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)
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 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
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))
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
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
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))
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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
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)
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)
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
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)
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)
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))
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))
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))
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)
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)
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)
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
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)
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)
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: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate)
We are speaking different languages, as always, but that doesn't change the things we talk about.
Mikhail Bulgakov (The Master and Margarita)
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)
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)
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)
...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)
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
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
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
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)
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)
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)
Men and women may speak the same language, but we interpret words differently.
Pamela Cummins (Insights for Singles: Steps to Find Everlasting Love)
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
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)
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)
Language falters in the abyss; it fractures at the site of trauma. We need to find a different way of speaking from the depths, reclaiming the notion that language about God is always fractured language, always broken, and never complete.
Shelly Rambo (Spirit and Trauma: A Theology of Remaining)
When you pursue your own likes and dislikes, you feel alone in this vast existence, constantly insecure, unstable, psychologically challenged. But once existence yields to you, it delivers you to a different place of grace—where every pebble, every rock, every tree, every atom, speaks to you in a language you understand.
Sadhguru (Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy)
People all around the world look different, they wear different kinds of clothes, prepare their food differently, and speak different languages, but their hearts beat for the same emotions -- this is the one and only universal human connection.
Sanjay Madan
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))
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)
Your world of poverty can be recreated to that of affluence simply by speaking the Prince's language.
Jaachynma N.E. Agu
We may differ in the language we speak, yet we all remain children of the land.
John Okechukwu Munonye (A Wreath For The Maidens)
My past and present selves speak two different languages.
Trung Le Nguyen (The Magic Fish)
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)
They don't talk the same language as us. I don't mean that they don't speak English, but that their minds are different. They're like animals, and because I hate the sight and sound of them, and because you're a Britisher, I'm telling you to get out now while the going's good.
Eric Ambler (Uncommon Danger)
Please don't speak Igbo to him,' Aunty Uju said. 'Two languages will confuse him.' 'What are you talking about, Aunty? We spoke two languages growing up.' 'This is America. It's different.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Americanah)
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))
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)
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)
wanted to be puzzled and charmed, to experience the endless, beguiling variety of a continent where you can board a train and an hour later be somewhere where the inhabitants speak a different language, eat different foods, work different hours, live lives that are at once so different and yet so oddly similar. I wanted to be a tourist. But
Bill Bryson (Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe)
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)
Try to understand how they feel - put yourselves in their place. Imagine you are in a foreign country with no money, possessions or friends. You cannot speak the language; the culture is completely different to your normal environment; isolated and helpless. You would be dependent on someone supporting you. Think of that when you next meet someone who is autistic...
Michael Braccia (Could it be That Way: Living with Autism)
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)
As Umberto Eco might say: for communicating, language is perfect; there could be nothing better. And yet, language doesn’t say everything. The body speaks, objects speak, history speaks, individual or collective destinies speak, life and death speak to us constantly in a thousand different ways. Man is an interpreting machine and, with a little imagination, he sees signs everywhere
Laurent Binet (The Seventh Function of Language)
What if all this time we have misunderstood the story of the Tower of Babel?…What if it was not just to different tribes but to each individual human being that a separate language was given, unique as fingerprints. And, step two, to make life among humans even more strifeful and confounding, he beclouded their perception of this. So that while we might understand that there are many peoples speaking many different languages, we are fooled into thinking that everyone in our own tribe speaks the same language we do.
Sigrid Nunez (What Are You Going Through)
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)
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)
Those two Warsaws were gathered around the ring, speaking two languages, living in separate worlds, reading different newspapers, showing one another indifference at best, hatred at worst, but usually just remote disdain, as though they lived not on neighboring streets but an ocean apart.
Szczepan Twardoch (The King of Warsaw)
Later, when Eve is created, Adam understands—as soon as he lays eyes on her—that men and women are fundamentally alike, yet different in complementary ways. Before she even speaks a word, Eve’s body reveals all this and more.  The body reveals the person. This phrase tells us all there is to know about the body. Science can examine our flesh in minute detail, down to our cells and even our DNA. But no amount of scientific exploration can replace the truth that our bodies reveal us, giving form to our innermost being and unique personality. Our bodies are sacramental—they make the invisible visible.
Pope John Paul II (Theology of the Body in Simple Language)
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)
Everywhere you are a stranger.’ Finished Iskra with seeming carelessness, and quickly and unceremoniously placed a beret with turkey feathers on her head. ‘An Outsider everywhere and always different. How shall we call you, little hawk?’ Ciri looked into her eyes. ‘Gvalch’ca.’ The elf laughed. ‘Once you start to speak, you speak in multiple languages, little hawk! Very good. You will carry the name from the Elder People, a name that you yourself have chosen. You will be called Falka.
Andrzej Sapkowski (Czas pogardy (Saga o Wiedźminie, #2))
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))
Whoever wrote the Gospel of John (we’ll continue to call him John, though we don’t know who he really was) must have been a Christian living sixty years or so after Jesus, in a different part of the world, in a different cultural context, speaking a different language—Greek rather than Aramaic—and with a completely different level of education .. The author of John is speaking for himself and he is speaking for Jesus. These are not Jesus’s words; they are John’s words placed on Jesus’s lips.
Bart D. Ehrman (How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee)
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 there's only one way to be American -- that if our skin is dark or our hips are too wide, if we don't experience love in a particular way, if we speak another language or come from a different country, then we don't belong. That is, until someone dares to start telling that story differently. (From Becoming, 2018)
Michelle Obama
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)
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)
I doubted it had ever occurred to my adoptive parents that I might want to learn anything about Korea. Had they ever suggested a language class, I’m sure I would have complained—it was bad enough that I couldn’t change the way I looked; did I really have to emphasize my differences by learning a language no one else I knew could speak?
Nicole Chung (All You Can Ever Know)
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)
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
People continued to speak mutually incomprehensible languages, obey different rulers and worship distinct gods, but all believed in gold and silver and in gold and silver coins.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Imagine being completely naked in a room full of people who speak a different language and everyone wants to touch you. This is the life of a dog.
Nitya Prakash
Science takes things apart to see how they work. Religion puts things together to see what they mean. They speak different languages and use different powers of the brain.
Jonathan Sacks (The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning)
A stickler hallmark is that those who speak or write differently can't merely be wrong; they must be depraved, too.
Robert Lane Greene (You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity)
Only 8000 different words appear in the Hebrew Bible, compared to the 20,000 or more that the average adult needs to know in most languages.
Robert Lane Greene (You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity)
There's a difference between unspoken and unsaid," Jaycee says. "Just because chimpanzees cannot speak doesn't mean they have nothing to say; the ability to vocalize thoughts is not the same as the ability to acquire and use language...Language is really just a systematic means of communication through symbols or sounds. Almost all animals use language. The problem is that when it comes to the issue of language, humans are incredibly narcissistic. Since we literally hold the key to their cages, our language is the only one that counts.
Neil Abramson
Truth, it seems, is always bashful, easily reduced to silence by the too blatant encroachment of falsehood. The prolonged absence of any free exchange of information within a country opens up a gulf of incomprehension between whole groups of the population, between millions and millions. We simply cease to be a single people, for we speak, indeed, different languages.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956 (Abridged))
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)
Everyone reacted differently to being spoken to in a language they didn't understand. Katya got quiet and scared. Ivan leaned forward with an amused expression. Grisha narrowed his eyes and nodded in a manner suggesting the dawn of comprehension. Boris, a bearded doctoral student, rifled guiltily through his notes like someone having a nightmare that he was already supposed to speak Russian.
Elif Batuman (The Idiot)
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)
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.
Think of your loved one as living in a different culture. Get to know his culture, learn to speak his language. Because you are probably terrified that your loved one may harm himself or engage in dangerous behaviors, you try to control him. Unfortunately all you will usually accomplish is alienating your loved one. In the long run, you will have to learn to tolerate your own painful feelings such as fear, loss, anger, failure, insecurity, and powerlessness. Being effective means you have to let what is be what it is and allow the person to experience the natural consequences of his own behavior.
Valerie Porr (Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder: A Family Guide for Healing and Change)
What the Greeks should do, of course, is take advantage of the fact that they all speak the same language, and use heralds and messengers to settle their differences – anything rather than open warfare.
Herodotus (The Histories)
He talking Louisiana, you speaking Tennessee. The music so different, the sound coming from a different part of the body. It must of been like hearing lyrics set to scores by two different composers. But when you made love he must of have said I love you and you understood that and it was true, too, because I have seen the desperation in his eyes ever since—no matter what business venture he thinks up.
