. I hardly take a big decision without consulting him before the rest of the world is informed, and I trust his judgment. I love you, brother!

This one is for you:

http://youtu.be/k3nVFAyfpeY

To conclude, thanks to Joseph for the linguistic support when I was choosing the name. A lot of what is in this blog has been created with your help or your inspiration, and I am grateful for that.

I know, I have been too romantic until now but the truth is that “I watch romantic movies because I am not romantic myself, and I need to see it on the screen.” No, seriously, I once said that, incredibly enough. Anyway, enough sugary, honey-coated paragraphs, it is time for this hottie to be naughty knotty!

You all know some of my profiles: my Twitter stays one for all, @emmabecciu; my Facebook is private (perfect example of oxymoron,) but I have now created a Facebook page that you can also like and promote; my contacts are all the same, Skype at emma_becciu, phone numbers still working, O2 in the UK and Vodofono in Italy (I can’t say Vodafone anymore, and I couldn’t avoid quoting Gino!) Big change: my preferred email is still emmabecciu@gmail.com, with the associated Google+ profile, but I now have a dedicated business email, knottytranslations@gmail.com also with Google+ profile, of course, and a Google+ page. Please, feel free to browse everything, to share, and comment. You can also check some of my translations at L’Indro, an online newspaper with which I have the pleasure to collaborate.

About Une belle infidèle!, the old posts and pages will stay, and some new ones are going to be published soon, because this belle infidèle may have been quiet, but certainly she didn’t stop being knotty. Sneak peek of some upcoming subjects: Italian presidency of the Council of the EU, sectorial languages, and Italian language in recent history. Also, don’t be afraid of suggesting subjects you would like me to talk about, or you would like to discuss.

And now, let’s be naughty. If any problems, tell Santa I said that!!!

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“One year of love” for my blog

pooh bear 1 year old birthday cake

1694_bandiera-italiana

 

Cliccate sulla bandiera per la versione italiana

 

Just one year of love is better than a lifetime alone (One year of love – Queen)

I’ll look back on myself and say “I did it for love” (It’s a hard life – Queen)

It is incredible, even for me, to think that this blog, my baby, already reached its first anniversary. A year is long, and full of events and changes, and so it has been for Une belle infidèle! Plenty of subjects, several posts, all marking my life, one way or another. One year has passed and, to celebrate that, I was planning to write about bilingualism, with a special guest and all the rest. Unfortunately, my guest cannot attend the planned session, so this project is now hopefully going to be divided in two entries: this one, to be released on the actual date of the anniversary, and a second one, as soon as I can manage to interview my guest.

The older readers and followers already know my opinion about bilingualism, but for the sake of this analysis, and because some distinctions are necessary depending on the cases, I am going to use the terms bilingual and bilingualism in the scientific sense, without judgments on my part. For this post, I am going to analyse different examples of people who grew up in a bilingual or multilingual environment. It is not meant to be a scientific research, because I have not followed this process myself, but I just asked the different people to tell me about their own experiences. Of course, I have myself been raised in a bilingual environment, because two languages were spoken in my house and also outside, by the rest of the community. I consider myself a native speaker of both Italian and Sardinian, although, as I already explained in this same blog, my knowledge of these languages is uneven. Timewise, I should say that I learnt both languages at the same time, with my parents speaking mainly Sardinian, and my brothers mainly Italian (they were already 10 year old when I was born, so already fully immersed in a monolingual learning environment that was also soon going to become mine.)

The situation had been, of course, completely different for my parents during their childhood. My lovely father, who still struggles understanding what a blog is, was happy to talk about the way he was raised, linguistically speaking, and also to cast some light on my mother’s childhood, according to what he can have learnt from her. Gino was raised with Sardinian as mother tongue; in his own words, there was no other language spoken at home, and if my grandfather was able to speak Italian, dad is not even sure that my grandmother could. We are talking about the early 30’s, and no one used to speak Italian at all, although they could understand it, because, asked about it, my dad confirmed that the mass was in Latin, but the sermon in Italian. My father had his first contact with Italian when he started the elementary education but, without even thinking about it, he immediately said that, apart from the few months that he spent in Piedmont, he actually started speaking Italian only when he was dating my mother, at the end of the 60’s, when he was almost 40 years old. This was the first time that I realised this truth, and I am amazed by the situation, and by him. His level of Italian is remarkable, he is a native speaker, no doubt about it, and, with the exception of some Sardinian-like grammar structures, he doesn’t mix the two languages. He is absolutely comfortable with both of them and, if he defaults to Sardinian, it is a choice, not a necessity to be able to express himself.

