Language

There is something insistent in our need to communicate. An endless desire to be understood. And languages reflect our needs and desires starting off being quite small and growing as we grow, like flowers opening their petals as the sun rises.

Many years ago they started looking closely at philology in Europe and the ways in which similar sounds mane the same things in different languages – reflecting a common derivation. They came up with ‘100 words’ that they thought were part of that distant proto-language we can never know. A little like word DNA. Languages have character and idiom is one of those strange areas where we learn the brain can conceptualise, in wholly different ways, things like time – whether it be something that flows or grows. And catching faint moments when Chinese relying upon sounds, sounds a little French. No one believes me when I say this!

But language also comes to limit, because we wrap up a particular meaning in words and we get stuck with them for a while. It takes creativity to break out of the limitations. Shaw felt English needed more letters. Pound wanted English poetry to be more like the Chinese.  Language is dynamic. The change is vital as our brains develop.

I just wish I was better at languages than I am.

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February 2019
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