Speaking Different Languages Quotes

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It's just a whisper of a kiss but something collapses in my skull. It's a feather-light brush of his mouth against my skin in a place I can't quite see. It's my mind speaking in a thousand different languages I don't understand.
Tahereh Mafi (Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2))
I find that all people are fundamentally alike. We are one human family. Perhaps we have different clothes, our skin is of a different color, or we speak various languages, but that is on the surface only. We all have dreams and seek for things that will bring true happiness. To know all the world, I just need to learn about myself.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Quest (The Tiger Saga, #2))
Was there a language of loss? Did everyone who suffered speak a different dialect?
Jodi Picoult (Handle with Care)
I think we all speak a different sort of language than one another, but boy you sound a whole lot like coffee on a Sunday morning.
Shinji Moon (The Anatomy of Being)
Abbey: Did you speak to me in a different language? When I was in the hospital? Caspian: Something to keep the nightmares at bay. To let you know I was there. Tu sei una stella...la mia stella. It means 'You're a star. My star.
Jessica Verday (The Hidden (The Hollow, #3))
...their voices are quieter than the other groups around them, but their body language speaks volumes.
Sandy Hall (A Little Something Different)
I write to find strength. I write to become the person that hides inside me. I write to light the way through the darkness for others. I write to be seen and heard. I write to be near those I love. I write by accident, promptings, purposefully and anywhere there is paper. I write because my heart speaks a different language that someone needs to hear. I write past the embarrassment of exposure. I write because hypocrisy doesn’t need answers, rather it needs questions to heal. I write myself out of nightmares. I write because I am nostalgic, romantic and demand happy endings. I write to remember. I write knowing conversations don’t always take place. I write because speaking can’t be reread. I write to sooth a mind that races. I write because you can play on the page like a child left alone in the sand. I write because my emotions belong to the moon; high tide, low tide. I write knowing I will fall on my words, but no one will say it was for very long. I write because I want to paint the world the way I see love should be. I write to provide a legacy. I write to make sense out of senselessness. I write knowing I will be killed by my own words, stabbed by critics, crucified by both misunderstanding and understanding. I write for the haters, the lovers, the lonely, the brokenhearted and the dreamers. I write because one day someone will tell me that my emotions were not a waste of time. I write because God loves stories. I write because one day I will be gone, but what I believed and felt will live on.
Shannon L. Alder
They fight a war and they don't know what for. Isn't that crazy? How can one man kill another and not really know the reason why he does it, except that the other man wears a different color uniform and speaks a different language?
Michael Morpurgo (War Horse (War Horse, #1))
I’m here to take you on a date.” I blinked. “A date?” I repeated as if it was a foreign word I’d never heard before. “You know, where we go out, hold hands, cast longing glances at each other? It’s tradition. You might have heard of it.” “But I have class.” “Class?” Now he was looking at me as if I was speaking a different language. “But it’s ten o’clock at night.” “We have classes until midnight.” I smiled pointedly. “The thing about vampires is that they kind of like the night. It’s tradition. You might have heard of it?” “Oh, smart mouth.” He grinned back. “Sexy.
Alyxandra Harvey (Out for Blood (Drake Chronicles, #3))
Have you ever heard the saying that if you’re with someone who doesn’t speak your language, you’ll spend a lifetime having to translate your soul? Amy never spoke your language. […] Briana’s different. She understands you, even when you don’t say anything at all.
Abby Jimenez (Yours Truly (Part of Your World, #2))
The difference between a stumbling block and a stepping stone is how high you raise your foot.
Benny Lewis (Fluent in 3 Months: How Anyone at Any Age Can Learn to Speak Any Language from Anywhere in the World)
That’s what I like about sports. No matter if everyone playing the game speaks completely different languages, on the field, or the court, wherever they are playing, the language of moves and passes and scores is all the same. Universal.
Rachel Cohn (Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1))
It was interesting to see the change that came over Boris when he was speaking another language—a sort of livening, or alertness, a sense of a different and more efficient person occupying his body.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
She didn't say anything—at least, not with her mouth. Her eyes told me a different story. The only problem was that they each had a thousand tongues talking, each in a language I didn't speak.
J.X. Burros
We may belong to different races and have different colours. We may speak different languages and follow different religions. We may have different perceptions and live in different realities. But we all live in one world and belong to a single humanity.
Mouloud Benzadi
The geniuses of all ages and of all lands speak different languages but the same flame burns in them all. Oh, if you only knew what unearthly happiness my soul feels now from being able to understand them.
Anton Chekhov (The Bet and Other Stories)
..when I tried to talk to him I realized that, though ties of blood made us kin, though I could see a shadow of my face in his face, though there was an echo of my voice in his voice, we were forever strangers, speaking a different language, living on vastly distant planes of reality
Richard Wright (Black Boy)
I wish I didn’t need words to speak to her. They sometimes hold very different meanings for us both.
Darnell Lamont Walker
Dearest creature in creation, Study English pronunciation. I will teach you in my verse Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse. I will keep you, Suzy, busy, Make your head with heat grow dizzy. Tear in eye, your dress will tear. So shall I! Oh hear my prayer. Just compare heart, beard, and heard, Dies and diet, lord and word, Sword and sward, retain and Britain. (Mind the latter, how it’s written.) Now I surely will not plague you With such words as plaque and ague. But be careful how you speak: Say break and steak, but bleak and streak; Cloven, oven, how and low, Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe. Hear me say, devoid of trickery, Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore, Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles, Exiles, similes, and reviles; Scholar, vicar, and cigar, Solar, mica, war and far; One, anemone, Balmoral, Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel; Gertrude, German, wind and mind, Scene, Melpomene, mankind. Billet does not rhyme with ballet, Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet. Blood and flood are not like food, Nor is mould like should and would. Viscous, viscount, load and broad, Toward, to forward, to reward. And your pronunciation’s OK When you correctly say croquet, Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve, Friend and fiend, alive and live. Ivy, privy, famous; clamour And enamour rhyme with hammer. River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb, Doll and roll and some and home. Stranger does not rhyme with anger, Neither does devour with clangour. Souls but foul, haunt but aunt, Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant, Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger, And then singer, ginger, linger, Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge, Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age. Query does not rhyme with very, Nor does fury sound like bury. Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth. Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath. Though the differences seem little, We say actual but victual. Refer does not rhyme with deafer. Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer. Mint, pint, senate and sedate; Dull, bull, and George ate late. Scenic, Arabic, Pacific, Science, conscience, scientific. Liberty, library, heave and heaven, Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven. We say hallowed, but allowed, People, leopard, towed, but vowed. Mark the differences, moreover, Between mover, cover, clover; Leeches, breeches, wise, precise, Chalice, but police and lice; Camel, constable, unstable, Principle, disciple, label. Petal, panel, and canal, Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal. Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair, Senator, spectator, mayor. Tour, but our and succour, four. Gas, alas, and Arkansas. Sea, idea, Korea, area, Psalm, Maria, but malaria. Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean. Doctrine, turpentine, marine. Compare alien with Italian, Dandelion and battalion. Sally with ally, yea, ye, Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key. Say aver, but ever, fever, Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver. Heron, granary, canary. Crevice and device and aerie. Face, but preface, not efface. Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass. Large, but target, gin, give, verging, Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging. Ear, but earn and wear and tear Do not rhyme with here but ere. Seven is right, but so is even, Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen, Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk, Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work. Pronunciation (think of Psyche!) Is a paling stout and spikey? Won’t it make you lose your wits, Writing groats and saying grits? It’s a dark abyss or tunnel: Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale, Islington and Isle of Wight, Housewife, verdict and indict. Finally, which rhymes with enough, Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough? Hiccough has the sound of cup. My advice is to give up!!!
Gerard Nolst Trenité (Drop your Foreign Accent)
I tell you, my friends,’ he said one day. ‘I tell you that I am the only sane man in the regiment. It’s the others that are mad, but they don’t know it. They fight a war and they don’t know what for. Isn’t that crazy? How can one man kill another and not really know the reason why he does it, except that the other man wears a different colour uniform and speaks a different language? And it’s me they call mad!
Michael Morpurgo (War Horse (War Horse, #1))
To make matters worse, everyone she talks to has a different opinion about the nature of his problem and what she should do about it. Her clergyperson may tell her, “Love heals all difficulties. Give him your heart fully, and he will find the spirit of God.” Her therapist speaks a different language, saying, “He triggers strong reactions in you because he reminds you of your father, and you set things off in him because of his relationship with his mother. You each need to work on not pushing each other’s buttons.” A recovering alcoholic friend tells her, “He’s a rage addict. He controls you because he is terrified of his own fears. You need to get him into a twelve-step program.” Her brother may say to her, “He’s a good guy. I know he loses his temper with you sometimes—he does have a short fuse—but you’re no prize yourself with that mouth of yours. You two need to work it out, for the good of the children.” And then, to crown her increasing confusion, she may hear from her mother, or her child’s schoolteacher, or her best friend: “He’s mean and crazy, and he’ll never change. All he wants is to hurt you. Leave him now before he does something even worse.” All of these people are trying to help, and they are all talking about the same abuser. But he looks different from each angle of view.
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
If you’ve got a dozen pitchers, you need to speak 12 different languages.