Toni Morrison (Paradise (Beloved Trilogy, #3))
My writing is sophisticated because I had a head start, because I am years in the making, because I am my mother and her mother before. When I write, I have the privilege of using a language that she fought her whole life to understand. When I speak in opposition, I am grateful my voice is uncensored. I do not take my freedom of speech, my abundance of books, my access to education, my ease of first language for granted. My mom is a writer. The difference is, she spent the first twenty years of her life surviving. I am a writer, who spent twenty years of my life fed and loved in a home and a classroom.
Chanel Miller (Know My Name)
And this leads us to a further consideration: if there are different religions — each of them by definition speaking an absolute and hence exclusive language — this is because the difference between the religions corresponds exactly, by analogy, to the differences between human individuals. In other words, if the religions are true it is because each time it is God who has spoken, and if they are different, it is because God has spoken in different “languages” in conformity with the diversity of the receptacles. Finally, if they are absolute and exclusive, it is because in each of them God has said “I.
Frithjof Schuon (Understanding Islam)
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 Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, king of Spain, archduke of Austria, and master of several European tongues, professed to speaking “Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse.
Guy Deutscher (Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages)
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)
Someday in our future it may be possible for women everywhere not to be restricted to those roles society deems natural, God-given, or appropriately feminine. A woman will not need to be disguised as a man to go outside, to climb a tree, or to make money. She will not need to make an effort to resemble a man, or to think like one. Instead, she can speak a language that men will want to understand. She will be free to wear a suit or a skirt or something entirely different. She will not count as three-quarters of a man, and her testimony will not be worth half a man's. She will be recognized as someone's sister, mother, and daughter. And maybe, someday, her identity will not be confined to how she relates to a brother, a son, or a father. Instead, she will be recognized as an individual, whose life holds value only in itself.
Jenny Nordberg (The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan)
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)
He speaks in a different language with a voice that's already like sand shifting over metal, and my insides flip out. He's inadvertently flicked some weird switch inside me, and there's no turning back once it's there. Apparently I really like hearing someone speak in Hungarian or Polish or Russian or whatever it is he's speaking, while trapped in a closet. I'm a secret subscriber to Trapped in a Polish Closet magazine.
Charlotte Stein (Run to You)
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)
Anyone who has spent time with a verbal person with autism is familiar with this tendency to repeat words, phrases, or whole sentences, often ad infinitum. Indeed echolalia is one of autism’s defining characteristics. In children who can speak it is often among the first indications to parents that something is amiss in a child, when, instead of responding or initiating with the child’s own language, the child echoes words or phrases borrowed from others.
Barry M. Prizant (Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism)
I'm searching for a language. People speak many different languages: There's the one they use with children, another one for love. There's the language we use to talk to ourselves, for our internal monologues. On the street, at work, while traveling--everywhere you go, you'll hear something different, and it's not just the words, there's something else, too. There's even a difference between the way people speak in the morning and how they speak at night...
Svetlana Alexievich (Secondhand Time: The Last of the Soviets)
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))
In politics, I claim that progressives, conservatives, and libertarians are like tribes speaking different languages. The language that resonates with one tribe does not connect with the others. As a result, political discussions do not lead to agreement. Instead, most political commentary serves to increase polarization. The points that people make do not open the minds of people on the other side. They serve to close the minds of the people on one’s own side.
Arnold Kling (The Three Languages of Politics: Talking Across the Political Divides)
Emotions are the indicators of where we are in relation to our growth with different aspects of ourselves. If you have a highly charged reaction to something, you can be assured it is an issue you need to look at more closely. The world around us acts as a mirror to show us what we need to work on for our own personal/soul growth. The strengths and weaknesses we notice in those around us are probably the very features we have ourselves, but have not acknowledged yet.
Julia Cannon (Soul Speak ~ The Language of Your Body)
A truly enlightened attitude to language should simply be to let six thousand or more flowers bloom. Subcultures should be allowed to thrive, not just because it is wrong to squash them, because they enrich the wider culture. Just as Black English has left its mark on standard English Culture, South Africans take pride in the marks of Afrikaans and African languages on their vocabulary and syntax. New Zealand's rugby team chants in Maori, dancing a traditional dance, before matches. French kids flirt with rebellion by using verlan, a slang that reverses words' sounds or syllables (so femmes becomes meuf). Argentines glory in lunfardo, an argot developed from the underworld a centyry ago that makes Argentine Spanish unique still today. The nonstandard greeting "Where y'at?" for "How are you?" is so common among certain whites in New Orleans that they bear their difference with pride, calling themselves Yats. And that's how it should be.
Robert Lane Greene (You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity)
Now tell me, but briefly, without wearying me, why you have come." "He sent me." "What did he bid you tell me, slave?" "I am not a slave," Matthu Levi answered with growing rage, "I am his disciple." "We speak different languages, as usual," responded Woland, "but this does not change the things we speak about. Well?..." "He read the Master's work," said Matthu Levi, "and he asks you to take the Master with you and reward him with peace. Is that so difficult for you, spirit of evil?" "Nothing is difficult for me," answered Woland, "and you know it very well." He was silent a while, and added: "and why don't you take him with you, into the light?" "He has not earned light, he earned peace," Levi answered sadly.
Mikhail Bulgakov (The Master and Margarita)
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)
Your voice sounds completely different in different languages. It alters your personality somehow. I don’t think people get the same feeling from you. The rhythm changes. Because the rhythm of the language is different, it changes your inner rhythm and that changes how you process everything. When I hear myself speak French, I look at myself differently. Certain aspects will feel closer to the way I feel or the way I am and others won’t. I like that—to tour different sides of yourself. I often find when looking at people who are comfortable in many languages, they’re more comfortable talking about emotional stuff in a certain language or political stuff in another and that’s really interesting, how people relate to those languages.
François Arnaud
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)
In 1 Corinthians 14:13–17, Paul mentioned that the gift of tongues was used in public prayer for the purpose of edification. Charismatics, however, have tried to redefine the gift of tongues as a special mode of supernatural expression for their personal devotions and private prayers. But notice how different Paul’s description is from that of modern tongues-speakers. First, Paul was not commending any form of gibberish, since he had already established that the real gift consisted of speaking in translatable foreign languages (vv. 10–11). Second, Paul would never extol prayers that bypass the mind, as many charismatics do. That was—and still is today—a pagan practice. In the Greco-Roman mystery religions, ecstatic utterances were commonly employed as a way to circumvent the mind in order to commune with demonic entities. So it is likely that Paul’s words in these verses include a sarcastic tone, as he rebuked the Corinthian Christians for their attempt to imitate the mindless practices of their pagan neighbors.
John F. MacArthur Jr. (Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship)
… rock ‘n’ roll may be more than anything a continuum of associations, a drama of direct and spectral connections between songs and performers It may be a story about the way a song will continue speaking in a radically different setting than the one that, it may have seemed, gave rise to it, a story in which someone may own the copyright but the voice of the song is under no one’s control. Rock ‘n’ roll may be most of all a language that, it declares can say anything: divine all truths, reveal all mysteries, escape all restrictions.
Greil Marcus
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)
It cleaves our hearts apart but it stitches them back together just as easily. It is the language of the eyes for they speak it more eloquently than words will ever do. You fall in it and it may heave you higher than the seventh sky. Nothing makes sense without it despite its senselessnness. It comes in different shades and colors and if you're fortunate yours would be that of blood but it won't have you bleeding. You're a fool for trying to eschew its hold for it is everywhere but if you don't you may wind-up feeling like a fool. Good luck
Ahmed Ghrib
humankind built a large tower to reach God’s seat in the heavens. This ambition incurred God’s wrath, who then placed a curse upon humankind, forcing them to speak in different tongues. This caused the creation of multiple languages and became the source of human conflict.
Asato Asato (86—EIGHTY-SIX, Vol. 6: Darkest Before the Dawn)
A very different study, in which robots interacted with stroke patients during physical rehabilitation exercises, yielded strikingly similar results. Introverted patients responded better and interacted longer with robots that were designed to speak in a soothing, gentle manner: “I know it is hard, but remember that it’s for your own good,” and, “Very nice, keep up the good work.” Extroverts, on the other hand, worked harder for robots that used more bracing, aggressive language: “You can do more than that, I know it!” and “Concentrate on your exercise!
Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
You know the way some Orientals confuse the sounds of R and L when they speak a Western language? That’s because R and L in many Eastern languages are allophones, that is, considered the same sound, written and even heard the same—just like the th at the beginning of they and at the beginning of theater.” “What’s different about the sound of theater and they?” “Say them again and listen. One’s voiced and the other’s unvoiced, they’re as distinct as V and F; only they’re allophones—at least in British English; so Britishers are used to hearing them as though they were the same phoneme.
