The curse of polyglottism…

For the past couple of months, I have had one character in the new novel going about his intelligence work in Europe.  Specifically in Eastern Europe.  In the wake of the Grande Armee on their way to their infamous encounter with the burning of Moscow and the savagery of the Russian winter. 

And from there, via my character, I have travelled down the length of Poland, and into Czechoslovakia which, in 1812, was part of the Austrian Empire.  Hence, as I believe I have recounted, much of the research has been in German.  And yes, I’ve even peppered the text with German to give it flavour, which is what those in Bohemia, as it was then called, were forced to speak. 

Now I should mention at this point that my French is excellent, but my German inadequate, being, as it is, mostly derived from reading German poetry.  Nevertheless, I’ve been thinking in both English and German as I have written these segments, if only to maintain a sense of German sentence construction for the dialogue. 

But now…now, I am back in Britain.  That is to say my characters are back in Britain.  And I’m finding it more than a bit odd to be writing solely in English. 

And not having to switch languages in my head at all or think simultaneously in both.  I keep doing so, of course.  But it’s like all of a sudden having one hand tied behind my back and I keep wanting to do everything two-handed, or in this case, two-languaged.  Which has got me a bit off-balance. 

No doubt I’ll cope.  And perhaps my readers may even be grateful.  Who knows?


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