Michael Lewis (Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game)
I believe that one is more successful in expressing oneself through written words rather than speaking. While speaking, one misses the details. But writing? Writing is different altogether. It gives us ample time to contemplate what we wish to communicate. As a result, the flow of our thoughts seems much more coherent.
Abhaidev (The Influencer: Speed Must Have a Limit)
As long as human beings speak different languages, the need for translation will continue.
Nataly Kelly (Found in Translation: How Language Shapes Our Lives and Transforms the World)
He and I speak the same language...we just have different accents.
Jenn Cooksey (Shark Bait (Grab Your Pole, #1))
The first cause of discord is difference. There is no religion on Godspeed. We all speak the same language. We're all monoethnic. And because we are not different, we don't fight. Remember the Crusades I taught you? The genocides? We will never have to worry about those types of horrific events on Godspeed.
Beth Revis (Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1))
When misunderstandings arise, remember that we speak different languages; take the time necessary to translate what your partner really means or wants to say. This definitely takes practice, but it is well worth it.
John Gray (Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: A Practical Guide for Improving Communication and Getting What You Want in Your Relationships (181 POCHE))
I, however, was perfectly aware of my beauty. I considered it a skill, alongside speaking French, English, Italian and German. It was a language of its own, in a way. One that translated well in different circumstances.
Kiersten White (The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein)
Hamilton touched me because it reflected the kind of history I'd lived myself. It told a story about America that allowed the diversity in. I thought about this afterward: So many of us go through life with our stories hidden, feeling ashamed or afraid when our whole truth doesn't live up to some established ideal. We grow up with messages that tell us that there's only one way to be American - that if our skin is dark or our hips are wide, if we don't experience love in a particular way, if we speak another language or come from another country, then we don't belong. That is, until someone dares to start telling that story differently.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
You send me all these roses. Every time I think the last bouquet has arrived, finally, another turns up. I’m running out of vases. I didn’t know roses came in so many colors. You say they’re the perfect symbols of love because they have thorns and love is pain. I say life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something. And you don’t get it. You say you love me, but you don’t speak my language. You don’t even realize I’m an orchid girl.
Erin Morgenstern
If there is a country in the world where concord, according to common calculation, would be least expected, it is America. Made up as it is of people from different nations, accustomed to different forms and habits of government, speaking different languages, and more different in their modes of worship, it would appear that the union of such a people was impracticable; but by the simple operation of constructing government on the principles of society and the rights of man, every difficulty retires, and all the parts are brought into cordial unison. There the poor are not oppressed, the rich are not privileged. Industry is not mortified by the splendid extravagance of a court rioting at its expense. Their taxes are few, because their government is just: and as there is nothing to render them wretched, there is nothing to engender riots and tumults.
Thomas Paine (Rights of Man)
The language in which we are speaking is his before it is mine. How different are the words HOME, CHRIST, ALE, MASTER, on his lips and on mine! I cannot speak or write these words without unrest of spirit. His language, so familiar and so foreign, will always be for me an acquired speech. I have not made or accepted its words. My voice holds them at bay. My soul frets in the shadow of his language.
James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man)
Whether religious or racial, anti-Semitism is always repugnant, one of the most destructive manifestations of human stupidity and evil. What is profoundly expressed in it is man's traditional mistrust of the man who is not part of his tribe, that 'other' who speaks a different language, whose skin is a different color, and who participates in mysterious rites and rituals.
Mario Vargas Llosa
Rome was mud and smoky skies; the rank smell of the Tiber and the exotically spiced cooking fires of a hundred different nationalities. Rome was white marble and gilding and heady perfumes; the blare of trumpets and the shrieking of market-women and the eternal, sub-aural hum of more people, speaking more languages than Gaius had ever imagined existed, crammed together on seven hills whose contours had long ago disappeared beneath this encrustation if humanity. Rome was the pulsing heart of the world.
Marion Zimmer Bradley (The Forest House (Avalon, #2))
No one who survives to speak new language, has avoided this: the cutting-away of an old force that held her rooted to an old ground the pitch of utter loneliness where she herself and all creation seem equally dispersed, weightless, her being a cry to which no echo comes or can ever come. But in fact we were always like this, rootless, dismembered: knowing it makes the difference. Birth stripped our birthright from us, tore us from a woman, from women, from ourselves so early on and the whole chorus throbbing at our ears like midges, told us nothing, nothing of origins, nothing we needed to know, nothing that could re-member us.
Adrienne Rich (The Dream of a Common Language)
Thank God for immigrants. They're the only ones who have any personality left. They still allow themselves emotions, judgments, and all those qualities that we are "evolving" past. I don't know what they're saying, but I can tell they're speaking honestly.
Colin Quinn (The Coloring Book: A Comedian Solves Race Relations in America)
If we weren’t trying to control whether a person liked us or his or her reaction to us, what would we do differently? If we weren’t trying to control the course of a relationship, what would we do differently? If we weren’t trying to control another person’s behavior, how would we think, feel, speak, and behave differently than we do now? What haven’t we been letting ourselves do while hoping that self-denial would influence a particular situation or person? Are there some things we’ve been doing that we’d stop? How would we treat ourselves differently? Would we let ourselves enjoy life more and feel better right now? Would we stop feeling so bad? Would we treat ourselves better? If we weren’t trying to control, what would we do differently? Make a list, then do it.
Melody Beattie (The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations on Codependency (Hazelden Meditation Series))
Huxley: "Tell me something Bryce, do you know the difference between a Jersey, a Guernsey, a Holstein, and an Ayershire?" Bryce: "No." Huxley: "Seabags Brown does." Bryce: "I don't see what that has to do..." Huxley: "What do you know about Gaelic history?" Bryce: "Not much." Huxley: "Then why don't you sit down one day with Gunner McQuade. He is an expert. Speaks the language, too." Bryce: "I don't..." Huxley: " What do you know about astronomy?" Bryce: "A little." Huxley: "Discuss it with Wellman, he held a fellowship." Bryce: "This is most puzzling." Huxley: "What about Homer, ever read Homer?" Bryce: "Of course I've read Homer." Huxley: "In the original Greek?" Bryce: "No" Huxley: "Then chat with Pfc. Hodgkiss. Loves to read the ancient Greek." Bryce: "Would you kindly get to the point?" Huxley: "The point is this, Bryce. What makes you think you are so goddam superior? Who gave you the bright idea that you had a corner on the world's knowledge? There are privates in this battalion who can piss more brains down a slit trench then you'll ever have. You're the most pretentious, egotistical individual I've ever encountered. Your superiority complex reeks. I've seen the way you treat men, like a big strutting peacock. Why, you've had them do everything but wipe your ass.
Leon Uris (Battle Cry)
Oh, Jesus,” he said, wheezing with the effort it took to control himself. He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand. “You little innocent. I’m fluent in French, but it isn’t my first language.” It was plain by the mortified expression in those green eyes that she didn’t understand, so he explained. “Baby , if I can still think clearly enough to speak French, then I’m not totally involved in what I’m doing. It may sound pretty , but it doesn’t mean any thing. Men are different from women; the more excited we are, the more like cavemen we sound. I could barely speak English with you, much less French. As I remember, my vocabulary deteriorated to a few short, explicit words, ‘fuck’ being the most prominent.” To his amazement, she blushed, and he smiled at this further evidence of her charming prudery. “Go to sleep,” he said gently. “Lindsey didn’t even rate a replay.
Linda Howard (After the Night)
In the context of the English language, there were many more important words than “in.” There were fancy words, historic words, words that meant life or death. There were multi-syllabic tongue-twisters that required a sort out before speaking, and mission-critical pivotals that started wars or ended wars…and even poetic nonsensicals that were like a symphony as they left the lips. Generally speaking, “in” did not play with the big boys. In fact, it barely had much of a definition at all, and, in the course of its working life, was usually nothing but a bridge, a conduit for the heavy lifters in any given sentence. There was, however, one context in which that humble little two-letter, one-syllable jobbie was a BFD. Love. The difference between someone “loving” somebody versus being “in love” was a curb to the Grand Canyon. The head of a pin to the entire Midwest. An exhale to a hurricane.
J.R. Ward (Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #11))
You told me trees could speak and the only reason one heard silence in the forest was that they had all been born knowing different languages. That night I went into the forest to bury dictionaries under roots, so many books in so many tongues as to insure speech. and now this very moment, the forest seems alive with whispers and murmurs and rumblings of sound wind-rushed into my ears. I do not speak any language that crosses the silence around me but how soothing to know that the yearning and grasping embodied in trees’ convoluted and startling shapes is finally being fulfilled in their wind shouts to each other. Yet we who both speak English and have since we were born are moving ever farther apart even as branch tips touch.
Carol Goodman (The Drowning Tree)
It is important to keep in mind that to learn a language is not simply to learn a linguistic means of communication. It is also to learn the way of thinking and feeling of a people who speak and write a language which is different from ours. It is to learn the history and culture underlying their thoughts and emotions and so to learn to empathize with them.
Benedict Anderson (A Life Beyond Boundaries)
... yes I speak a different language - the dark fire of poetry - it flutters and gutters in tune with the mood ...
John Geddes (A Familiar Rain)
My past and present selves speak two different languages.