Samuel R. Delany (Babel-17)
This universality of physical laws tells us that if we land on another planet with a thriving alien civilization, they will be running on the same laws that we have discovered and tested here on Earth—even if the aliens harbor different social and political beliefs. Furthermore, if you wanted to talk to the aliens, you can bet they don’t speak English or French or even Mandarin. Nor would you know whether shaking their hands—if indeed their outstretched appendage is a hand—would be considered an act of war or of peace. Your best hope is to find a way to communicate using the language of science.
Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry)
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)
And if it is true that the image still has the function of speaking, of transmitting something consubstantial with language, we must recognize that it already no longer says the same thing; and that by its own plastic values painting engages in an experiment that will take it farther and farther from language, whatever the superficial identity of the theme. Figure and speech still illustrate the same fable of folly in the same moral world, but already they take two different directions, indicating, in a still barely perceptible scission, what will be the great line of cleavage in the Western experience of madness. The
Michel Foucault (Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason)
Instead of suggesting that people with cultures and customs we do not understand, people with different color skin, or those who speak another language are somehow beneath us, instead of developing an elaborate rationale to justify our discomfort, it is more honest to simply admit our insecurity and gain acceptance.
John Lewis (Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change)
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)
Fate isn't good with people and the other way around, it is the same. For us, it is expressing itself in a misleading way, speaking in a different language. From its point of view, however, what we would call a stroke of fate is not really that, but might just as well be a preparation for a gift it plans to hand to us, at some point in the future.
Sima B. Moussavian (Tomorrow death died out: What if the future were past?)
The most recent flood of newcomers, however, seemed different. The empire had always been able to absorb new people into its expanding body, and the immigrants had proved more often than not to be a source of strength, but times had changed. The empire was now on the defensive, and the Germanic peoples crossing its borders wanted its land, not its culture. They were coming on their own terms, unwilling to be absorbed, speaking their own languages, and retaining their distinct cultures. The influx of new blood was no longer the source of strength it had always been. For many of those watching the traditions of millennia getting swept away, the strangers seemed like a frightening wave threatening to overwhelm the empire.
Lars Brownworth (Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization)
Religion and philosophy have different logics, speak different languages. Their logics are mutually exclusive, languages sometimes overlapping. It is hard to find something really common in them. I think I---a man in totally unconditional pursuit of happiness, whatever it is, wherever it lies---am only supposed to consider which of them has more in common with life!
Raheel Farooq
Whenever I ask my Russian bosses, the older TV producers and media types who run the system, what it was like growing up in the late Soviet Union, whether they believed in the Communist ideology that surrounded them, they always laugh at me. “Don’t be silly,” most answer. “But you sang the songs? Were good members of the Komsomol?” “Of course we did, and we felt good when we sang them. And then straight after we would listen to ‘Deep Purple’ and the BBC.” “So you were dissidents? You believed in finishing the USSR?” “No. It’s not like that. You just speak several languages at the same time, all the time. There’s like several ‘you’s.” Seen from this perspective, the great drama of Russia is not the “transition” between communism and capitalism, between one fervently held set of beliefs and another, but that during the final decades of the USSR no one believed in communism and yet carried on living as if they did, and now they can only create a society of simulations. For this remains the common, everyday psychology: the Ostankino producers who make news worshiping the President in the day and then switch on an opposition radio as soon as they get off work; the political technologists who morph from role to role with liquid ease—a nationalist autocrat one moment and a liberal aesthete the next; the “orthodox” oligarchs who sing hymns to Russian religious conservatism—and keep their money and families in London. All cultures have differences between “public” and “private” selves, but in Russia the contradiction can be quite extreme.
Peter Pomerantsev (Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia)
from the Adairsville PD. What you’ve got to do is imply that you understand the subject, understand what was going through his mind and the stresses he was under. No matter how disgusting it feels to you, you’re going to have to project the blame onto the victim. Imply that she seduced him. Ask if she led him on, if she turned on him, if she threatened him with blackmail. Give him a face-saving scenario. Give him a way of explaining his actions. The other thing I knew from all the cases I’d seen is that in blunt-force-trauma or knife homicides, it’s difficult for the attacker to avoid getting at least traces of the victim’s blood on him. It’s common enough that you can use it. When he starts to waffle, even slightly, I said, look him straight in the eye and tell him the most disturbing part of the whole case is the known fact that he got Mary’s blood on him. “We know you got blood on you, Gene; on your hands, on your clothing. The question for us isn’t ‘Did you do it?’ We know you did. The question is ‘Why?’ We think we know why and we understand. All you have to do is tell us if we’re right.” And that was exactly how it went down. They bring Devier in. He looks instantly at the rock, starts perspiring and breathing heavily. His body language is completely different from the previous interviews: tentative, defensive. The interrogators project blame and responsibility onto the girl, and when he looks as if he’s going with it, they bring up the blood. This really upsets him. You can often tell you’ve got the right guy if he shuts up and starts listening intently as you speak.
John E. Douglas (Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit (Mindhunter #1))
My mother and I speak different languages. Her native language is Japanese. My native language is English. This might seem like a mundane fact about us. It's not. It dictates everything. Because even though mu mother understands and speaks English at a highly functional level, there are places inside me she can't reach, nuances of thought and emotion I can't express in words that make sense to her.
Elizabeth Miki Brina (Speak, Okinawa: A Memoir)
DEATH IS NOTHING AT ALL Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again! —HENRY SCOTT-HOLLAND
Laura Lynne Jackson (Signs: The Secret Language of the Universe)
We desire more public space for secularism, space that would recognize secularism as a legitimate moral stance. But we simultaneously desire more religious freedom (which is not the same as advocating more religion)... We want the freedom not to be religious and the freedom to be religious differently... We think it's important for Americans to come to terms with th fact that Christianity, and often conservative Christianity, functions as the yardstick and measure of what counts as 'religion' and 'morality' in America... In short, for dissenting views to be heard currently, they have to speak the language of a consensus from which they are already excluded. The price of refusing to speak this common language is either not to be recognized at all or to be recognized only so as to be dismissed as an 'extremist.
Janet R. Jakobsen (Love the Sin: Sexual Regulation and the Limits of Religious Tolerance)
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)
However, the distinction of groups is optional. The group is not an ontological entity like the biological species. The various group concepts intersect one another. The historian chooses, according to the special plan of his studies, the features and attributes that determine the classification of individuals into various groups. The grouping may integrate people speaking the same language or professing the same religion or practicing the same vocation or occupation or descended from the same ancestry. The group concept of Gobineau was different from that of Marx. In short, the group concept is an ideal type and as such is derived from the historian's understanding of the historical forces and events. Only individuals think and act. Each individual's thinking and acting is influenced by his fellows' thinking and acting.
Ludwig von Mises (Theory and History: An Interpretation of Social and Economic Evolution)
I have found much value in considering monster theory, color theory, and the history of racial analogies in speculative fiction. However, when we read literary and cultural texts from the perspective of the monster, not the protagonist, we find ourselves in a completely different ballgame. This is why taking a supposedly 'neutral' or 'objective' approach to theorizing the dark fantastic is problematic; the default position is to allow those who are used to seeing themselves as heroic and desired the power and privileged of naming, defining, and delimiting the entire world and everything that is in it. We never notice that monsters, fantastic beasts, and various Dark Others are silenced because we have never been taught the language they speak. Critical race counterstorytelling provides both translation and amplification for these subsumed narratives.
Ebony Elizabeth Thomas (The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games)
Today, Arabic numerals are in use pretty much around the world, while the words with which we name numbers naturally differ from language to language. And, as Dehaene and others have noted, these differences are far from trivial. English is cumbersome. There are special words for the numbers from 11 to 19 and for the decades from 20 to 90. This makes counting a challenge for English-speaking children, who are prone to such errors as “twenty-eight, twenty-nine, twenty-ten, twenty-eleven.” French is just as bad, with vestigial base-twenty monstrosities, like quatre-vingt-dix-neuf (four twenty ten nine) for 99. Chinese, by contrast, is simplicity itself; its number syntax perfectly mirrors the base-ten form of Arabic numerals, with a minimum of terms. Consequently, the average Chinese four-year-old can count up to forty, whereas American children of the same age struggle to get to fifteen. And the advantages extend to adults. Because Chinese number words are so brief—they take less than a quarter of a second to say, on average, compared with a third of a second for English—the average Chinese speaker has a memory span of nine digits, versus seven digits for English speakers. (Speakers of the marvelously efficient Cantonese dialect, common in Hong Kong, can juggle ten digits in active memory.)
