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One of my favorite words is DIASPORA


> I know what you mean. As a Chinese American, I was
> brought up with 2 different cultures and it is quite
> confusing. […]

One of my favorite words is DIASPORA. It originally means “to scatter” but it has acquired the meaning of a culture that is built of multiple cultures, but doesn’t really fit in to any parent culture.

When adults who speak different languages are stuck together in a situation where they have no common language, they stumble along and try to build a language together. This rough language is called a PIDGIN, and works as far as helping these unfortunate people to communicate with each other on a basic level, but it is not a proper, well-formed natural human language. If these people stick together long enough and breed, their children hear this PIDGIN, and using their instincts for language acquisition they normalize the grammar rules and flesh the PIDGIN out into a proper human language, which is called a CREOLE.

For you, your culture might seem like a harsh pidgin, with rules from different places that clash with each other and don’t sound right. I’d like to think that your children will take that from you and grow that into a smoother creole culture that they feel comfortable with, and that might provide some comfort to you, in your own confusion.

If you get a chance, Wyclef Jean has a song in Haitian Creole called “Jaspora” which I take to mean “Diaspora” … Haitian Creole is a mix of French and the African languages that the slaves who were brought to Haiti spoke. Wyclef himself tells the story in his music of moving from Haiti, which is already a carnival of cultures, to New York, which is even more of a carnival, so if he starts singing about cultural DIASPORA you know he knows something about it.

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