Trung Le Nguyen (The Magic Fish)
O: You’re quite a writer. You’ve a gift for language, you’re a deft hand at plotting, and your books seem to have an enormous amount of attention to detail put into them. You’re so good you could write anything. Why write fantasy? Pratchett: I had a decent lunch, and I’m feeling quite amiable. That’s why you’re still alive. I think you’d have to explain to me why you’ve asked that question. O: It’s a rather ghettoized genre. P: This is true. I cannot speak for the US, where I merely sort of sell okay. But in the UK I think every book— I think I’ve done twenty in the series— since the fourth book, every one has been one the top ten national bestsellers, either as hardcover or paperback, and quite often as both. Twelve or thirteen have been number one. I’ve done six juveniles, all of those have nevertheless crossed over to the adult bestseller list. On one occasion I had the adult best seller, the paperback best-seller in a different title, and a third book on the juvenile bestseller list. Now tell me again that this is a ghettoized genre. O: It’s certainly regarded as less than serious fiction. P: (Sighs) Without a shadow of a doubt, the first fiction ever recounted was fantasy. Guys sitting around the campfire— Was it you who wrote the review? I thought I recognized it— Guys sitting around the campfire telling each other stories about the gods who made lightning, and stuff like that. They did not tell one another literary stories. They did not complain about difficulties of male menopause while being a junior lecturer on some midwestern college campus. Fantasy is without a shadow of a doubt the ur-literature, the spring from which all other literature has flown. Up to a few hundred years ago no one would have disagreed with this, because most stories were, in some sense, fantasy. Back in the middle ages, people wouldn’t have thought twice about bringing in Death as a character who would have a role to play in the story. Echoes of this can be seen in Pilgrim’s Progress, for example, which hark back to a much earlier type of storytelling. The epic of Gilgamesh is one of the earliest works of literature, and by the standard we would apply now— a big muscular guys with swords and certain godlike connections— That’s fantasy. The national literature of Finland, the Kalevala. Beowulf in England. I cannot pronounce Bahaghvad-Gita but the Indian one, you know what I mean. The national literature, the one that underpins everything else, is by the standards that we apply now, a work of fantasy. Now I don’t know what you’d consider the national literature of America, but if the words Moby Dick are inching their way towards this conversation, whatever else it was, it was also a work of fantasy. Fantasy is kind of a plasma in which other things can be carried. I don’t think this is a ghetto. This is, fantasy is, almost a sea in which other genres swim. Now it may be that there has developed in the last couple of hundred years a subset of fantasy which merely uses a different icongraphy, and that is, if you like, the serious literature, the Booker Prize contender. Fantasy can be serious literature. Fantasy has often been serious literature. You have to fairly dense to think that Gulliver’s Travels is only a story about a guy having a real fun time among big people and little people and horses and stuff like that. What the book was about was something else. Fantasy can carry quite a serious burden, and so can humor. So what you’re saying is, strip away the trolls and the dwarves and things and put everyone into modern dress, get them to agonize a bit, mention Virginia Woolf a few times, and there! Hey! I’ve got a serious novel. But you don’t actually have to do that. (Pauses) That was a bloody good answer, though I say it myself.
Terry Pratchett
We speak and understand best our native language. We feel most comfortable speaking that language. The more we use a secondary language, the more comfortable we become conversing in it. If we speak only our primary language and encounter someone else who speaks only his or her primary language, which is different from ours, our communication will be limited. We must rely on pointing, grunting, drawing pictures, or acting out our ideas. We can communicate, but it is awkward.
Gary Chapman (The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts)
Among lovers, only those with wings flee this worldly cage before death comes. The condition of these lovers is hard to recount, for such souls speak a different tongue. The one who learns and speaks their language will hold the elixir of happiness at Simorgh's court.
Attar of Nishapur (The Conference of the Birds)
It's not about who loves her. It's about how you love her. You have to learn the difference between what she says, and what she means. Don't just make her laugh. Try and understand why she smiles. Plenty have told her she's beautiful, but can you make her feel that way too? There's a difference, see. Compliments might cage her, while empowerment sets her free. My God, what matters to her is not just who flatters her. There's a language to her love you'll need to learn. Speak it true, and I promise you, the best of her, is what you'll earn.
J. Raymond
...we were different boys, we were brave new boys without a Mum. So when he told us what happened I don't know what my brother was thinking but I was thinking this: Where are the fire engines? Where is the noise and clamour of an event like this? Where are the strangers going out of their way to help, screaming, flinging bits of emergency glow-in-the-dark equipment at us to try and settle us and save us? There should be men in helmets speaking a new and dramatic language of crisis. There should be horrible levels of noise, completely foreign and inappropriate for our cosy London flat.
Max Porter (Grief is the Thing with Feathers)
When you speak in other tongues, no one understands what you’re saying, because you’re speaking to God. It’s a direct communication between your spirit and God. You’re speaking the language that only He understands.
Chris Oyakhilome (How To Pray Effectively: Understanding The Rules Of Prayer For Different Situations And How To Apply Them For Your Desired Outcome)
One of the advantage of being an immigrant is that two very different countries are forced to merge within you. The language you were born speaking and the one you will probably die speaking have no choice but to find a common place in your brain and regularly merge there.
Edwidge Danticat (Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work)
So for all that we might speak words in each other's vicinity, this could never develop into anything that could be called a conversation. It was as though we were speaking in different languages. If the Dalai Lama were on his deathbed and the jazz musician Eric Dolphy were to try to explain to him the importance of choosing one's engine oil in accordance with changes in the sound of the bass clarinet, that exchange might have been more worthwhile and effective than my conversations with Noboru Wataya.
Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle)
In Japan, even when you're alone, you're never really that lonely. But the loneliness you feel living among people with differently coloured skin and eyes, whose language you don't even speak very well - that sort of loneliness is something you feel down to the marrow of your bones.
Ryū Murakami (Audition)
These people live in many lands, speak different languages, practice different religions, may even hate one another- yet none of these differences prevented them from cooperating to produce a pencil. How did it happen? Adam Smith gave us the answer two hundred years ago.
Milton Friedman
Rife's key realization was that there's no difference between modern culture and Sumerian. We have a huge workforce that is illiterate or alliterate and relies on TV-which is sort of an oral tradition. And we have a small, extremely literate power elite-the people who go into the Meatverse, basically-who understand that information is power, and who control society because they have this semimystical ability to speak magic computer languages.
Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash)
Responding to a moderator at the Sydney Writers Festival in 2008 (video), about the Spanish words in his book: When all of us are communicating and talking when we’re out in the world, we’ll be lucky if we can understand 20 percent of what people say to us. A whole range of clues, of words, of languages escape us. I mean we’re not perfect, we’re not gods. But on top of that people mis-speak, sometimes you mis-hear, sometimes you don’t have attention, sometimes people use words you don’t know. Sometimes people use languages you don’t know. On a daily basis, human beings are very comfortable with a large component of communication, which is incomprehensibility, incomprehension. We tend to be comfortable with it. But for an immigrant, it becomes very different. What most of us consider normative comprehension an immigrant fears that they’re not getting it because of their lack of mastery in the language. And what’s a normal component in communication, incomprehension, in some ways for an immigrant becomes a source of deep anxiety because you’re not sure if it’s just incomprehension or your own failures. My sense of writing a book where there is an enormous amount of language that perhaps everyone doesn’t have access to was less to communicate the experience of the immigrant than to communicate the experience that for an immigrant causes much discomfort but that is normative for people. which is that we tend to not understand, not grasp a large part of the language around us. What’s funny is, will Ramona accept incomprehension in our everyday lives and will greet that in a book with enormous fury. In other words what we’re comfortable with out in the outside world, we do not want to encounter in our books. So I’m constantly, people have come to me and asked me… is this, are you trying to lock out your non-Dominican reader, you know? And I’m like, no? I assume any gaps in a story and words people don’t understand, whether it’s the nerdish stuff, whether it’s the Elvish, whether it’s the character going on about Dungeons and Dragons, whether it’s the Dominican Spanish, whether it’s the sort of high level graduate language, I assume if people don’t get it that this is not an attempt for the writer to be aggressive. This is an attempt for the writer to encourage the reader to build community, to go out and ask somebody else. For me, words that you can’t understand in a book aren’t there to torture or remind people that they don’t know. I always felt they were to remind people that part of the experience of reading has always been collective. You learn to read with someone else. Yeah you may currently practice it in a solitary fashion, but reading is a collective enterprise. And what the unintelligible in a book does is to remind you how our whole, lives we’ve always needed someone else to help us with reading.
Junot Díaz
We are looking for a tongue that speaks with reverence for life, searching for an ecology of mind. Without it, we have no home, no place of our own within the creation. It is not only the vocabulary of science we desire. We want a language of that different yield. A yield rich as the harvests of the earth, a yield that returns us to our own sacredness, to a self-love and resort that will carry out to others.
Linda Hogan (Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World)
Surrounded by people speaking a different language, our family started talking to each other. We drew into a very small tribe (population: four), who ate together, and squabbled together, and mostly played together. We learned to waste our moments-together. And then we brought that lesson home with us.