My mother’s case is different, she was raised with mainly Italian spoken at home, my grandfather being Tuscan and not having any knowledge of Sardinian whatsoever. The result was that Italian was spoken at home, and also the rest of the family from my grandmother’s side (grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins) had to deal with that and default to Italian when grandfather Santi was present; moreover, during her childhood, my mother also used to spend several months every year in Tuscany with the other half of the family, in a monolingual environment in which Italian was the only spoken language. This is the reason why also my dad had to start speaking Italian constantly. Despite of this, I basically remember my mother mainly speaking Sardinian with my aunts and uncles, and also with my dad.

We were raised in a completely different way, in three different periods, with the result that Sardinian, despite the two separate cases, ended up being the main language for both my parents, while Italian is definitely the dominant one for my brothers and me. To be more specific, we are all native speaker of both languages, but I don’t consider myself completely bilingual. It is not only because I never studied Sardinian and can’t write it, it is also because I am fluent as far as I know, but I never really spoke about too complicated matters in Sardinian, it being the language I use to communicate with my family and, sometimes, my friends. For sure, Italian and Sardinian are completely separate for me, and so are for my brothers; if we use both languages together, it is consciously, because we prefer a specific word in the other language, because we always use it like that, or because we know that the other people will understand; on the syntactic level, instead, the distinction is complete. For our parents, as I said, lexically speaking, the situation was not different from ours, with conscious choices but, syntactically speaking, there often is, or was, a mix of grammar structures, with Italian sentences being sometimes formed using the Sardinian rules.

I know you think that this is just a post about my family and Sardinian in our own town, but it is more than that, with some friends who were kind enough to accept to share their experience with me, and with all of you; so, get ready for some very colourful examples. I guess it is fair to start with Alejandro, native speaker of Spanish and Galician, whose experience is similar to my personal one. He was brought up speaking Galician with his grandparents, and Spanish with his parents, but the situation is slightly different, because in Spain it is compulsory to teach 50% of the subjects in the co-oficial language of the region. When I asked him if he thinks he mixes the two languages, or used to mix them when he was younger, he definitely said that he does it consciously, either switching from one language to the other because he realises that he is among Galicians, or because he feels that only a Galician word can express what he is thinking. At that point, we realised that we were both thinking about the word morriña, that has no real translation in any other language.

A definitely more complicated example is Khadi. Native speaker of Arabic, French and Mandinka (Khadi, please correct me if I am spelling it wrong), Khadi is a perfect example of a child educated according to the OPOL principle (One-Person-One-Language), with each one of her parents talking to her using just one language. Her son, Moses, instead, was brought up in a multilingual environment, being in contact, on different levels, with English, French, Creole, Chinese, Arabic, Patois, and Yoruba. At the beginning, at home, especially Khadi used to use more than one language to speak with him, but she decided to stick just to English after a while because she felt that the child was mixing too much. Despite the fact that only English was spoken at home, Moses was still in contact with the rest of the languages, even Mandinka when talking with his grandmother. As a result, he can understand basic Chinese, Arabic and Mandinka, and fully understand French, which he also studies at school, but fluently only speaks English. When asked if she could do a comparison between her experience as a child, and her son’s, Khadi said that she tended to mix a lot less than Moses used to do or, at least, she did it consciously, while he did not.

As I said, this post wanted to be an introduction, and a more serious approach to bilingualism, without the sarcasm that I can hardly avoid when confronted with this subject. In fact, it is just a collection of experiences that people around me wanted to share, without the systematic analysis and the amount of data that a regular research would give. Hoping that we will manage to work on the second part, that was supposed to be the main one, I want to close adding some

SPECIAL THANKS

First of all, as promised, I want to thank my colleagues from Cagliari, who helped me immediately when I reached out on Facebook looking for bibliographical advice on this post: grazie Claudia Conca, Giorgia Corda, Stefania Giovanrosa e Simona Melis (in rigoroso ordine alfabetico).

Thanks to who participated to my posts with actual chats or interviews, or simply being quoted; especially, thanks to my wonderful dad: the bilingual poet, philosopher and storyteller known by the name of zio Gino.

Thanks to all my followers and readers, including the main inspiration of this blog: during this year you all showed me that it was worth to keep writing posts that were witty, sarcastic, boring, nerdy, romantic, sad, but were always part of me. Thanks for commenting, on the blog, on Facebook or privately, because every little message gave me satisfaction and showed me the way. All of you made me proud of being Une belle infidèle!