Filtering by Tag: language
How did we end up writing in a way that sounds like inexpertly translated French?: International Art English (IAE), a hilarious analysis of art writing
IAE has never had a codified grammar; instead, it has evolved by continually incorporating new sources and tactics of sounding foreign, pushing the margins of intelligibility from the standpoint of the English speaker. But one cannot rely on a global readership to feel properly alienated by deviations from the norm.
The IAE of the French press release is almost too perfect: It is written, we can only imagine, by French interns imitating American interns imitating American academics imitating French academics. Scandinavian IAE, on the other hand, tends to be lousy. Presumably its writers are hampered by false confidence—with their complacent non-native fluency in English, they have no ear for IAE.
Can we imagine an art world without IAE? If press releases could not telegraph the seriousness of their subjects, what would they simply say? Without its special language, would art need to submit to the scrutiny of broader audiences and local ones? Would it hold up?
An exhibition by Danish writer and artist Morten Søndergaard equating the structure of language with pharmaceutical products. Ten medicine boxes, each representing one of the ten word-groups. Each box contains a leaflet that functions as an instructional poem, guiding the reader’s ingestion of the given word group.
Common names are a kind of time capsule, a record of the powers of observation and literary inventiveness of ordinary people. They log resemblances, uses, sounds, mythic associations, smells, seasonal appearances, kids’ games, superstitions, habitats. They’re witty, concise, evocative, sometimes even satirical.
The litany of moths whose caterpillars feed on species of willow (aka withy, sallies, saugh, popple, cat’s-tails) reads like a found poem about sensual pleasure: angle shades, autumn green carpet, canary-shouldered thorn, coxcomb prominent, dark dagger, dingy mocha, engrailed, flounced chestnut, pale brinded beauty, ruddy highflyer …
An interview from the Paris Review about how language influences our thoughts.
Languages differ essentially in what they must convey, not in what they may convey (for in theory, every thought can be expressed in every language). Languages differ in what types of information they force the speakers to mention when they describe the world. (For example, some languages require you to be more specific about gender than English does, while English requires you to be more specific about tense than some other languages. Some require you to be more specific about color differences, and so on.) And it turns out that if your language routinely obliges you to express certain information whenever you open your mouth; it forces you to pay attention to certain types of information and to certain aspects of experience that speakers of other languages may not need to be so attentive to.
Living With A Brain Tumour, Tom Lubbock (The Observer). A moving piece on loss of language.
My experience of the world is not made less by lack of language but is essentially unchanged.
This is curious.
My true exit may be accompanied by no words at all, all gone.
The final thing. The illiterate. The dumb.
Quiet but still something?
My body. My tree.
After that it becomes simply the world.