Eloisa James (Paris in Love)
I’m in a caregiver's relationship with my body, a perpetual internal gauging of wellness. My spine is Hogarth’s thermometer. I ascend and descend its rungs a hundred times a day, reading the mercury level. The same dis-ease speaks many languages. If you block one mouth, another will speak. The symptoms represent differently, and as I get older, my translation changes. The prescription changes. Must be vigilant. Must be my best nurse.
Jalina Mhyana
The Greek word for "return" is nostos. Algos means "suffering." So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return. To express that fundamental notion most Europeans can utilize a word derived from the Greek (nostalgia, nostalgie) as well as other words with roots in their national languages: añoranza, say the Spaniards; saudade, say the Portuguese. In each language these words have a different semantic nuance. Often they mean only the sadness caused by the impossibility of returning to one's country: a longing for country, for home. What in English is called "homesickness." Or in German: Heimweh. In Dutch: heimwee. But this reduces that great notion to just its spatial element. One of the oldest European languages, Icelandic (like English) makes a distinction between two terms: söknuour: nostalgia in its general sense; and heimprá: longing for the homeland. Czechs have the Greek-derived nostalgie as well as their own noun, stesk, and their own verb; the most moving, Czech expression of love: styska se mi po tobe ("I yearn for you," "I'm nostalgic for you"; "I cannot bear the pain of your absence"). In Spanish añoranza comes from the verb añorar (to feel nostalgia), which comes from the Catalan enyorar, itself derived from the Latin word ignorare (to be unaware of, not know, not experience; to lack or miss), In that etymological light nostalgia seems something like the pain of ignorance, of not knowing. You are far away, and I don't know what has become of you. My country is far away, and I don't know what is happening there. Certain languages have problems with nostalgia: the French can only express it by the noun from the Greek root, and have no verb for it; they can say Je m'ennuie de toi (I miss you), but the word s'ennuyer is weak, cold -- anyhow too light for so grave a feeling. The Germans rarely use the Greek-derived term Nostalgie, and tend to say Sehnsucht in speaking of the desire for an absent thing. But Sehnsucht can refer both to something that has existed and to something that has never existed (a new adventure), and therefore it does not necessarily imply the nostos idea; to include in Sehnsucht the obsession with returning would require adding a complementary phrase: Sehnsucht nach der Vergangenheit, nach der verlorenen Kindheit, nach der ersten Liebe (longing for the past, for lost childhood, for a first love).
Milan Kundera (Ignorance)
Individuals who speak languages other than English, who speak patois as well as standard English, find it a necessary aspect of self-affirmation not to feel compelled to chose one voice over another, not to claim one as more authentic but rather to construct social realities that celebrate, acknowledge and affirm differences, variety.
bell hooks (Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black)
But Christian illiteracy is only the first part of the crisis. Even more seriously, even for those who think they speak “Christian” fluently, the faith itself is often misunderstood and distorted by many to whom it is seemingly very familiar. They think they are speaking the language as it has always been understood, but what they mean by the words and concepts is so different from what these things have meant historically, that they would have trouble communicating with the very authors of the past they honor.
Marcus J. Borg (Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power—And How They Can Be Restored)
I’ve always loved listening to the way different people speak, it can tell you so much about them. I don’t just mean accents, I mean everything: the tone, the volume, the speed, as well as the language. The words they choose to use, and how and when and why they say them. The silences between the sentences, which can be just as loud. A person’s voice is like a wave – some just wash right over you, while others have the power to knock you down and drag you into an ocean of self-doubt. The sound of her speaking makes me feel like I’m drowning.
Alice Feeney (His & Hers)
In a world where we spend ever more of our time staring at screens, blocking out even our most intimate and proximate human contacts, public institutions with open-door policies compel us to pay close attention to people nearby. After all, places like libraries are saturated with strangers, people whose bodies are different, whose styles are different, who make different sounds, speak different languages, give off different, sometimes noxious, smells. Spending time in public social infrastructures requires learning to deal with these differences in a civil manner.
Eric Klinenberg (Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life)
There is no ready vocabulary to describe the ways in which artists become artists, no recognition that artists must learn to be who they are (even as they cannot help being who they are.) We have a language that reflects how we learn to paint, but not how we learn to paint our paintings. How do you describe the [reader to place words here] that changes when craft swells to art? "Artists come together with the clear knowledge that when all is said and done, they will return to their studio and practice art alone. Period. That simple truth may be the deepest bond we share. The message across time from the painted bison and the carved ivory seal speaks not of the differences between the makers of that art and ourselves, but of the similarities. Today these similarities lay hidden beneath urban complexity -- audience, critics, economics, trivia -- in a self-conscious world. Only in those moments when we are truly working on our own work do we recover the fundamental connection we share with all makers of art. The rest may be necessary, but it's not art. Your job is to draw a line from your art to your life that is straight and clear.
David Bayles (Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking)
The sun is at the horizon now, and the sky streaks with reds and golds. The whole world seems to be wearing a halo, and for a second I let myself savor it. I let myself believe. Alexei's arm is warm around my shoulder and a cool breeze blows in off the sea. Between us, we speak seven different languages, but not a one of us says a word. We sit in silence as the sun sets, marking the end of this day. Marking the beginning of everything else.
Ally Carter (Take the Key and Lock Her Up (Embassy Row, #3))
I felt like a man who wakes alone on a deserted island to find that the rest of the world has stolen away in boats in the night. I felt like I was standing on a shore, watching small receding shapes on the horizon. I felt like I had been speaking English, and now I realized everyone else had been speaking a different language entirely. The world was changing. And I didn’t want it to.
Lee Child (The Enemy (Jack Reacher, #8))
This is where I go, when I go: It's a room with no windows and no doors, and walls that are thin enough for me to see and hear everything but too thick to break through. I'm there, but I'm not there. I am pounding to be let out, but nobody can hear me. This is where I go, when I go: To a country where everyone's face looks different from mine, and the language is the act of not speaking, and noise is everywhere in the air we breathe. I am doing what the Romans do in Rome; I am trying to communicate, but no one has bothered to tell me that these people cannot hear. This is where I go, when I go: Somewhere completely, unutterably orange. This is where I go, when I go: To the place where my body becomes a piano full of black keys only—the sharps and the flats, when everyone know that to play a song other people want to hear, you need some white keys. This is why I come back: To find those white keys.
Jodi Picoult (House Rules)
I am not better than you because of my religion, color, culture, education, status, wealth, etc. I am not, and neither are you, I must accept, and so should you, that there are differences between us that we were born into. Why do we focus on these differences? Put your hand in mine and let us accept that our differences should not come in the way of us uniting for the basic human values that we share: compassion, peacefulness, respect, honesty, innocence, humbleness and sympathy. Does a baby born here smile differently from a baby born anywhere in the world? Do they cry any differently? We may not speak the same language and we may not live the same lifestyle, but a smile I put on my face when I see you puts a smile on your face before you can even think of it. Now, THAT is powerful. I hope that every sense of arrogance or greed in my heart is deviated to a sense of humility, so the wall of ignorance to the real issues in the world can be shattered by the common rights that I share with all of my brothers and sisters in humanity.
Najwa Zebian (Mind Platter)
A long time from now someone unknown to me will stand on the white plain where I now stand. He will speak a different language and the mountains in the distance may have been ground down but there are certain constants that will reliably inform his life -- kings like great trees whose roots are watered in ignorance, men who come to war reluctantly only to discover they have the souls of jackals, and fortresses like mountains, as immovable and inevitable. I anticipate that a flash of intuition will make him look at the tumulus or crater or clamorous sprawling city where Troy once stood and intuit how many men once bent their minds toward its destruction.
Zachary Mason (The Lost Books of the Odyssey)
Once I was asked be a seatmate on a trans-Pacific flight....what instruction he should give his fifteen-year-old daughters, who wanted to be a writer. [I said], "Tell your daughter three things." Tell her to read...Tell her to read whatever interests her, and protect her if someone declares what she's reading to be trash. No one can fathom what happens between a human being and written language. She may be paying attention to things in the words beyond anyone else's comprehension, things that feed her curiosity, her singular heart and mind. ...Second, I said, tell your daughter that she can learn a great deal about writing by reading and by studying books about grammar and the organization of ideas, but that if she wishes to write well she will have to become someone. She will have to discover her beliefs, and then speak to us from within those beliefs. If her prose doesn't come out of her belief, whatever that proves to be, she will only be passing along information, of which we are in no great need. So help her discover what she means. Finally, I said, tell your daughter to get out of town, and help her do that. I don't necessarily mean to travel to Kazakhstan, or wherever, but to learn another language, to live with people other than her own, to separate herself from the familiar. Then, when she returns, she will be better able to understand why she loves the familiar, and will give us a fresh sense of how fortunate we are to share these things. Read. Find out what you truly believe. Get away from the familiar. Every writer, I told him, will offer you thoughts about writing that are different, but these are three I trust. -- from "A Voice
Barry Lopez (About This Life: Journeys on the Threshold of Memory)
Dogs can never speak the language of humans, and humans can never speak the language of dogs. But many dogs can understand almost every word humans say, while humans seldom learn to recognize more than half a dozen barks, if that. And barks are only a small part of the dog language. A wagging tail can mean so many things. Humans know that it means a dog is pleased, but not what a dog is saying about his pleasedness. (Really, it is very clever of humans to understand a wagging tail at all, as they have no tails of their own.) Then there are the snufflings and sniffings, the pricking of ears—all meaning different things. And many, many words are expressed by a dog’s eyes.