Jim Holt (When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought)
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)
Race does the heavy lifting for a caste system that demands a means of human division. If we have been trained to see humans in the language of race, then caste is the underlying grammar that we encode as children, as when learning our mother tongue. Caste, like grammar, becomes an invisible guide not only to how we speak, but to how we process information, the autonomic calculations that figure into a sentence without our having to think about it. Many of us have never taken a class in grammar, yet we know in our bones that a transitive verb takes an object, that a subject needs a predicate; we know without thinking the difference between third person singular and third person plural. We may mention “race,” referring to people as black or white or Latino or Asian or indigenous, when what lies beneath each label is centuries of history and assigning of assumptions and values to physical features in a structure of human hierarchy.
Isabel Wilkerson (Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents)
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.
Gary Chapman (The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate)
The reason we haven’t solved the race problem in America after hundreds of years is that people apart from God are trying to create unity, while people under God who already have unity are not living out the unity we possess. The result of both of these conditions is disastrous for America. Our failure to find cultural unity as a nation is directly related to the church’s failure to preserve our spiritual unity. The church has already been given unity because we’ve been made part of the same family. An interesting point to note about family is that you don’t have to get family to be family. A family already is a family. But sometimes you do have to get family to act like family. In the family of God, this is done through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. A perfect example of spiritual unity came on the Day of Pentecost when God’s people spoke with other tongues (Acts 2:4). When the Holy Spirit showed up, people spoke in languages they didn’t know so that people from a variety of backgrounds could unite under the cross of Jesus Christ. The people who heard the apostles speak on the Day of Pentecost were from all over the world, representing at least sixteen different geographical areas, racial categories, or ethnic groups (Acts 2:8–11). But in spite of the great diversity, they found true oneness in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual oneness always and only comes to those who are under God’s authority because in that reality He enables them with the power of His Spirit.
John M. Perkins (One Blood: Parting Words to the Church on Race and Love)
It's like any time a white friend suggests Korean barbecue. Or when I see a Food Network special where some tattooed white dude with a nineteenth-century-looking beard-and-mustache combo introduces viewers to this kimchi al pastor bánh mì monstrosity he peddles from a food truck that sends out location tweets. It's like when white people tell me how much they love kimchee and bull-go-ghee, and the words just roll off their tongues as if there exists nothing irreconcilable between the two languages. It's like, don't touch my shit. It's difficult to articulate because I know it's not rational. But as a bilingual immigrant from Korea, as someone who code-switches between Korean and English daily while running errands or going to the supermarket, not to mention the second-nature combination of the languages that I'll speak with my parents and siblings, switching on and switching off these at times unfeasibly different sounds, dialects, grammatical structures? It's fucking irritating. I don't want to be stingy about who gets to enjoy all these fermented wonders -- I'm glad the stigma around our stinky wares is dissolving away. But when my husband brings me a plate of food he made out of guesswork with a list of ingredients I've curated over the years of my burgeoning adulthood with the implicit help of my mother, my grandmother, and my grandmother's mother who taught me the patience of peeling dozens of garlic cloves in a sitting with bare hands, it puts me in snap-me-pff-a-hickory-switch mode.
Sung Yim (What About the Rest of Your Life)
Too many of us still tend to regard Africa as a country. It may come as a brutal shock to realize that the African landmass is three times the size of Europe and four times that of the United States. Madagascar, which is a part of Africa, is the fourth-largest island in the world. Too many folk still talk about people speaking African, ignoring the fact that over 1,000 different languages are spoken on this continent that comprises many worlds...It is a continent with many doors, many different points of entry into a world that is wondrous and strange.
Jessica B. Harris (The Africa Cookbook)
One might object that [debt peonage] was just assumed to be in the nature of things: like the imposition of tribute on conquered populations, it might have been resented, but it wasn’t considered a moral issue, a matter of right and wrong. Some things just happen. This has been the most common attitude of peasants to such phenomena throughout human history. What’s striking about the historical record is that in the case of debt crises, this was not how many reacted. Many actually did become indignant. So many, in fact, that most of our contemporary language of social justice, our way of speaking of human bondage and emancipation, continues to echo ancient arguments about debt. It’s particularly striking because so many other things do seem to have been accepted as simply in the nature of things. One does not see a similar outcry against caste systems, for example, or for that matter, the institution of slavery. Surely slaves and untouchables often experienced at least equal horrors. No doubt many protested their condition. Why was it that the debtors’ protests seemed to carry such greater moral weight? Why were debtors so much more effective in winning the ear of priests, prophets, officials, and social reformers? Why was it that officials like Nehemiah were willing to give such sympathetic consideration to their complaints, to inveigh, to summon great assemblies? Some have suggested practical reasons: debt crises destroyed the free peasantry, and it was free peasants who were drafted into ancient armies to fight in wars. Rulers thus had a vested interest in maintaining their recruitment base. No doubt this was a factor; clearly, it wasn’t the only one. There is no reason to believe that Nehemiah, for instance, in his anger at the usurers, was primarily concerned with his ability to levy troops for the Persian king. It had to be something deeper. What makes debt different is that it is premised on an assumption of equality. To be a slave, or lower caste, is to be intrinsically inferior. These are relations of unadulterated hierarchy. In the case of debt, we are talking about two individuals who begin as equal parties to a contract. Legally, at least as far as the contract is concerned, they are the same.
David Graeber (Debt - Updated and Expanded: The First 5,000 Years)
One reason was that Gurgeh was speaking Eächic all the time. Flere-Imsaho was always a little dubious about trying to be so precise about human behavior, but it had been briefed that when Culture people didn’t speak Marain for a long time and did speak another language, they were liable to change; they acted differently, they started to think in that other language, they lost the carefully balanced interpretative structure of the Culture language, left its subtle shifts of cadence, tone and rhythm behind for, in virtually every case, something much cruder.
Iain M. Banks (The Player of Games (Culture, #2))
So . . . for some reason we thought you were the guys assigned to Ms. Lynde’s surveillance. Guess we were mistaken?” “Nope, you got it right,” Kamin said. “We do the night shift. Nice girl. We talk a lot on the way to the gym.” “Oh. Then I guess Agent Wilkins and I are just curious why you two are here instead of with her.” Kamin waved this off. “It’s cool. We did a switcheroo with another cop, see?” “A switcheroo . . . right. Remind me again how that works?” Jack asked. “It’s because she’s got this big date tonight,” Kamin explained. Jack cocked his head. “A date?” Phelps chimed in. “Yeah, you know—with Max-the-investment-banker-she-met-on-the-Bloomingdales-escalator.” “I must’ve missed that one.” “Oh, it’s a great story,” Kamin assured him. “She crashed into him coming off the escalator and when her shopping bag spilled open, he told her he liked her shoes.” “Ah . . . the Meet Cute,” Wilkins said with a grin. Jack threw him a sharp look. “What did you just say?” “You know, the Meet Cute.” Wilkins explained. “In romantic comedies, that’s what they call the moment when the man and woman first meet.” He rubbed his chin, thinking this over. “I don’t know, Jack . . . if she’s had her Meet Cute with another man that does not bode well for you.” Jack nearly did a double take as he tried to figure out what the hell that was supposed to mean. Phelps shook his head. “Nah, I wouldn’t go that far. She’s still on the fence about this guy. He’s got problems keeping his job from intruding on his personal life. But she’s feeling a lot of pressure with Amy’s wedding—she’s only got about ten days left to get a date.” “She’s the maid of honor, see?” Kamin said. Jack stared at all three of them. Their lips were moving and sound was coming out, but it was like they were speaking a different language. Kamin turned to Phelps. “Frankly, I think she should just go with Collin, since he and Richard broke up.” “Yeah, but you heard what she said. She and Collin need to stop using each other as a crutch. It’s starting to interfere with their other relationships.” Unbelievable. Jack ran a hand through his hair, tempted to tear it out. But then he’d have a bald spot to thank Cameron Lynde for, and that would piss him off even more. “Can we get back to the switcheroo part?” “Right, sorry. It was Slonsky’s suggestion. 
Julie James (Something About You (FBI/US Attorney, #1))
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)
in our own language alone, not to speak of its many companions, the past history of humanity is spread out in an imperishable map, just as the history of the mineral earth lies embedded in the layers of its outer crust. But there is this difference between the record of the rocks and the secrets which are hidden in language: whereas the former can only give us a knowledge of outward, dead things—such as forgotten seas and the bodily shapes of prehistoric animals and primitive men—language has preserved for us the inner, living history of man's soul. It reveals the evolution of consciousness.
