Or a word, even. I've been thinking about translation issues lately, specifically translation from English into, say, Polish or German.
No real reason.
I wonder how much of voice is language, how much of humor is culture and wordplay. Evie's a funny narrator (Kiersten says, very humbly and grateful that other people agree); how much of that will translate easily over? If she's shifted and squeezed and changed to come out another language on the other side, will her personality change, too?
I'm absolutely fascinated by this idea, how, by changing languages, we become different people. My sister knew a girl who grew up in another country speaking Spanish. When she moved here for college, she spoke strictly English, dating and eventually marrying someone who also spoke strictly English. I'll never forget the comment my sister made, saying, "I hope he knows that she's very different in English than she is in Spanish."
Obviously I'm totally dependent on language for self-expression. I like being able to precisely express myself, to play around with words and phrases for humor. I can't do that very well in other languages (okay, just singular other language, and it's been so long since I studied Spanish I probably can't do anything, period). So for someone who speaks both Polish or German and English to be able to take a book, a character, a voice, and translate them floors me.
I think it's incredible.
My only problem with the whole thing is that I won't be able to read and see what German Evie or Polish Evie is like. Because I'd love to meet them. Regardless, I'm grateful and amazed and thrilled that whole countries of people I couldn't communicate with will be able to meet my writing.
But here's something that really got my over-tired brain whirling last night: what if someone translated Paranormalcy into German, and then someone took that German version and translated it back into English? THAT would be interested to see.
Am I totally geeking out on my own here, or do you, too, ponder the mysteries of language and how they define us culturally?