Dodie Smith (The 101 Dalmatians)
Here we come to the central question of this book: What, precisely, does it mean to say that our sense of morality and justice is reduced to the language of a business deal? What does it mean when we reduce moral obligations to debts? What changes when the one turns into the other? And how do we speak about them when our language has been so shaped by the market? On one level the difference between an obligation and a debt is simple and obvious. A debt is the obligation to pay a certain sum of money. As a result, a debt, unlike any other form of obligation, can be precisely quantified. This allows debts to become simple, cold, and impersonal-which, in turn, allows them to be transferable. If one owes a favor, or one’s life, to another human being-it is owed to that person specifically. But if one owes forty thousand dollars at 12-percent interest, it doesn’t really matter who the creditor is; neither does either of the two parties have to think much about what the other party needs, wants, is capable of doing-as they certainly would if what was owed was a favor, or respect, or gratitude. One does not need to calculate the human effects; one need only calculate principal, balances, penalties, and rates of interest. If you end up having to abandon your home and wander in other provinces, if your daughter ends up in a mining camp working as a prostitute, well, that’s unfortunate, but incidental to the creditor. Money is money, and a deal’s a deal. From this perspective, the crucial factor, and a topic that will be explored at length in these pages, is money’s capacity to turn morality into a matter of impersonal arithmetic-and by doing so, to justify things that would otherwise seem outrageous or obscene. The factor of violence, which I have been emphasizing up until now, may appear secondary. The difference between a “debt” and a mere moral obligation is not the presence or absence of men with weapons who can enforce that obligation by seizing the debtor’s possessions or threatening to break his legs. It is simply that a creditor has the means to specify, numerically, exactly how much the debtor owes.
David Graeber (Debt: The First 5,000 Years)
Once we can get all of mankind to see and promote our commonalities over differences, then we can also collectively and passionately enforce equality, truth and justice as the laws of every land. Then there will be stability, prosperity and true peace for all. If we do not, then language, religious, and cultural barriers will continue to prevent us from seeing that we are all one. Does a pineapple have to be called a pineapple in English in another country for an English-speaking person to know what it is? No. A pineapple has a different name in every country, but even a child can still tell its a pineapple. So why can’t we judge mankind the same way? No matter how you dress a human, a human is still a human. And all humans grieve, love, and bleed the same way. How hard is it to see that we are all more similar than different? God did not disconnect mankind, man did.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Paul shrugged. “Then she said a good ruler has to learn his world’s language, that it’s different for every world. And I thought she meant they didn’t speak Galach on Arrakis, but she said that wasn’t it at all. She said she meant the language of the rocks and growing things, the language you don’t hear just with your ears. And I said that’s what Dr. Yueh calls the Mystery of Life.” Hawat chuckled. “How’d that sit with her?” “I think she got mad. She said the mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience.
Frank Herbert (Dune)
The kingdoms of kings are confined, either by mountains or rivers, or by a change in customs or by a difference of language; but my kingdom is as great as the world, because I am neither Italian, nor French, nor Hindu, nor American, nor a Spaniard; I am a cosmopolitan. No country can claim to be my birthplace, God alone knows in which region I shall die. I adopt every custom, I speak every tongue [... ] In this way, you see, being of no country, asking for the protection of no goverment and acknowledging no man as my brother, I am not restrained or hampered by a single one of the scruples that tie the hands of the powerful or the obstacles that block the path of the weak.
Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Monte Cristo)
Then she said a good ruler has to learn his world’s language, that it’s different for every world. And I thought she meant they didn’t speak Galach on Arrakis, but she said that wasn’t it at all. She said she meant the language of the rocks and growing things, the language you don’t hear just with your ears. And I said that’s what Dr. Yueh calls the Mystery of Life.” Hawat chuckled. “How’d that sit with her?” “I think she got mad. She said the mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience. So I quoted the First Law of Mentat at her: 'A process cannot be understood by stopping it. Understanding must move with the flow of the process, must join it and flow with it.
Frank Herbert (Dune (Dune, #1))
What captivated me about you was that you opened the door to another world for me. The values that dominated my childhood had no place there. That world enchanted me. I could leave the real world behind and be someone else, without any ties or obligations. With you, I was elsewhere, in a foreign place, foreign to myself. You gave me access to another dimension when I'd always rejected any fixed identity and just worn different identities on top of each other, though none of them were mine. By speaking to you in English, I made your language mine. I've continued to talk to you in English right up to this day, even when you answered me in French. For me, English, which I knew mainly through you and through books, was from the start like a private language that preserved our intimacy against the intrusion of the real world, and its prevailing social normals. I felt like I was building a protected and protective world with you.
André Gorz (Letter to D: A Love Story)
He liked to start sentences with okay, so. It was a habit he had picked up from the engineers. He thought it made him sound smarter, thought it made him sound like them, those code jockeys, standing by the coffee machine, talking faster than he could think, talking not so much in sentences as in data structures, dense clumps of logic with the occasional inside joke. He liked to stand near them, pretending to stir sugar into his coffee, listening in on them as if they were speaking a different language. A language of knowing something, a language of being an expert at something. A language of being something more than an hourly unit.
Charles Yu (Sorry Please Thank You)
Worship, then, needs to be characterized by hospitality; it needs to be inviting. But at the same time, it should be inviting seekers into the church and its unique story and language. Worship should be an occasion of cross-cultural hospitality. Consider an analogy: when I travel to France, I hope to be made to feel welcome. However, I don't expect my French hosts to become Americans in order to make me feel at home. I don't expect them to start speaking English, ordering pizza, talking about the New York Yankees, and so on. Indeed, if I wanted that, I would have just stayed home! Instead, what I'm hoping for is to be welcomed into their unique French culture; that's why I've come to France in the first place. And I know that this will take some work on my part. I'm expecting things to be different; indeed, I'm looking for just this difference. So also, I think, with hospitable worship: seekers are looking for something our culture can't provide. Many don't want a religious version of what they can already get at the mall. And this is especially true of postmodern or Gen X seekers: they are looking for elements of transcendence and challenge that MTV could never give them. Rather than an MTVized version of the gospel, they are searching for the mysterious practices of the ancient gospel.
James K.A. Smith (Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church (The Church and Postmodern Culture))
The manner in which we speak is exceedingly important. An ancient sage once said, “A soft answer turns away anger.” When your spouse is angry and upset and lashing out words of heat, if you choose to be loving, you will not reciprocate with additional heat but with a soft voice. You will receive what he is saying as information about his emotional feelings. You will let him tell you of his hurt, anger, and perception of events. You will seek to put yourself in his shoes and see the event through his eyes and then express softly and kindly your understanding of why he feels that way. If you have wronged him, you will be willing to confess the wrong and ask forgiveness. If your motivation is different from what he is reading, you will be able to explain your motivation kindly. You will seek understanding and reconciliation, and not to prove your own perception as the only logical way to interpret what has happened. That is mature love—love to which we aspire if we seek a growing marriage.
Gary Chapman (The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts)
Racism quickly came to color the English usage of the Sanskrit word arya, the word that the Vedic poets used to refer to themselves, meaning “Us” or “Good Guys,” long before anyone had a concept of race. Properly speaking, “Aryan” (as it became in English) designates a linguistic family, not a racial group (just as Indo-European is basically a linguistic rather than demographic term); there are no Aryan noses, only Aryan verbs, no Aryan people, only Aryan-speaking people. Granted, the Sanskrit term does refer to people rather than to a language. But the people who spoke *Indo-European were not a people in the sense of a nation (for they may never have formed a political unity) or a race, but only in the sense of a linguistic community.10 After all those migrations, the blood of several different races had mingled in their veins.
