Since my Bachelor’s thesis is gonna deal with identification and building identities in two different theatrical contexts with performers from the Middle East (to be precice Iran, Israel, Palestine and – not very Middle Eastern – Germany) I thought a lot about what ‚identity’ could be and last week I met up with a co-worker from university who lived in Israel for some time and is dealing with the Middle East in her dissertation (and has been before in her Master’s thesis) and we talked for some time about our work(s) and the Middle East and the experiences we made ‚over there’.
Obviously – and that was what we agreed about – identity (and especially national identity) is constructed in a slightly different way in the Middle East and I think that the language plays kind of an important role in this game. And then I realized that my knowledge of Hebrew is influencing me more than my knowledge of English or most basic German (which are basically the only two modern languages I know at a decent level). Even though I love English and I do quite an amount of my communication in that language (not to talk about German being my first language as some of you will know/assume/have figured out) my ‚relationship’ with Hebrew is of a different nature. My Hebrew is (of course!) not of the quality my English is – why should it? I’ve learned Hebrew for two and a half years now (two years ‚active’) while my English has been growing for eleven years now (gosh, I’m getting old!). But still it really belongs to me and it had from the very moment of learning the Alef-Bet – which wasn’t really the case when I started learning Russian (for the record, no, sadly I really don’t relate to Russian).
The week before our meet up I talked to a class mate from from the Hebrew class I went to before I decided to go with the harder one. When he asked me why I as a theatre girl would learn Hebrew I answered something very weird but fitting at the same time.
I said: You know, I guess in fell in love with Hebrew the minute I started learning it. And now we’re married. Life-long.
Actually THAT gives me a different perspective of some other things in my life, but I guess, that would be another story….