Owen Barfield (History in English Words)
try to force your opponent to admit that you are right. Aggressive confrontation is the enemy of constructive negotiation.         ■    Avoid questions that can be answered with “Yes” or tiny pieces of information. These require little thought and inspire the human need for reciprocity; you will be expected to give something back.         ■    Ask calibrated questions that start with the words “How” or “What.” By implicitly asking the other party for help, these questions will give your counterpart an illusion of control and will inspire them to speak at length, revealing important information.         ■    Don’t ask questions that start with “Why” unless you want your counterpart to defend a goal that serves you. “Why” is always an accusation, in any language.         ■    Calibrate your questions to point your counterpart toward solving your problem. This will encourage them to expend their energy on devising a solution.         ■    Bite your tongue. When you’re attacked in a negotiation, pause and avoid angry emotional reactions. Instead, ask your counterpart a calibrated question.         ■    There is always a team on the other side. If you are not influencing those behind the table, you are vulnerable.
Chris Voss (Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It)
The English language is the tongue now current in England and her colonies throughout the world and also throughout the greater part of the United States of America. It sprang from the German tongue spoken by the Teutons, who came over to Britain after the conquest of that country by the Romans. These Teutons comprised Angles, Saxons, Jutes and several other tribes from the northern part of Germany. They spoke different dialects, but these became blended in the new country, and the composite tongue came to be known as the Anglo-Saxon which has been the main basis for the language as at present constituted and is still the prevailing element.
Joseph Devlin (How To Speak And Write Correctly)
Master Wong told me that in ancient China, time was kept according to the position of the sun in the sky. Inherent in this character is the understanding that time is circular, that no matter how much the sun moves, it will always come back around again. In English time is spelled with four letters. A finite thing made of finite letters. Maybe this is the difference, I think, for those that speak English, there is a limit to time. That is why it is so important to differentiate between past, present and future. When I know this, I also know I will be able to write time perfectly for the rest of my life in both languages. This is how I begin to understand English.
Jenny Tinghui Zhang (Four Treasures of the Sky)
Silence is also a form of speaking. They’re exactly alike. It’s a basic component of language. We’re always selecting what we say and what we don’t. Why do we say one thing and not the other? And we do this instinctively, too, because no matter what we’re talking about, there’s more that doesn’t get said than does. And this isn’t always to hide things—it’s simply part of an instinctive selection in our speech. This selection varies from one person to the next, so that no matter how many people describe the same thing, the descriptions are different, the point of view is different. And even if there is a similar viewpoint, people make different choices as to what is said or not said. This was very clear to me, coming from the village, since the people there never said more than they absolutely needed to. When I was fifteen and went to the city, I was amazed at how much people talked and how much of that talk was pointless. And how much people talked about themselves—that was totally alien to me. For me, silence had always been another form of communication. After all, you can tell so much just by looking at a person. At home we always knew about each other even if we didn’t talk about ourselves all the time. I encountered a lot of silence elsewhere as well. There was the silence that was self-imposed, because you could never say what you really thought.
Herta Müller
Programming is not all the same. Normal written languages have different rhythms and idioms, right? Well, so do programming languages. The language called C is all harsh imperatives, almost raw computer-speak. The language called Lisp is like one long, looping sentence, full of subclauses, so long in fact that you usually forget what it was even about in the first place. The language called Erlang is just like it sounds: eccentric and Scandinavia. I cannot program in any of these languages because they're all too hard. But Ruby, my language of choice, was invented by a cheerful Japanese programmer, and it reads like friendly, accessible poetry. Billy Collins by way of Bill Gates.
Anonymous
WHO IS- OR WAS- YOUR FAVORITE WRITER? For style and consistency, I would have to say John Updike. No one else in the world writes the way that he does, and very few have enjoyed the longevity of career or employed the breadth of scope that he has. Mailer’s a close second, but they are completely different animals. Bret Easton Ellis, whom I unintentionally left off of my answer to the previous question, is good as well- he creates a goodly number of inimitable situations, and his dexterity of language produces many, many killer lines- lines that belong in any literate person’s lexicon. I would say the same for Jay McInerney as well. But Easton’s output is spotty: every other book is crap. He did Less Than Zero, and that was fucking amazing, and then he did The Rules Of Attraction. After that, he wrote American Psycho- a brilliant but sadly misunderstood book at the time- but the follow-up, Glamorama, sucked horribly. At least, in my humble opinion. After that, I kind of lost interest. If you occasionally throw off a collection of shitty writing, it does affect your credibility when you seek to speak with your constituency about matters of life and death. Fiction is a deadly serious business, and if you’re dry and out of ideas, then just fucking say so and keep working at it until you’re finally writing something that it would be a crime not to let other people read.
Larry Mitchell
It is well known that Pentecost reverses Babel. The people who built the tower of Babel sought to make a name, and a unity, for themselves. At Pentecost, God builds his temple, uniting people in Christ. Unity – interpretive agreement and mutual understanding – is, it would appear, something that only God can accomplish. And accomplish it he does, but not in the way we might have expected. Although onlookers thought that the believers who received the Spirit at Pentecost were babbling (Acts 2:13), in fact they were speaking intelligibly in several languages (Acts 2:8-11). Note well: they were all saying the same thing (testifying about Jesus) in different languages. It takes a thousand tongues to say and sing our great Redeemer’s praise. Protestant evangelicalism evidences a Pentecostal plurality: the various Protestant streams testify to Jesus in their own vocabularies, and it takes many languages (i.e. interpretive traditions) to minister the meaning of God’s Word and the fullness of Christ. As the body is made up of many members, so many interpretations may be needed to do justice to the body of the biblical text. Why else are there four Gospels, but that the one story of Jesus was too rich to be told from one perspective only? Could it be that the various Protestant traditions function similarly as witnesses who testify to the same Jesus from different situations and perspectives?
Kevin J. Vanhoozer (Biblical Authority After Babel: Retrieving the Solas in the Spirit of Mere Protestant Christianity)
How are we going to bring about these transformations? Politics as usual—debate and argument, even voting—are no longer sufficient. Our system of representative democracy, created by a great revolution, must now itself become the target of revolutionary change. For too many years counting, vast numbers of people stopped going to the polls, either because they did not care what happened to the country or the world or because they did not believe that voting would make a difference on the profound and interconnected issues that really matter. Now, with a surge of new political interest having give rise to the Obama presidency, we need to inject new meaning into the concept of the “will of the people.” The will of too many Americans has been to pursue private happiness and take as little responsibility as possible for governing our country. As a result, we have left the job of governing to our elected representatives, even though we know that they serve corporate interests and therefore make decisions that threaten our biosphere and widen the gulf between the rich and poor both in our country and throughout the world. In other words, even though it is readily apparent that our lifestyle choices and the decisions of our representatives are increasing social injustice and endangering our planet, too many of us have wanted to continue going our merry and not-so-merry ways, periodically voting politicians in and out of office but leaving the responsibility for policy decisions to them. Our will has been to act like consumers, not like responsible citizens. Historians may one day look back at the 2000 election, marked by the Supreme Court’s decision to award the presidency to George W. Bush, as a decisive turning point in the death of representative democracy in the United States. National Public Radio analyst Daniel Schorr called it “a junta.” Jack Lessenberry, columnist for the MetroTimes in Detroit, called it “a right-wing judicial coup.” Although more restrained, the language of dissenting justices Breyer, Ginsberg, Souter, and Stevens was equally clear. They said that there was no legal or moral justification for deciding the presidency in this way.3 That’s why Al Gore didn’t speak for me in his concession speech. You don’t just “strongly disagree” with a right-wing coup or a junta. You expose it as illegal, immoral, and illegitimate, and you start building a movement to challenge and change the system that created it. The crisis brought on by the fraud of 2000 and aggravated by the Bush administration’s constant and callous disregard for the Constitution exposed so many defects that we now have an unprecedented opportunity not only to improve voting procedures but to turn U.S. democracy into “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” instead of government of, by, and for corporate power.
Grace Lee Boggs (The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century)
An organ of the mobile senses (the eye, the hand) is already a language because it is an interrogation (movement) and a response (perception as fulfillment of a project), speaking and understanding. It is a tacit language...The difference is only relative between a perceptual silence and a language that always carries a thread of silence...Each sign, being a difference with respect to others, and each signification a difference with respect to others, means that the life of language reproduces perceptual structures at another level. We speak in order to fill in the blanks of perception, but words and meanings are not of the absolute positive...The invisible, mind, is not another positivity: it is the inverse, or the other side of the visible.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Nature: Course Notes from the Collège de France)
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)
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 architects of apartheid understood this. Part of the effort to divide black people was to make sure we were separated not just physically but by language as well. In the Bantu schools, children were only taught in their home language. Zulu kids learned in Zulu. Tswana kids learned in Tswana. Because of this, we’d fall into the trap the government had set for us and fight among ourselves, believing that we were 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 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, “Eh, I don’t trust this guy.” “But he’s a scientist.” “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)
It was the Age of Anything-Can-Happen, he reminded himself. He had heard many people say that on TV and on the outré video clips floating in cyberspace, which added a further, new-technology depth to his addiction. There were no rules any more. And in the Age of Anything-Can-Happen, well, anything could happen. Old friends could become new enemies and traditional enemies could be your new besties or even lovers. It was no longer possible to predict the weather, or the likelihood of war, or the outcome of elections. A woman might fall in love with a piglet, or a man start living with an owl. A beauty might fall asleep and, when kissed, wake up speaking a different language and in that new language reveal a completely altered character. A flood might drown your city. A tornado might carry your house to a faraway land where, upon landing, it would squash a witch. Criminals could become kings and kings be unmasked as criminals. A man might discover that the woman he lived with was his father’s illegitimate child. A whole nation might jump off a cliff like swarming lemmings. Men who played presidents on TV could become presidents. The water might run out. A woman might bear a baby who was found to be a revenant god. Words could lose their meanings and acquire new ones. The world might end, as at least one prominent scientist- entrepreneur had begun repeatedly to predict. An evil scent would hang over the ending. And a TV star might miraculously return the love of a foolish old coot, giving him an unlikely romantic triumph which would redeem a long, small life, bestowing upon it, at the last, the radiance of majesty.
