Today I have a very special post for you. Because I am part of a blog tour for WUNDERKIDS by the absolutely amazing Jacqueline Silvester. The book is such a fun read, the author a wonderful human being and I love being a part of this tour.
Since I am very fond of languages myself and Jacqueline said in her introduction that she speaks several languages, I thought “Hey! That’s a great topic!” Let’s face it, languages are awesome and complex and fascinating. I wish I could learn more!
So I asked Jacqueline a few questions surrounding languages and she answered them for me and for you. As for me, I could find myself in a few of the answers as well.
Enjoy the little interview! 🙂
Kat: You mentioned that you speak four languages, so I’d like to know: Which four?
Jacqueline: I speak English, Russian, German and French 🙂
Kat: Which one is your favorite and why?
Jacqueline: My favorite is English but I’m quite bias, I have a wider vocabulary in English than I do in the other languages and I write exclusively in English, hence why it’s my favorite. Russian and French are more expressive and more beautiful, but English remains my solid favorite.
My second favorite is Russian.
Kat: Do you read/write in all four?
Jacqueline: I can read and write in all four, but because I write so often in English and I’m a speed-reader as well, so I tend to mostly stick to reading and writing in English. I try to read a few books in Russian, German and French every year, so as to not forget everything. But when I do it feels a lot more like homework than pleasure.
Kat: Do you collect books in different languages?
Jacqueline: I do actually! My grandfather is a famous children’s writer in Russia, so he gifts me special children’s books in Russian. I have an old version of Cyrano De Bergerac in French; I found it in an old shop in Nice. I have a lot of children’s book in French from when I lived there when I was little. I also have a number of books from Germany (again mostly children’s books.)
I would eventually like to collect old edition of children’s books in all four languages, but I would have to move out of my small city flat first.
Kat: If you could speak any language (also dead or fictional ones) which one would it be?
Jacqueline: I tried to learn Japanese but realized quickly that it would take me years to master it. At the time I wasn’t ready for that kind of commitment, I just wanted to take a language in University, short term and for fun. Japanese was not that language. I’m still holding out hope that some day I will find the time to dedicate myself to this incredibly complex and beautiful language. I would love to go live in Japan, and to be able to watch anime in its original form and be able to understand J-pop.
I can understand Spanish because I grew up in Los Angeles, which has a very large Spanish speaking population. I picked up bits here and there. As to dead languages I think it would be really cool to speak ancient Greek.
Kat: Do you have a favorite saying in a language that is not English?
Jacqueline: Russian is full of rich and interesting sayings, and since my grandparents are fond making a point with the use of sayings I know hundreds of them. One of my favorites is “the eyes fear, while the hands do,” which roughly means that you should just keep trudging on rather than panicking about the task at hand.
My second favorite saying would be “there is no knowledge without suffering.” Which means that painful experiences teach us something, but also that you need to suffer a little in order to learn. Not the most upbeat saying (most Russian sayings are not) but it’s an important one. I would repeat this saying to myself when I had to pull all-nighters in University in order to ace my exams.
I’m also really fond of the Polish saying “Not my monkeys, not my circus” and I try to live my life with by that philosophy.
Kat: Do languages play a bigger role in your written works?
Jacqueline: A few of my characters speak multiple languages but it doesn’t come up until later in the Wunderkids series. In my first few drafts my main character Nikka was bilingual but it got confusing because I wasn’t sure how to illustrate conversations between her and her mother without adding the “she said in Russian” bit into every few sentences. Now that I’ve had sometime to think about it, I think I will attempt it in the future, but in my debut it got too confusing.
In my current manuscript (contemporary YA) I wanted the central group of friends to have a language that they could revert to in order to talk in secret. I grew up surrounded by Russian friends and I always had some English-speaking friends when I lived abroad, so I basically always had a secret language to use with all of my friends. In the end I decided I wanted the characters to be from different backgrounds, so instead they speak to each other in gibberish, a code language I learned when I was in high school in L.A. Gibberish is very simple, it’s essentially adding “idig” before each vowel sound in a syllable, so ‘tree’ would become “tr-idi-gee.”
Thank you so much for this interview, Jacky! 🙂
If you want to check out the other stops of the tour, you can find them here:
- Imi Reviews (Giveaway – already closed)
2. Amyjanealice (part 1, part 2)
3. Golden Books Girl
4. This booky place
5. Books, Occupation… Magic!
6. Enchanted little me
If you want to find out more about the book and the lovely author behind, check out Jaqueline Silvester’s website.