Welcome Zee Monodee back to the blog today. That’s her up above, waving from top of the hill. Can you see her? I can see me on that beach for the next three weeks that’s for sure!
Language in a multicultural environment
I hail from the island of Mauritius. Our mother tongue is Creole, with French spoken all over the island, English as the official language of business and parliament, a Bhojpuri dialect being the rural tongue, and Hindi & Urdu the ancestral languages from India still spoken by the descendants. Quite a melting pot, right?
I spoke French first – that’s the tongue my parents spoke to me at home. I only learned Creole fluently (I could bumble my way through, since French and Creole sound very similar) once I joined school. Before I even knew what language I was uttering, I was singing full Bollywood songs and watching Indian movies with my mother, having a good grasp on Hindi as it is spoken in the movies, and Urdu (the language from Pakistan, where my maternal grandmother is originally from), which resembles movie Hindi like French and Creole look alike. English, I didn’t start learning until I was six and in primary school.
Fast forward to a decade, and here I am in England. Thank goodness I have always been fluent with languages, so dealing only in English on a daily basis wasn’t much of a chore. I even picked up the stuck-up, snobby cow, BBC anchor accent along the way (still haven’t managed to lose it to this day, despite being out of England for over a decade now, and speaking mostly French and Creole in my day-to-day life).
Thanks to my stint in the UK (South London/Kent, to be more precise), my English is now different from the people here in Mauritius. Half of them don’t even understand my accent – even my own father asks me to speak less quickly so he can pick up what I’m rambling about when I speak English, lol.
And this leads me to language differences…and do these apply more thanks to the region you are in? Countries the world over may speak the same tongue, but the delivery and turn of phrase is not the same. Like, take a French person from Marseille and one from Quebec – it’s like they’re speaking two different tongues! Similarly, while someone speaking Creole in Louisiana will understand the Creole of a Mauritian, some words will be different and hard to grasp (funny anecdote here – my uncle was in a cab in New York and speaking Creole to his friend with him. The cab driver turns and joins the conversation. In Creole! Turned out the man was from New Orleans and picked up the gist of what they’d been talking about!)
So, if you’re the product of a multicultural environment and upbringing, what language will you speak most? Which turn of phrase, which accent, will be more yours?
In LIGHT MY WORLD, Diya Hemant was born in London and spent the first six years of her life there. No wonder, then, that she is most at ease with English, and particularly her South London type of speech. When she comes to Mauritius, she learns to speak informal Creole and studies French at school – and makes less of a mess with that language than her sister, Lara, did (language interpretation plays a big part in a critical plot point in Lara’s story). Diya is confident enough to veer between tongues with the snap of fingers – her bestie is, after all, of French origin and speaks horrible English!
And then she meets posh & uptight Trent Garrison who hails from Kent in England…
Diya speaks and thinks with the typical, unpretentious, and slightly working class slant of the South London community, while Trent is definitely more of a traditional Brit, even in his speech. Both are the products of their environments, and in a melting pot land like Mauritius, no wonder such different types can meet and collide!
From Mauritius with love,
Zee’s latest book is out now from Decadent Publishing:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that to find a prince, a girl has to kiss a few frogs along the way. But what happens when a modern-day princess comes across…an ogre?
So what if a girl has to kiss a few frogs to find her prince?
Tired of her Indian-origin mother’s relentless matchmaking, Diya Hemant is determined to find her Prince Charming on her terms. Armed with a definitive list of requirements, she is sure she’ll know her man when she meets him…
But looking and finding are two different things, especially on the tiny island of Mauritius…
When her path crosses surly British widower Trent Garrison’s, it’s hate at first sight. And though fate keeps pitting her against him, she’s certain he can’t be turned into a frog let alone a prince.
Can this modern-day princess overcome her own expectations and see beyond the ogre to the man beneath?
Diya spun around when the warm, strongly male hand closed over her wrist. She risked a startled glance at Trent’s face, to then train her focus to where he touched her. The heat from his palm filtered into her arm, yet she stood frozen.
She glimpsed back up, into his face. What is going on here? In the blink of an eye, everything seemed to have changed.
Lines had appeared on his forehead, his features drawn and pale. But his eyes held an intense light, and the warmth in them took her aback.
Trent Garrison’s grey eyes had always peered at her with ice in them. She remained unprepared for the assault on her mind when the softness of this look washed over her. A quiver thrummed in her chest, tingles shot up from her fingers, and a lump lodged itself in her throat while her mouth went dry.
She parted her lips to speak, but no sound escaped her; only a small, husky breath.
“Thank you, Diya.”
She’d never heard him say her name before. Not like this, anyway. His voice rumbled deep and ragged at the edges. The phrase came out thick with the emotions echoed in the depths of his deep-set eyes….
Something, or someone, tugged on her jeans.
“Can we go now?” a little voice asked.
Startled out of her thoughts, she shook the unreal, dream-like sensation as she emerged from the mist she’d been plunged in by the touch of his skin on hers.
He released her hand, and she bent to scoop Josh in her arms.
“Let’s go, sweetie. I hate hospitals. I’ll meet you at the gate,” she said in Trent’s direction as she left the room.
AllRomance Ebooks https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-lightmyworld-1472190-177.html
– The Island Girls trilogy follows the 3 Hemant sisters – Lara, Neha, Diya – over the span of the 2000-2010 decade, chronicling the changing face of the Mauritian society over that crucial period.
– What makes the perfect man? Should he be handsome, rich, have a great job, good manners, be suave and sophisticated? Light My World touches upon this question, and young women the world over will probably find themselves in Diya and her quest for Mr. Perfect.
About the author:
Stories about love, life, relationships… in a melting-pot of culture
Zee is an author who grew up on a fence – on one side there was modernity and the global world, on the other there was culture and traditions. Putting up with the culture for half of her life, one day she decided she’d stand tall on her wall and dip toes every now and then into both sides of her non-conventional upbringing.
From this resolution spanned a world of adaptation and learning to live on said wall. The realization also came that many other young women of the world were on their own fence.
This particular position became her favourite when she decided to pursue her lifelong dream of writing – her heroines all sit ‘on a fence’, whether cultural or societal, in today’s world or in times past, and face dilemmas about life and love.
Hailing from the multicultural island of Mauritius, Zee is a degree holder in Communications Science. She is a head-over-heels wife, in-over-her-head mum to a tween son, best-buddy-stepmum to a teenage lad, an incompetent domestic goddess, eternal dreamer, and an absolute, shameless bookholic. When she isn’t penning more stories and/or managing the Ubuntu line at Decadent Publishing, you can bet you’ll find her with her nose in her tablet, ‘drinking in’ a good book.