balletrat: (shadowdancer - shati)
[personal profile] balletrat
Meg Giry grew up speaking French, but for months now almost all she's heard around her is English, in all its variations. Hello, hullo, hey and hi; how are you, what's wrong, it's okay; alive and dead and later and bye. All over the bar, people speaking in English, spitting out their consonants like they're going to choke on them. Even her classes are held in English, every flowing French term carefully explained to her students in the heavy, stuffy tongue they understand.

She's even started to dream in English, from time to time.

The Threshold is quiet - often unnervingly so; Meg's used to cities, and unused to solitude - but when her father speaks to her there, he speaks to her in flawless French. For that reason alone, it serves sometimes as a refuge. It's serving as a refuge now.

Meg practices for hours, allegro et arrondi et arabesque, the French phrases passing smoothly through her mind as her body enacts the motions, and in the times between - when she's stretching down or warming up, or simply resting and letting her body recuperate - she thinks about language. About French.

In French, the words all end lightly, so lightly you can hardly tell when one's over and another's begun. The word mort, just to take an example: the English feel the need to tack a vowel onto the end to express almost the same sound, more.

They have the word mort in English, too, but it ends on a clomping t, and it means 'a great number'. Meg's a little amused by that fact, when she remembers it during one of her stretches. It's sort of accurate, after all.

She still prefers the French, though. And perhaps thinking it through completely in French - the language in which mort means death, and le petit mort, the little death, stands for its opposite - will help her to make sense of the caisse, and the rose noir, and Anthy, and the ville des morts.

After a few days, of dancing and thinking and dancing again, she decides it doesn't make much more sense in French after all.

But she feels better all the same.
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balletrat: (Default)

April 2008


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