Saturday, March 3, 2012


I've been asked about the significance of the word "lokalspeek". As you may have noticed, I use it instead of a more specific word whenever I speak of the mysterious language I claim to have written in before.

It could be, as some have suggested, an elaborate plot to avoid mentioning that most of my oeuvre is written in Swedish. But that would be rather pointless now, so that can't be it.

Rather, I'm trying to get a grip on a concept. A thingy. A phenomenon. And, more so, a shared one at that - something that isn't very particular to Swedish or any other specific language, yet still applies to many of the writers of the world who don't have English as their first language.

Lokalspeek is a language that, from the Anglophone point of view, is obscure, somewhat hard to determine with any degree of accuracy, and utterly incomprehensible. It makes all kinds of sense for the speaker, but for the rest of the world it's just a seemingly random combination of letters. Something the locals in faraway places speak because they don't speak English, and gotta speak something.

If it weren't for the fact that I'm a lokalspeaker myself, it would be a rather imperialistic concept.

Funny how that works.

Yet, it is present in every new post I write. Especially since I've gotten into the habit of being able to link back to my two thousand previously published posts and say - yep, covered it, don't have to do it again.

It is also quite humbling. Back to basics. Square one. Prove yourself, newcomer. Be who you think you are, in practice rather than theory.

Now, this cannot be a unique experience. People have migrated from a local setting to a more international one before, and I imagine that the experience is rather similar regardless of what particular lokalspeek you happen to migrate from. And thus, the need (or usefulness) of a word for it.

Thus, the significance for me lies more in practice than in theory at this stage. But I suspect that I will have plenty of reason to return to the more theoretical aspects of it, once I kick myself into shape by constant practice. -

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