Wendy Doniger (The Hindus: An Alternative History)
Oh, maybe it started innocently, with a joke, with coquetry, with amorous play, maybe, indeed, with an atom, but this atom of lie penetrated their hearts, and they liked it. Then sensuality was quickly born, sensuality generated jealousy, and jealousy - cruelty. . . Oh, I don’t know, I don’t remember, but soon, very soon, the first blood was shed; they were astonished and horrified, and began to part, to separate. Alliances appeared, but against each other now. Rebukes, reproaches began. They knew shame, and shame was made into a virtue. The notion of honor was born, and each alliance raised its own banner. They began tormenting animals, and the animals withdrew from them into the forests and became their enemies. There began the struggle for separation, for isolation, for the personal, for mine and yours. They started speaking different languages. They knew sorrow and came to love sorrow, they thirsted for suffering and said that truth is attained only through suffering. Then science appeared among them.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Dream of a Ridiculous Man)
The children in my dreams speak in Gujarati turn their trusting faces to the sun say to me care for us nurture us in my dreams I shudder and I run. I am six in a playground of white children Darkie, sing us an Indian song! Eight in a roomful of elders all mock my broken Gujarati English girl! Twelve, I tunnel into books forge an armor of English words. Eighteen, shaved head combat boots - shamed by masis in white saris neon judgments singe my western head. Mother tongue. Matrubhasha tongue of the mother I murder in myself. Through the years I watch Gujarati swell the swaggering egos of men mirror them over and over at twice their natural size. Through the years I watch Gujarati dissolve bones and teeth of women, break them on anvils of duty and service, burn them to skeletal ash. Words that don't exist in Gujarati : Self-expression. Individual. Lesbian. English rises in my throat rapier flashed at yuppie boys who claim their people “civilized” mine. Thunderbolt hurled at cab drivers yelling Dirty black bastard! Force-field against teenage hoods hissing F****ing Paki bitch! Their tongue - or mine? Have I become the enemy? Listen: my father speaks Urdu language of dancing peacocks rosewater fountains even its curses are beautiful. He speaks Hindi suave and melodic earthy Punjabi salty rich as saag paneer coastal Kiswahili laced with Arabic, he speaks Gujarati solid ancestral pride. Five languages five different worlds yet English shrinks him down before white men who think their flat cold spiky words make the only reality. Words that don't exist in English: Najjar Garba Arati. If we cannot name it does it exist? When we lose language does culture die? What happens to a tongue of milk-heavy cows, earthen pots jingling anklets, temple bells, when its children grow up in Silicon Valley to become programmers? Then there's American: Kin'uh get some service? Dontcha have ice? Not: May I have please? Ben, mane madhath karso? Tafadhali nipe rafiki Donnez-moi, s'il vous plait Puedo tener….. Hello, I said can I get some service?! Like, where's the line for Ay-mericans in this goddamn airport? Words that atomized two hundred thousand Iraqis: Didja see how we kicked some major ass in the Gulf? Lit up Bagdad like the fourth a' July! Whupped those sand-niggers into a parking lot! The children in my dreams speak in Gujarati bright as butter succulent cherries sounds I can paint on the air with my breath dance through like a Sufi mystic words I can weep and howl and devour words I can kiss and taste and dream this tongue I take back.
Shailja Patel (Migritude)
I have said that there is no "average" American. That is due to the circumstance that the people of the United States differ from each as widely as the parts they live in. The New Yorker is a different specimen of man from the Westerner; the latter is entirely different again from the people of Texas. The Middle West, such States for instance as Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska or Iowa, have an entirely different psychology from that of Florida or Lower California. Their habits of life, their modes of thought, even their language is different. Still further, it must also be considered that millions of foreigners and descendants of foreign born people live in the United States and are part of the entire population that is known as "American". Add to this more than 10 million negroes, not to mention the score of different Indian (red-skin) tribes, who are the real, indigenous Americans. In this conglomeration of races it is impossible to speak of the "average" American, nor can any adequate estimate of American psychology be made on such a basis.
Alexander Berkman
Once I was asked by a seatmate on a trans-Pacific flight, a man who took the liberty of glancing repeatedly at the correspondence in my lap, what instruction he should give his fifteen-year-old daughter, who wanted to be a writer. I didn't know how to answer him, but before I could think I heard myself saying, 'Tell your daughter three things.' "Tell her to read, I said. Tell her to read whatever interests her, and protect her if someone declares what she's reading to be trash. No one can fathom what happens between a human being and written language. She may be paying attention to things in the world beyond anyone else's comprehension, things that feed her curiosity, her singular heart and mind. Tell her to read classics like The Odyssey. They've been around a long time because the patterns in them have proved endlessly useful, and, to borrow Evan Connell's observation, with a good book you never touch bottom. But warn your daughter that ideas of heroism, of love, of human duty and devotion that women have been writing about for centuries will not be available to her in this form. To find these voices she will have to search. When, on her own, she begins to ask, make her a present of George Eliot, or the travel writing of Alexandra David-Neel, or To the Lighthouse. "Second, I said, tell your daughter that she can learn a great deal about writing by reading and by studying books about grammar and the organization of ideas, but that if she wishes to write well she will have to become someone. She will have to discover her beliefs, and then speak to us from within those beliefs. If her prose doesn't come out of her belief, whatever that proves to be, she will only be passing on information, of which we are in no great need. So help her discover what she means. "Finally, I said, tell your daughter to get out of town, and help her do that. I don't necessarily mean to travel to Kazakhstan, or wherever, but to learn another language, to live with people other than her own, to separate herself from the familiar. Then, when she returns, she will be better able to understand why she loves the familiar, and will give us a fresh sense of how fortunate we are to share these things. "Read. Find out what you truly are. Get away from the familiar. Every writer, I told him, will offer you thoughts about writing that are different, but these three I trust.
Barry Lopez (About This Life: Journeys on the Threshold of Memory)
Hassan said, "I'm a Kuwaiti exchange student; my dad's an oil baron." Colin shook his head, "Too obvious. I'm a Spaniard. A refugee. My parents were murdered by Basque separatists." "I don't know if Basque is a thing or a person and neither will they, so no. Okay, I just got to America from Honduras. My name is Miguel. My parents made a fortune in bananas, and you are my bodyguard, because the banana workers' union wants me dead." Colin shot back, "That's good, but you don't speak Spanish. Okay, I was abducted by Eskimos in the Yukon Terr-no, that's crap. We're cousins from France visiting the United States for the first time. It's out high school graduation trip." "That's boring, but we're out of time. I'm the English speaker?" asked Hassan. "Yeah, fine." "Okay, they're coming," said Hassan. "What's your name?" "Pierre." "Okay. I'm Salinger, pronounced SalinZHAY." ........ "He has Tourette's?" asked Katrina. "MERDE!" (Shit) shouted Colin. "Yes," said Hassan excitedly. "same word both language, like hemorrhoid. That one we learned yesterday because Pierre had the fire in his bottom. He has Toorettes. And the hemorrhoid. But, is good boy. "Ne dis pas que j'ai des hemorroides! Je n'ai pas d'hemorroide," (Don't say I have hemorrhoids! I don't have hemorrhoids.) Colin shouted, at once trying to continue the game and get Hassan on to a different topic. Hassan looked at Colin, nodded knowingly, and then told Katrina, "He just said that your face, it is beautiful like the hemorrhoid.
John Green (An Abundance of Katherines)
The value of Greek prose composition, he said, was not that it gave one any particular facility in the language that could not be gained as easily by other methods but that if done properly, off the top of one's head, it taught one to think in Greek. One's thought patterns become different, he said, when forced into the confines of a rigid and unfamiliar tongue. Certain common ideas become inexpressible; other, previously undreamt-of ones spring to life, finding miraculous new articulation. By necessity, I suppose, it is difficult for me to explain in English exactly what I mean. I can only say that an incendium is in its nature entirely different from the feu with which a Frenchman lights his cigarette, and both are very different from the stark, inhuman pur that the Greeks knew, the pur that roared from the towers of Ilion or leapt and screamed on that desolate, windy beach, from the funeral pyre of Patroklos. Pur: that one word contains for me the secret, the bright, terrible clarity of ancient Greek. How can I make you see it, this strange harsh light which pervades Homer's landscapes and illumines the dialogues of Plato, an alien light, inarticulable in our common tongue? Our shared language is a language of the intricate, the peculiar, the home of pumpkins and ragamuffins and bodkins and beer, the tongue of Ahab and Falstaff and Mrs. Gamp; and while I find it entirely suitable for reflections such as these, it fails me utterly when I attempt to describe in it what I love about Greek, that language innocent of all quirks and cranks; a language obsessed with action, and with the joy of seeing action multiply from action, action marching relentlessly ahead and with yet more actions filing in from either side to fall into neat step at the rear, in a long straight rank of cause and effect toward what will be inevitable, the only possible end. In a certain sense, this was why I felt so close to the other in the Greek class. They, too, knew this beautiful and harrowing landscape, centuries dead; they'd had the same experience of looking up from their books with fifth-century eyes and finding the world disconcertingly sluggish and alien, as if it were not their home. It was why I admired Julian, and Henry in particular. Their reason, their very eyes and ears were fixed irrevocably in the confines of those stern and ancient rhythms – the world, in fact, was not their home, at least the world as I knew it – and far from being occasional visitors to this land which I myself knew only as an admiring tourist, they were pretty much its permanent residents, as permanent as I suppose it was possible for them to be. Ancient Greek is a difficult language, a very difficult language indeed, and it is eminently possible to study it all one's life and never be able to speak a word; but it makes me smile, even today, to think of Henry's calculated, formal English, the English of a well-educated foreigner, as compared with the marvelous fluency and self-assurance of his Greek – quick, eloquent, remarkably witty. It was always a wonder to me when I happened to hear him and Julian conversing in Greek, arguing and joking, as I never once heard either of them do in English; many times, I've seen Henry pick up the telephone with an irritable, cautious 'Hello,' and may I never forget the harsh and irresistible delight of his 'Khairei!' when Julian happened to be at the other end.
Donna Tartt (The Secret History)
There is a single truth, it filters through different stories and languages because people come from different cultures and speak different languages. And this truth has manifested itself through millennia, in multiple ways. Different people belong to different manifestations of truth. Some people take those manifestations and turn them into religions, or into gathering places or into a system. Others take those manifestations and allow that light to illuminate the paths on their inward journeys. All in all, the only reason why there is strife or hatred in any way, is because of the strife and hatred and intolerance inside of people. Truth does not call for any division or any hatred or intolerance of any kind. In order to love one thing, this does not mean we need to put down another one.
