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May 20, 2014

Lost in Translation

No language captures every human concept or experience.

Sometimes we like to imagine, or even convince ourselves...

...that our, or any, language can express or define every conceivable thought or action.

This might surprise you, but I actually take a lot of comfort in the idea that no single language can 'hold' the many, perhaps even infinite, nuances of humanly perceived and mediated existence.

Here's a link to exploring a few of the concepts, and a few of the languages that capture them better, and more fully than the English language - http://www.boredpanda.com/untranslatable-words-found-in-translation-anjana-iyer/.

These are great words, but I don't know about you, but I seem to constantly run up against the limitations of language.

What word, for example, sums up that rare, fleeting feeling (at least for me) that life is going exactly the way it should be going?

Or what about that sensation of waking up earlier than you need to, wide awake and actually looking forward to the unexpected aspect of a new day?

I have learned to appreciate the peculiar linguistic histories of a multitude of words and phrases from earth's many languages.

I hope you will if you haven't already.

Be sure to send us any words or phrases that puzzle you, and be sure to let us know what it is about English and language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.

Morf

Posted by mmorf at May 20, 2014 09:31 AM

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