Monday, January 10, 2011

50 words for snow?

     What if there really were 50 different words for snow?  When does a language dominate, limiting us to express ourselves in simplicity.  I wonder how we even thought before language?  I once dreamt in German, a long time ago when I was in school in Germany.  I wasn't even startled and couldn't say the dreams were deeper or even different.  Language, any language is an attempt to describe and put a name to what we think and how we feel about any situation.  Does culture influence language?  Or the environment, does that influence language?  There must be a polite way to describe eating seal eyeballs and raw fish become sushi and that sounds more interesting in translation.  Language come with prejudice.  Sometimes only one or two words will tell me volumes about what you are talking about and how you feel about it.  I know your position without the whole statement.  "Couch art" would be a good example of this.  It is derogatory enough.
      Some words would be impossible to translate because we just don't think that way.  A single word might require a whole book of explanation.  "I love you," toast and jam, art and music, wow, that could be very confusing indeed.  We should really invent 50 words for love.  We have fifty ways to leave your lover and only one to express it?  We could narrow it down a bit with qualifying adjectives, limiting and cautious.  We could narrow it down until we no longer love it.  Until we were again safe with that word.
     Personally I use it often and rarely do I wish to entertain its definition. By defining it we are saying there are circumstances where the definition doesn't apply.  Or the worst kind, conditional, as long as you fill a need.  I think it is possible to love someone or even something without a desire to possess them.  I can love the dance of a butterfly without wanting to put it in a jar.  Just, as is, with no expectations.
     Sometimes I talk to my dog about this.  He seems to know a lot about it.  In a language not translatable or unnecessary at any rate.

7 comments:

Kay said...

so glad you have your dog to listen to you!

stonepost said...

Thank you, Kay, my dog understands me!

Clipped Wings said...

And I can love you as a friend even though I don't know what the hell you are talking about, ha ha. You're so philosophical today...you're making me have to work my brain on this one. I think words are interpreted by circumstances, environment, culture, upbringing, the list can go on and on. That's why love, just the word 'love' has so many meanings whether you like them all or not, or believe in them or not. All things influence, so I think that's why so may people have so many varing thoughts about what love is or label love in degrees. Forget what the dictionary says. I can love everything in nature without ever taking any of it home with me, but I have taken things from nature home with me in the past because I loved them. Life gets complicated when analyzing it. Don't know if this will make sense to you, or if it is even what you are talking about. You are forcing me to use a part of my brain that is a little rusty. Perhaps I should have just read this post and left, lol, but it's not my nature to ignor.

stonepost said...

Oh, Clipped Wings, you are a sweetheart for not ignoring me!

AutumnLeaves said...

Double speak! LOL Words are very strong weapons, I find. Beautiful, strong, mean, angry, adoring, loving...they pack a punch.

stonepost said...

I don't think of it as "double speak", all I am saying is words can get lost in translation and the process of defining them can be limiting. Think of it as an art critic explaining an artist's work. By definition the process is limiting and restricting.

Constance said...

The reason why you are so beloved is because you do not try to imprison, pin or maim it. By doing so, you fly also! oxox