Salman Rushdie (Quichotte)
I could have hired someone else. Someone less flawed, perhaps, or at least better at hiding it. But none of them would have had the talent you have with flowers, Victoria. It's truly a gift. When you work with flowers, everything about you changes. The set of your jaw loosens. Your eyes glaze with focus. Your fingers manipulate the flowers with a gentle respect that makes it impossible to believe you are capable of violence. I'll never forget the first day I saw it. Watching you arranging sunflowers at the back table, I felt like I was looking at a completely different girl." I knew the girl of whom she was speaking. It was the same one I'd glimpsed in the dressing room mirror with Elizabeth, after nearly a year in her home. Perhaps that girl had survived somewhere within me after all, preserved like a dried flower, fragile and sweet.
Vanessa Diffenbaugh (The Language of Flowers)
Although we now live in separate countries and speak different languages, you couldn’t mistake us for anyone else. We’re easy to spot! People who’ve come out of socialism are both like and unlike the rest of humanity—we have our own lexicon, our own conceptions of good and evil, our heroes, our martyrs. We have a special relationship with death. The stories people tell me are full of jarring terms: “shoot,” “execute,” “liquidate,” “eliminate,” or typically Soviet varieties of disappearance such as “arrest,” “ten years without the right of correspondence,”*2 and “emigration.” How much can we value human life when we know that not long ago people had died by the millions? We’re full of hatred and superstitions. All of us come from the land of the gulag and harrowing war. Collectivization, dekulakization,*3 mass deportations of various nationalities…
Svetlana Alexievich (Secondhand Time: An Oral History of the Fall of the Soviet Union)
Where the parties speak different languages the chance for misinterpretation is compounded. For example, in Persian, the word “compromise” apparently lacks the positive meaning it has in English of “a midway solution both sides can live with,” but has only a negative meaning as in “our integrity was compromised.” Similarly, the word “mediator” in Persian suggests “meddler,” someone who is barging in uninvited. In early 1980 U.N. Secretary General Kurt Waldheim flew to Iran to seek the release of American diplomats being held hostage by Iranian students soon after the Islamic revolution. His efforts were seriously set back when Iranian national radio and television broadcast in Persian a remark he reportedly made on his arrival in Tehran: “I have come as a mediator to work out a compromise.” Within an hour of the broadcast, his car was being stoned by angry Iranians.
Roger Fisher (Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In)
But then they hand you your beautiful baby, and the baby gazes up at you and says hello, and your heart just melts.” “It talks?” Sophie asked, then remembered Alden telling her months earlier that elvin babies spoke from birth. It sounded even stranger now that she could picture it. “Your speaking caused quite the uproar,” Mr. Forkle told her. “Though luckily no one could understand the Enlightened Language, so they thought you were babbling. I spent the majority of your infancy inventing excuses for the elvin things you did.” “Okay,” Sophie said, wishing he’d stop with the weird-info overload. “But what I mean is . . . I’ve been counting my age from my birthday.” Mr. Forkle didn’t look surprised. “Why didn’t you tell me?” she asked. “How could I? Humans built everything around their birthdays. As long as you were living with them I had to let you do the same. And since you’ve been in the Lost Cities, we’ve had so little contact. I assumed someone would notice, since your proper ID is on your Foxfire record—and in the registry. But I don’t think anyone realized you were counting differently.” “Alden wouldn’t have thought to check,” Della agreed. “Neither of us knew humans didn’t count inception.” “So wait,” Biana jumped in, “does that mean that by our rules Sophie is—” “Thirty-nine weeks older than she’s been saying,” Mr. Forkle finished for her. Fitz cocked his head as he stared at Sophie, like everything had turned sideways. “So then you’re not thirteen . . .” “Not according to the way we count,” Mr. Forkle agreed. “Going by Sophie’s ID, she’s fourteen and a little more than five months old.” Keefe laughed. “Only Foster would find a way to age nine months in a day. Also, welcome to the cool fourteen-year-olds club!” He held out his hand for a high five.
Shannon Messenger (Neverseen (Keeper of the Lost Cities, #4))
Jakobson gives the following example. If I say in English, “I spent yesterday evening with a neighbor,” you may well wonder whether my companion was male or female, but I have the right to tell you politely that it’s none of your business. But if we are speaking French or German or Russian, I don’t have the privilege to equivocate, because I am obliged by the language to choose between voisin or voisine, Nachbar or Nachbarin, sosed or sosedka. So French, German, and Russian would compel me to inform you about the sex of my companion whether or not I felt it was your business. This does not mean, of course, that English speakers are oblivious to the differences between evenings spent with male or female neighbors. Nor does it mean that English speakers cannot express the distinction should they want to. It only means that English speakers are not obliged to specify the sex each time the neighbor is mentioned, while speakers of some languages are.
Guy Deutscher (Through the Language Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages)
Despite the feeling that we’re directly experiencing the world out there, our reality is ultimately built in the dark, in a foreign language of electrochemical signals. The activity churning across vast neural networks gets turned into your story of this, your private experience of the world: the feeling of this book in your hands, the light in the room, the smell of roses, the sound of others speaking. Even more strangely, it’s likely that every brain tells a slightly different narrative. For every situation with multiple witnesses, different brains are having different private subjective experiences. With seven billion human brains wandering the planet (and trillions of animal brains), there’s no single version of reality. Each brain carries its own truth. So what is reality? It’s like a television show that only you can see, and you can’t turn it off. The good news is that it happens to be broadcasting the most interesting show you could ask for: edited, personalized, and presented just for you.
David Eagleman (The Brain: The Story of You)
Clemency, empathy, and leniency are the very chains that set us free. Fraternity and amity are our goals, our neighbors are our judges. We are all slaves and kings. The cause of one is the cause of all, and the mistake of one is the mistake of all. We see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil and do no evil as it’s not whether what we receive is evil, it’s what we deliver. Our minds are bound to the truism of life, but our actions are bound to the law. We are free to embrace different dogmas. But we are obliged to the law in our actions. We build no temples, no sects. There are no monks or holy mentors. For creed is not vicious, those who call to the creed are loathsome, they use the simplicity of poor minds and the power they claim they have from the Eternal Force to maim the true faith and replace the holy commands with superstitions. I chose the rain as my Holy Force and I beg you not to follow me nor believe in my faith. You do not know the language of water, and you can’t have faith in what you don’t understand.
Mohamed Amer (God Is In The Rain)
Some of the variable words, say lunch and supper and dinner, may be highlighted but the differences are not particularly important. When we come to say `we just don't speak the same language' we mean something more general: that we have different immediate values or different kinds of valuation, or that we are aware, often intangibly, of different formations and distributions of energy and interest. In such a case, each group is speaking its native language, but its uses are significantly different, and especially when strong feelings or important ideas are in question. No single group is `wrong' by any linguistic criterion, though a temporarily dominant group may try to enforce its own uses as `correct'. What is really happening through these critical encounters, which may be very conscious or may be felt only as a certain strangeness and unease, is a process quite central in the development of a language when, in certain words, tones and rhythms, meanings are offered, felt for, tested, confirmed, asserted, qualified, changed.
Raymond Williams (Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society)
Orthodoxy is the wide open field within which successful breeding can take place. If one maintains that Jesus was an eater of magic mushrooms or a Martian, then this will not make for fertility. There is not enough in common for there to be intercourse in any sense. How different can two believers be for the encounter to be fertile? This is a complex question which we do not need to explore here. Of course ultimately we must share orthodoxy, but this is not to narrow the scope of the conversation; it is to enter the broad terrain of the mystery, in which we are liberated from the tightness of ideology. It is a serious misuse of language to use the word 'orthodox' to mean conservative or, even worse, rigid. Orthodoxy does not lie in the unvarying and thoughtless repetition of received formulas. As Karl Rahner pointed out, that can be a form of heresy. Orthodoxy is speaking about our faith in ways that keep open the pilgrimage towards the mystery. Often it is hard to know immediately whether a new statement of belief is a new way of stating our faith or its betrayal. It takes time for us to tell.