C. JoyBell C.
Language brings with it an identity and a culture, or at least the perception of it. A shared language says, 'We're the same.' A language barrier says, 'We're different.' .... The great thing about language is that you can just as easily use it to do the opposite, convince people that they are the same. Racism teaches us that we are different because of the color of our skin, but because racism is stupid, it's easily tricked. If you're a racist and you meet someone who doesn't look like you, the fact that he can't speak like you reinforces your racist preconceptions. He's different, less intelligent. A brilliant scientist can come over the border from Mexico to live in America, but if he speaks in broken English, people say, 'Hey, I don't trust this guy.' 'But he's a scientist.' 'Yeah, in Mexican science maybe. I don't trust him.' However, if the person who doesn't look like you speaks like you, your brain short-circuits because your racism program has none of those instructions in the code. 'Wait, wait,' your mind says, 'The racism code says if he doesn't look like me, he isn't like me, but the language code says if he speaks like me, he is like me. Something is off here. I can't figure this out.
Trevor Noah (Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood)
Personally I think that grammar is a way to attain Beauty. When you speak, or read, or write, you can tell if you’ve said or read or written a fine sentence. You can recognize a well-turned phrase or an elegant style. But when you are applying the rules of grammar skillfully, you ascend to another level of the beauty of language. When you use grammar you peel back the layers, to see how it is all put together, see it quite naked, in a way. And that’s where it becomes wonderful, because you say to yourself, 'Look how well made this is, how well constructed it is!' 'How solid and ingenious, rich and subtle!' I get completely carried away just knowing there are words of all different natures, and that you have to know them in order to be able to infer their potential usage and compatibility. I find there is nothing more beautiful, for example, than the very basic components of language, nouns and verbs. When you've grasped this, you've grasped the core of any statement. It's magnificent, don't you think? Nouns, verbs...
Muriel Barbery (The Elegance of the Hedgehog)
In language that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, a young Moroccan named Brother Rachid last year called out President Obama on YouTube for claiming that Islamic State was “not Islamic”: Mr President, I must tell you that you are wrong about ISIL. You said ISIL speaks for no religion. I am a former Muslim. My dad is an imam. I have spent more than 20 years studying Islam. . . . I can tell you with confidence that ISIL speaks for Islam. . . . ISIL’s 10,000 members are all Muslims. . . . They come from different countries and have one common denominator: Islam. They are following Islam’s Prophet Muhammad in every detail. . . . They have called for a caliphate, which is a central doctrine in Sunni Islam. I ask you, Mr. President, to stop being politically correct—to call things by their names. ISIL, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab in Somalia, the Taliban, and their sister brand names, are all made in Islam. Unless the Muslim world deals with Islam and separates religion from state, we will never end this cycle. . . . If Islam is not the problem, then why is it there are millions of Christians in the Middle East and yet none of them has ever blown up himself to become a martyr, even though they live under the same economic and political circumstances and even worse? . . . Mr. President, if you really want to fight terrorism, then fight it at the roots. How many Saudi sheikhs are preaching hatred? How many Islamic channels are indoctrinating people and teaching them violence from the Quran and the hadith? . . . How many Islamic schools are producing generations of teachers and students who believe in jihad and martyrdom and fighting the infidels?1
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now)
Svetlana said that I thought of myself as a robot who could act only negatively. She said I had cynical ideas about language. “You think language is an end in itself. You don’t believe it stands for anything. No, it’s not that you don’t believe—it’s that you don’t care. For you, language itself is a self-sufficient system.” “But it is a self-sufficient system.” “Do you see what you’re saying? This is how you get yourself involved with the devil incarnate. Ivan sensed this attitude in you. He’s cynical in the same way you are only more so, because of math. It’s like you said: math is a language that started out so abstract, more abstract than words, and then suddenly it turned out to be the most real, the most physical thing there was. With math they built the atomic bomb. Suddenly this abstract language is leaving third-degree burns on your skin. Now there’s this special language that can control everything, and manipulate everything, and if you’re the elite who speaks it—you can control everything. “Ivan wanted to try an experiment, a game. It would never have worked with someone different, on someone like me. But you, you’re so disconnected from truth, you were so ready to jump into a reality the two of you made up, just through language. Naturally, it made him want to see how far he could go. You went further and further—and then something went wrong. It couldn’t continue in the same way. It had to develop into something else—into sex, or something else. But for some reason, it didn’t. The experiment didn’t work. But by now you’re so, so far from all the landmarks. You’re just drifting in space.
Elif Batuman (The Idiot)
Our bodies speak, if you would only listen. They speak another language: the mother tongue. It’s half the puzzle, the missing pieces you have been searching for, the how and why behind the symptoms you fixate on, the whole behind the healing, which cannot be found at the bottom of a bottle of pills. But you do not speak our language. My sick sisterhood, whose bodies have been felled by mysterious illnesses, bearing the arcane names of men long dead, to signify their suffering with no cure, no hope. The mothers who long for answers to the questions that their bodies are living, for soul-utions to the protest against this cold, hard world. Into their dry hungry mouths are dropped pills not answers. Prescriptions and descriptions of symptoms – not cures or laws to halt the toxic corporate world that is allowed to carry on felling us like trees in the Amazon… Each woman is an Amazon. But she does not know it. Instead she is treated. Separately. Her pile of notes, her bills, growing higher. Each one believes the sickness is hers alone. Each is sent home, ignored, tolerated. Alone. In the darkness. Until one day Medicine Woman arises within her. And there in the centre of her pain she finds her outrage, her strength, her persistence as she searches for answers. She finds the will to die to this world and the right to live a different life where she is honoured for the value of her soul, not the sweat of her brow. She begins to understand the messages her body is sending… Things are not right. In here… out there. She begins to remember there is magic in her: the power to heal, the power to transform. Medicine Woman rises.
Lucy H. Pearce (Medicine Woman: Reclaiming the Soul of Healing)
When I was a young girl, I studied Greek in school. It's a beautiful language and ever so many good things were written in it. When you speak Greek, it feels like a little bird flapping its wings on your tongue as fast as it can. This is why I sometimes put Greek words into my stories, even though not so many people speak Ancient Greek anymore. Anything beautiful deserves to be shared round, and anything I love goes into my stories for safekeeping. The word I love is Arete. It has a simple meaning and a complicated meaning. The simple one is: excellence. But if that were all, we'd just use Excellence and I wouldn't bring it up until we got to E. Arete means your own excellence. Your very own. A personal excellence that belongs to no one else, one that comes out of all the things that make you special and different. Arete means whatever you are best at, no matter what that is. You might think the Greeks only meant things like fighting with bronze swords or debating philosophy, but they didn't. They meant whatever you're best at. What makes you feel like you're doing the rightest thing in the world. And that might be fighting with bronze swords and it might mean debating philosophy—but it also might mean building machines, or drawing pictures, or playing the guitar, or acting in Shakespeare plays, or writing books, or making a home for people who need one, or listening so hard and so well that people tell you the things they really need to say even if they didn't mean to, or running faster than anyone else, or teaching people patiently and boldly, or even making pillow forts or marching in parades or baking bread. It could be lending out just the right library book to just the right person at just the right moment. It could be standing up to the powerful even if you don't feel very powerful yourself, even if you're lost and as far away from home as you can get. It could be loving someone with the same care and thoroughness that a Wyvern takes with alphabetizing. It could be anything in the world. And it isn't easy to figure out what that is. It's even harder to get that good at it, because nothing, not even being yourself, comes without practice. But your arete goes with you everywhere, just waiting for you to pay attention to it. You can't lose it. You can only find it. And that's my favorite thing that starts with A.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There (Fairyland, #2))
Lacan, as we have seen in our discussion of Freud, regards the unconscious as structured like a language. This is not only because it works by metaphor and metonymy: it is also because, like language itself for the post-structuralists, it is composed less of signs — stable meanings — than of signifiers. If you dream of a horse, it is not immediately obvious what this signifies: it may have many contradictory meanings, may be just one of a whole chain of signifiers with equally multiple meanings. The image of the horse, that is to say, is not a sign in Saussure’s sense - it does not have one determined signified tied neatly to its tail - but is a signifier which may be attached to many different signifieds, and which may itself bear the traces of the other signifiers which surround it. (I was not aware, when I wrote the above sentence, of the word-play involved in ‘horse’ and ‘tail’: one signifier interacted with another against my conscious intention.) The unconscious is just a continual movement and activity of signifiers, whose signifieds are often inaccessible to us because they are repressed. This is why Lacan speaks of the unconscious as a ‘sliding of the signified beneath the signifier’, as a constant fading and evaporation of meaning, a bizarre ‘modernist’ text which is almost unreadable and which will certainly never yield up its final secrets to interpretation.
