By Any Other Name
Monday, May 10, 2010

Thought of the day...a contemplative entry. This is, strangely, neither an apology, rant, or plea. Just thinking.

Yet another person asked me today why I want to learn as many other languages besides my native tongue as I can. Besides communicating with others, and partially "seeing through their eyes"(as cliche as that is), I want to see all the variable beauty that I can.

Because as a language, English is inadequate for subtleties of poetry and other artistic usages of language.{Besides the fact that other languages have gotten to certain concepts "first", by way of their idea sets. Thus certain 'thoughts' are untranslatable--though a non-native reader can get closer to understanding them by speaking the language.}

Let me clarify. I don't think English is a big hacking sword when what you need is a penknife (being mightier...), I'm just saying it's blunter than necessary when a certain fineness of emotional or physical description is required.

On the other hand, English's multifaceted words are excellent for different and simultaneous interpretation--aka double meanings.
However, a particular word or phrase carrying many connotations must be used in a different way than one with few, like any artistic medium. [surprisingly, words are in fact an artistic medium...]. This effect is amplified when it's applied to the language as a whole.

Also, I just want the author's original intent. Reading a translation, even a good translation, can never be like your Italian grandmother's polenta,only a pale imitation tagged with the quid-pro-quo of a sell-by date.

It gives you the idea, but not the full flavor. So I want to not only read their words, but also their idea, as they thought it.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010 1:39 PM


There are a few languages that are surprisingly simple. Chinese, despite the pictograms, is one of them.

You should talk to DreamTrove, he's interested in stuff like this. So am I, but a lot of it goes over my head. :) I'm more interested in the languages than the utility, I must admit.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 9:37 AM


No this is not the I had in mind is a mite more...offensive. In a good way, like "petty" insults.

A wit is never simple...they like life complicated. Or they end up making it so.

What I meant about English vs. Other Languages was not so much the inadequacy of English but the ultimate inadequacy of translation. As someone who has grown up translating the thoughts and feelings of others to a large extent, physical language is very complicating to that aim. We should all just mindmeld. Too bad our brains don't come with USB cords...I could know kung fu AND ride gigantic improbable pterodactyls...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 9:35 AM


You measure a contradiction with a hypocrite's special oxymoron. Always have them on 'em--gotta steal it though.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 1:19 PM


Also, is this the running blog you mentioned to me?

Also also. Puns are, unfortunately, found in all languages. There is no escape for you. :(

Tuesday, May 11, 2010 1:09 PM


Brevity is the soul of wit, yet simplicity is universally appreciated. How can you have simple wits? How do you measure a contradiction?


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