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Are You The Same Person When You Write In English, Or Do You Become Someone Else?

In this op-ed (opinion-editorial) piece from the New York Times, author Costica Bradatan explores the idea of writing in a second language leading to a re-birth of the self:

“When she starts writing in the new language the world is born anew to the writer. Yet the most spectacular rebirth is her own. For this is a project of total reconstruction of the self, where no stone is left unturned and nothing will look the same again.”

Now, I know some of you are thinking, “But I still have to look up the words I need” or “Maybe, if your writing fluency is already so good that you have brain space left over to contemplate such things”, but even so, I think most of us can agree that we do not feel like our familiar selves when writing in our second language, if for no other reason than we don’t feel like we have to tools to express ourselves in the same way as we would in our native languages.

Read on for a positive spin on the familiar and common struggle of written self-expression in a language that is not your own.