Terry Eagleton (Literary Theory: An Introduction)
In the area of linguistics, there are major language groups: Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, English, Portuguese, Greek, German, French, and so on. Most of us grow up learning the language of our parents and siblings, which becomes our primary or native tongue. Later, we may learn additional languages but usually with much more effort. These become our secondary languages. We speak and understand best our native language. We feel most comfortable speaking that language. The more we use a secondary language, the more comfortable we become conversing in it. If we speak only our primary language and encounter someone else who speaks only his or her primary language, which is different from ours, our communication will be limited. We must rely on pointing, grunting, drawing pictures, or acting out our ideas. We can communicate, but it is awkward. Language differences are part and parcel of human culture. If we are to communicate effectively across cultural lines, we must learn the language of those with whom we wish to communicate. In the area of love, it is similar. Your emotional love language and the language of your spouse may be as different as Chinese from English. No matter how hard you try to express love in English, if your spouse understands only Chinese, you will never understand how to love each other. My friend on the plane was speaking the language of “Affirming Words” to his third wife when he said, “I told her how beautiful she was. I told her I loved her. I told her how proud I was to be her husband.” He was speaking love, and he was sincere, but she did not understand his language. Perhaps she was looking for love in his behavior and didn’t see it. Being sincere is not enough. We must be willing to learn our spouse’s primary love language if we are to be effective communicators of love.
Gary Chapman (The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate)
Any true definition of preaching must say that that man is there to deliver the message of God, a message from God to those people. If you prefer the language of Paul, he is 'an ambassador for Christ'. That is what he is. He has been sent, he is a commissioned person, and he is standing there as the mouthpiece of God and of Christ to address these people. In other words he is not there merely to talk to them, he is not there to entertain them. He is there - and I want to emphasize this - to do something to those people; he is there to produce results of various kinds, he is there to influence people. He is not merely to influence a part of them; he is not only to influence their minds, not only their emotions, or merely to bring pressure to bear upon their wills and to induce them to some kind of activity. He is there to deal with the whole person; and his preaching is meant to affect the whole person at the very centre of life. Preaching should make such a difference to a man who is listening that he is never the same again. Preaching, in other words, is a transaction between the preacher and the listener. It does something for the soul of man, for the whole of the person, the entire man; it deals with him in a vital and radical manner. I remember a remark made to me a few years back about some studies of mine on “The Sermon on the Mount.” I had deliberately published them in sermonic form. There were many who advised me not to do that on the grounds that people no longer like sermons. The days for sermons, I was told, were past, and I was pressed to turn my sermons into essays and to give them a different form. I was most interested therefore when this man to whom I was talking, and he is a very well-known Christian layman in Britain, said, "I like these studies of yours on “The Sermon on the Mount” because they speak to me.” Then he went on to say, “I have been recommended many books by learned preachers and professors but,” he said, “what I feel about those books is that it always seems to be professors writing to professors; they do not speak to me. But,” he said, “your stuff speaks to me.” Now he was an able man, and a man in a prominent position, but that is how he put it. I think there is a great deal of truth in this. He felt that so much that he had been recommended to read was very learned and very clever and scholarly, but as he put it, it was “professors writing to professors.” This is, I believe, is a most important point for us to bear in mind when we read sermons. I have referred already to the danger of giving the literary style too much prominence. I remember reading an article in a literary journal some five or six years ago which I thought was most illuminating because the writer was making the selfsame point in his own field. His case was that the trouble today is that far too often instead of getting true literature we tend to get “reviewers writing books for reviewers.” These men review one another's books, with the result that when they write, what they have in their mind too often is the reviewer and not the reading public to whom the book should be addressed, at any rate in the first instance. The same thing tends to happen in connection with preaching. This ruins preaching, which should always be a transaction between preacher and listener with something vital and living taking place. It is not the mere imparting of knowledge, there is something much bigger involved. The total person is engaged on both sides; and if we fail to realize this our preaching will be a failure.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Preaching and Preachers)
Girls, I was dead and down in the Underworld, a shade, a shadow of my former self, nowhen. It was a place where language stopped, a black full stop, a black hole Where the words had to come to an end. And end they did there, last words, famous or not. It suited me down to the ground. So imagine me there, unavailable, out of this world, then picture my face in that place of Eternal Repose, in the one place you’d think a girl would be safe from the kind of a man who follows her round writing poems, hovers about while she reads them, calls her His Muse, and once sulked for a night and a day because she remarked on his weakness for abstract nouns. Just picture my face when I heard - Ye Gods - a familiar knock-knock at Death’s door. Him. Big O. Larger than life. With his lyre and a poem to pitch, with me as the prize. Things were different back then. For the men, verse-wise, Big O was the boy. Legendary. The blurb on the back of his books claimed that animals, aardvark to zebra, flocked to his side when he sang, fish leapt in their shoals at the sound of his voice, even the mute, sullen stones at his feet wept wee, silver tears. Bollocks. (I’d done all the typing myself, I should know.) And given my time all over again, rest assured that I’d rather speak for myself than be Dearest, Beloved, Dark Lady, White Goddess etc., etc. In fact girls, I’d rather be dead. But the Gods are like publishers, usually male, and what you doubtless know of my tale is the deal. Orpheus strutted his stuff. The bloodless ghosts were in tears. Sisyphus sat on his rock for the first time in years. Tantalus was permitted a couple of beers. The woman in question could scarcely believe her ears. Like it or not, I must follow him back to our life - Eurydice, Orpheus’ wife - to be trapped in his images, metaphors, similes, octaves and sextets, quatrains and couplets, elegies, limericks, villanelles, histories, myths… He’d been told that he mustn’t look back or turn round, but walk steadily upwards, myself right behind him, out of the Underworld into the upper air that for me was the past. He’d been warned that one look would lose me for ever and ever. So we walked, we walked. Nobody talked. Girls, forget what you’ve read. It happened like this - I did everything in my power to make him look back. What did I have to do, I said, to make him see we were through? I was dead. Deceased. I was Resting in Peace. Passé. Late. Past my sell-by date… I stretched out my hand to touch him once on the back of the neck. Please let me stay. But already the light had saddened from purple to grey. It was an uphill schlep from death to life and with every step I willed him to turn. I was thinking of filching the poem out of his cloak, when inspiration finally struck. I stopped, thrilled. He was a yard in front. My voice shook when I spoke - Orpheus, your poem’s a masterpiece. I’d love to hear it again… He was smiling modestly, when he turned, when he turned and he looked at me. What else? I noticed he hadn’t shaved. I waved once and was gone. The dead are so talented. The living walk by the edge of a vast lake near, the wise, drowned silence of the dead.
Carol Ann Duffy (The World's Wife)
I hope I have now made it clear why I thought it best, in speaking of the dissonances between fiction and reality in our own time, to concentrate on Sartre. His hesitations, retractations, inconsistencies, all proceed from his consciousness of the problems: how do novelistic differ from existential fictions? How far is it inevitable that a novel give a novel-shaped account of the world? How can one control, and how make profitable, the dissonances between that account and the account given by the mind working independently of the novel? For Sartre it was ultimately, like most or all problems, one of freedom. For Miss Murdoch it is a problem of love, the power by which we apprehend the opacity of persons to the degree that we will not limit them by forcing them into selfish patterns. Both of them are talking, when they speak of freedom and love, about the imagination. The imagination, we recall, is a form-giving power, an esemplastic power; it may require, to use Simone Weil's words, to be preceded by a 'decreative' act, but it is certainly a maker of orders and concords. We apply it to all forces which satisfy the variety of human needs that are met by apparently gratuitous forms. These forms console; if they mitigate our existential anguish it is because we weakly collaborate with them, as we collaborate with language in order to communicate. Whether or no we are predisposed towards acceptance of them, we learn them as we learn a language. On one view they are 'the heroic children whom time breeds / Against the first idea,' but on another they destroy by falsehood the heroic anguish of our present loneliness. If they appear in shapes preposterously false we will reject them; but they change with us, and every act of reading or writing a novel is a tacit acceptance of them. If they ruin our innocence, we have to remember that the innocent eye sees nothing. If they make us guilty, they enable us, in a manner nothing else can duplicate, to submit, as we must, the show of things to the desires of the mind. I shall end by saying a little more about La Nausée, the book I chose because, although it is a novel, it reflects a philosophy it must, in so far as it possesses novel form, belie. Under one aspect it is what Philip Thody calls 'an extensive illustration' of the world's contingency and the absurdity of the human situation. Mr. Thody adds that it is the novelist's task to 'overcome contingency'; so that if the illustration were too extensive the novel would be a bad one. Sartre himself provides a more inclusive formula when he says that 'the final aim of art is to reclaim the world by revealing it as it is, but as if it had its source in human liberty.' This statement does two things. First, it links the fictions of art with those of living and choosing. Secondly, it means that the humanizing of the world's contingency cannot be achieved without a representation of that contingency. This representation must be such that it induces the proper sense of horror at the utter difference, the utter shapelessness, and the utter inhumanity of what must be humanized. And it has to occur simultaneously with the as if, the act of form, of humanization, which assuages the horror. This recognition, that form must not regress into myth, and that contingency must be formalized, makes La Nausée something of a model of the conflicts in the modern theory of the novel. How to do justice to a chaotic, viscously contingent reality, and yet redeem it? How to justify the fictive beginnings, crises, ends; the atavism of character, which we cannot prevent from growing, in Yeats's figure, like ash on a burning stick? The novel will end; a full close may be avoided, but there will be a close: a fake fullstop, an 'exhaustion of aspects,' as Ford calls it, an ironic return to the origin, as in Finnegans Wake and Comment c'est. Perhaps the book will end by saying that it has provided the clues for another, in which contingency will be defeated, ...
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)