Timothy Radcliffe (What is the Point of Being a Christian?)
It doesn't take ten years of study, you don't need to go to the University, to find out that this is a damned good world gone wrong. Gone wrong, because it is being monkeyed with by people too greedy and mean and wrong-hearted altogether to do the right thing by our common world. They've grabbed it and they won't let go. They might lose their importance; they might lose their pull. Everywhere it's the same. Beware of the men you make your masters. Beware of the men you trust. We've only got to be clear-headed to sing the same song and play the same game all over the world, we common men. We don't want Power monkeyed with, we don't want Work and Goods monkeyed with, and, above all, we don't want Money monkeyed with. That's the elements of politics everywhere. When these things go wrong, we go wrong. That's how people begin to feel it and see it in America. That's how we feel it here -- when we look into our minds. That's what common people feel everywhere. That's what our brother whites -- "poor whites" they call them -- in those towns in South Carolina are fighting for now. Fighting our battle. Why aren't we with them? We speak the same language; we share the same blood. Who has been keeping us apart from them for a hundred and fifty-odd years? Ruling classes. Politicians. Dear old flag and all that stuff! Our school-books never tell us a word about the American common man; and his school-books never tell him a word about us. They flutter flags between us to keep us apart. Split us up for a century and a half because of some fuss about taxing tea. And what are our wonderful Labour and Socialist and Communist leaders doing to change that? What are they doing to unite us English-speaking common men together and give us our plain desire? Are they doing anything more for us than the land barons and the factory barons and the money barons? Not a bit of it! These labour leaders of to-day mean to be lords to-morrow. They are just a fresh set of dishonest trustees. Look at these twenty-odd platforms here! Mark their needless contradictions! Their marvellous differences on minor issues. 'Manoeuvres!' 'Intrigue.' 'Personalities.' 'Monkeying.' 'Don't trust him, trust me!' All of them at it. Mark how we common men are distracted, how we are set hunting first after one red herring and then after another, for the want of simple, honest interpretation...
H.G. Wells (The Holy Terror)
A man on his deathbed left instructions For dividing up his goods among his three sons. He had devoted his entire spirit to those sons. They stood like cypress trees around him, Quiet and strong. He told the town judge, 'Whichever of my sons is laziest, Give him all the inheritance.' Then he died, and the judge turned to the three, 'Each of you must give some account of your laziness, so I can understand just how you are lazy.' Mystics are experts in laziness. They rely on it, Because they continuously see God working all around them. The harvest keeps coming in, yet they Never even did the plowing! 'Come on. Say something about the ways you are lazy.' Every spoken word is a covering for the inner self. A little curtain-flick no wider than a slice Of roast meat can reveal hundreds of exploding suns. Even if what is being said is trivial and wrong, The listener hears the source. One breeze comes From across a garden. Another from across the ash-heap. Think how different the voices of the fox And the lion, and what they tell you! Hearing someone is lifting the lid off the cooking pot. You learn what's for supper. Though some people Can know just by the smell, a sweet stew From a sour soup cooked with vinegar. A man taps a clay pot before he buys it To know by the sound if it has a crack. The eldest of the three brothers told the judge, 'I can know a man by his voice, and if he won't speak, I wait three days, and then I know him intuitively.' The second brother, 'I know him when he speaks, And if he won't talk, I strike up a conversation.' 'But what if he knows that trick?' asked the judge. Which reminds me of the mother who tells her child 'When you're walking through the graveyard at night and you see a boogeyman, run at it, and it will go away.' 'But what,' replies the child, 'if the boogeyman's Mother has told it to do the same thing? Boogeymen have mothers too.' The second brother had no answer. 'I sit in front of him in silence, And set up a ladder made of patience, And if in his presence a language from beyond joy And beyond grief begins to pour from my chest, I know that his soul is as deep and bright As the star Canopus rising over Yemen. And so when I start speaking a powerful right arm Of words sweeping down, I know him from what I say, And how I say it, because there's a window open Between us, mixing the night air of our beings.' The youngest was, obviously, The laziest. He won.
Rumi
So which theory did Lagos believe in? The relativist or the universalist?" "He did not seem to think there was much of a difference. In the end, they are both somewhat mystical. Lagos believed that both schools of thought had essentially arrived at the same place by different lines of reasoning." "But it seems to me there is a key difference," Hiro says. "The universalists think that we are determined by the prepatterned structure of our brains -- the pathways in the cortex. The relativists don't believe that we have any limits." "Lagos modified the strict Chomskyan theory by supposing that learning a language is like blowing code into PROMs -- an analogy that I cannot interpret." "The analogy is clear. PROMs are Programmable Read-Only Memory chips," Hiro says. "When they come from the factory, they have no content. Once and only once, you can place information into those chips and then freeze it -- the information, the software, becomes frozen into the chip -- it transmutes into hardware. After you have blown the code into the PROMs, you can read it out, but you can't write to them anymore. So Lagos was trying to say that the newborn human brain has no structure -- as the relativists would have it -- and that as the child learns a language, the developing brain structures itself accordingly, the language gets 'blown into the hardware and becomes a permanent part of the brain's deep structure -- as the universalists would have it." "Yes. This was his interpretation." "Okay. So when he talked about Enki being a real person with magical powers, what he meant was that Enki somehow understood the connection between language and the brain, knew how to manipulate it. The same way that a hacker, knowing the secrets of a computer system, can write code to control it -- digital namshubs?" "Lagos said that Enki had the ability to ascend into the universe of language and see it before his eyes. Much as humans go into the Metaverse. That gave him power to create nam-shubs. And nam-shubs had the power to alter the functioning of the brain and of the body." "Why isn't anyone doing this kind of thing nowadays? Why aren't there any namshubs in English?" "Not all languages are the same, as Steiner points out. Some languages are better at metaphor than others. Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Chinese lend themselves to word play and have achieved a lasting grip on reality: Palestine had Qiryat Sefer, the 'City of the Letter,' and Syria had Byblos, the 'Town of the Book.' By contrast other civilizations seem 'speechless' or at least, as may have been the case in Egypt, not entirely cognizant of the creative and transformational powers of language. Lagos believed that Sumerian was an extraordinarily powerful language -- at least it was in Sumer five thousand years ago." "A language that lent itself to Enki's neurolinguistic hacking." "Early linguists, as well as the Kabbalists, believed in a fictional language called the tongue of Eden, the language of Adam. It enabled all men to understand each other, to communicate without misunderstanding. It was the language of the Logos, the moment when God created the world by speaking a word. In the tongue of Eden, naming a thing was the same as creating it. To quote Steiner again, 'Our speech interposes itself between apprehension and truth like a dusty pane or warped mirror. The tongue of Eden was like a flawless glass; a light of total understanding streamed through it. Thus Babel was a second Fall.' And Isaac the Blind, an early Kabbalist, said that, to quote Gershom Scholem's translation, 'The speech of men is connected with divine speech and all language whether heavenly or human derives from one source: the Divine Name.' The practical Kabbalists, the sorcerers, bore the title Ba'al Shem, meaning 'master of the divine name.'" "The machine language of the world," Hiro says.
Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash)
I can’t help thinking,” she confided when he finished answering her questions about women in India who covered their faces and hair in public, “that it is grossly unfair that I was born a female and so must never know such adventures, or see but a few of those places. Even if I were to journey there, I’d only be allowed to go where everything was as civilized as-as London!” “There does seem to be a case of extreme disparity between the privileges accorded the sexes,” Ian agreed. “Still, we each have our duty to perform,” she informed him with sham solemnity. “And there’s said to be great satisfaction in that.” “How do you view your-er-duty?” he countered, responding to her teasing tone with a lazy white smile. “That’s easy. It is a female’s duty to be a wife who is an asset to her husband in every way. It is a male’s duty to do whatever he wishes, whenever he wishes, so long as he is prepared to defend his country should the occasion demand it in his lifetime-which it very likely won’t. Men,” she informed him, “gain honor by sacrificing themselves on the field of battle while we sacrifice ourselves on the altar of matrimony.” He laughed aloud then, and Elizabeth smiled back at him, enjoying herself hugely. “Which, when one considers it, only proves that our sacrifice is by far the greater and more noble.” “How is that?” he asked, still chuckling. “It’s perfectly obvious-battles last mere days or weeks, months at the very most. While matrimony lasts a lifetime! Which brings to mind something else I’ve often wondered about,” she continued gaily, giving full rein to her innermost thoughts. “And that is?” he prompted, grinning, watching her as if he never wanted to stop. “Why do you suppose, after all that, they call us the weaker sex?” Their laughing gazes held, and then Elizabeth realized how outrageous he must be finding some of her remarks. “I don’t usually go off on such tangents,” she said ruefully. “You must think I’m dreadfully ill-bred.” “I think,” he softly said, “that you are magnificent.” The husky sincerity in his deep voice snatched her breath away. She opened her mouth, thinking frantically for some light reply that could restore the easy camaraderie of a minute before, but instead of speaking she could only draw a long, shaky breath. “And,” he continued quietly, “I think you know it.” This was not, not the sort of foolish, flirtatious repartee she was accustomed to from her London beaux, and it terrified her as much as the sensual look in those golden eyes. Pressing imperceptibly back against the arm of the sofa, she told herself she was only overacting to what was nothing more than empty flattery. “I think,” she managed with a light laugh that stuck in her throat, “that you must find whatever female you’re with ‘magnificent.’” “Why would you say a thing like that?” Elizabeth shrugged. “Last night at supper, for one thing.” When he frowned at her as if she were speaking in a foreign language, she prodded, “You remember Lady Charise Dumont, our hostess, the same lovely brunette on whose every word you were hanging at supper last night?” His frown became a grin. “Jealous?” Elizabeth lifted her elegant little chin and shook her head. “No more than you were of Lord Howard.” She felt a small bit of satisfaction as his amusement vanished. “The fellow who couldn’t seem to talk to you without touching your arm?” he inquired in a silky-soft voice. “That Lord Howard? As a matter of fact, my love, I spent most of my meal trying to decide whether I wanted to shove his nose under his right ear or his left.” Startled, musical laughter erupted from her before she could stop it. “You did nothing of the sort,” she chuckled. “Besides, if you wouldn’t duel with Lord Everly when he called you a cheat, you certainly wouldn’t harm poor Lord Howard merely for touching my arm.” “Wouldn’t I?” he asked softly. “Those are two very different issues.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
We are all poor; but there is a difference between what Mrs. Spark intends by speaking of 'slender means', and what Stevens called our poverty or Sartre our need, besoin. The poet finds his brief, fortuitous concords, it is true: not merely 'what will suffice,' but 'the freshness of transformation,' the 'reality of decreation,' the 'gaiety of language.' The novelist accepts need, the difficulty of relating one's fictions to what one knows about the nature of reality, as his donnée. It is because no one has said more about this situation, or given such an idea of its complexity, that I want to devote most of this talk to Sartre and the most relevant of his novels, La Nausée. As things go now it isn't of course very modern; Robbe-Grillet treats it with amused reverence as a valuable antique. But it will still serve for my purposes. This book is doubtless very well known to you; I can't undertake to tell you much about it, especially as it has often been regarded as standing in an unusually close relation to a body of philosophy which I am incompetent to expound. Perhaps you will be charitable if I explain that I shall be using it and other works of Sartre merely as examples. What I have to do is simply to show that La Nausée represents, in the work of one extremely important and representative figure, a kind of crisis in the relation between fiction and reality, the tension or dissonance between paradigmatic form and contingent reality. That the mood of Sartre has sometimes been appropriate to the modern demythologized apocalypse is something I shall take for granted; his is a philosophy of crisis, but his world has no beginning and no end. The absurd dishonesty of all prefabricated patterns is cardinal to his beliefs; to cover reality over with eidetic images--illusions persisting from past acts of perception, as some abnormal children 'see' the page or object that is no longer before them --to do this is to sink into mauvaise foi. This expression covers all comfortable denials of the undeniable--freedom --by myths of necessity, nature, or things as they are. Are all the paradigms of fiction eidetic? Is the unavoidable, insidious, comfortable enemy of all novelists mauvaise foi? Sartre has recently, in his first instalment of autobiography, talked with extraordinary vivacity about the roleplaying of his youth, of the falsities imposed upon him by the fictive power of words. At the beginning of the Great War he began a novel about a French private who captured the Kaiser, defeated him in single combat, and so ended the war and recovered Alsace. But everything went wrong. The Kaiser, hissed by the poilus, no match for the superbly fit Private Perrin, spat upon and insulted, became 'somehow heroic.' Worse still, the peace, which should instantly have followed in the real world if this fiction had a genuine correspondence with reality, failed to occur. 'I very nearly renounced literature,' says Sartre. Roquentin, in a subtler but basically similar situation, has the same reaction. Later Sartre would find again that the hero, however assiduously you use the pitchfork, will recur, and that gaps, less gross perhaps, between fiction and reality will open in the most close-knit pattern of words. Again, the young Sartre would sometimes, when most identified with his friends at the lycée, feel himself to be 'freed at last from the sin of existing'--this is also an expression of Roquentin's, but Roquentin says it feels like being a character in a novel. How can novels, by telling lies, convert existence into being? We see Roquentin waver between the horror of contingency and the fiction of aventures. In Les Mots Sartre very engagingly tells us that he was Roquentin, certainly, but that he was Sartre also, 'the elect, the chronicler of hells' to whom the whole novel of which he now speaks so derisively was a sort of aventure, though what was represented within it was 'the unjustified, brackish existence of my fellow-creatures.
Frank Kermode (The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction)
As a nonwhite person, the General, like myself, knew he must be patient with white people, who were easily scared by the nonwhite. Even with liberal white people, one could go only so far, and with average white people one could barely go anywhere. The General was deeply familiar with the nature, nuances, and internal differences of white people, as was every nonwhite person who had lived here a good number of years. We ate their food, we watched their movies, we observed their lives and psyche via television and in everyday contact, we learned their language, we absorbed their subtle cues, we laughed at their jokes, even when made at our expense, we humbly accepted their condescension, we eavesdropped on their conversations in supermarkets and the dentist’s office, and we protected them by not speaking our own language in their presence, which unnerved them. We were the greatest anthropologists ever of the American people, which the American people never knew because our field notes were written in our own language in letters and postcards dispatched to our countries of origin, where our relatives read our reports with hilarity, confusion, and awe. Although the Congressman was joking, we probably did know white people better than they knew themselves, and we certainly knew white people better than they ever knew us.
Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathizer)
The French language is one of the most widespread languages in terms of its presence around the world. It is the only language that can be found to be used commonly in every single continent. You may or may not be aware of the fact that French is derived from Latin, along with many other languages that it is similar to such as Spanish and Italian. If you already have some knowledge of Spanish or Italian, then learning French could be quite a breeze for you. Many languages change over time as different dialects and forms come into practice simply because of time passing and people changing. The interesting thing about the French language though is that there is a governing body whose main mission is to keep and protect the French language as close to its origin as possible in terms of word additions and changes to things like grammar or sentence structure. There are many changes proposed and rejected by this governing body in an effort to maintain its integrity to the past. This is different from the English language as many new words are being added to the dictionary all the time as societies grow, change and develop. The French language and its prominence are growing rapidly as many of the countries where French is a primary language are developing countries and thus they are growing and changing. What this means for the French language is that it is also growing and becoming more widespread as these countries develop.
Paul Bonnet (FRENCH COMPLETE COURSE: 3 BOOKS IN 1 : THE BEST GUIDE FOR BEGINNERS TO LEARN AND SPEAK FRENCH LANGUAGE FAST AND EASY WITH VOCABULARY AND GRAMMAR, COMMON PHRASES AND SHORT STORIES)
this I say,—we must never forget that all the education a man's head can receive, will not save his soul from hell, unless he knows the truths of the Bible. A man may have prodigious learning, and yet never be saved. He may be master of half the languages spoken round the globe. He may be acquainted with the highest and deepest things in heaven and earth. He may have read books till he is like a walking cyclopædia. He may be familiar with the stars of heaven,—the birds of the air,—the beasts of the earth, and the fishes of the sea. He may be able, like Solomon, to "speak of trees, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows on the wall, of beasts also, and fowls, and creeping things, and fishes." (1 King iv. 33.) He may be able to discourse of all the secrets of fire, air, earth, and water. And yet, if he dies ignorant of Bible truths, he dies a miserable man! Chemistry never silenced a guilty conscience. Mathematics never healed a broken heart. All the sciences in the world never smoothed down a dying pillow. No earthly philosophy ever supplied hope in death. No natural theology ever gave peace in the prospect of meeting a holy God. All these things are of the earth, earthy, and can never raise a man above the earth's level. They may enable a man to strut and fret his little season here below with a more dignified gait than his fellow-mortals, but they can never give him wings, and enable him to soar towards heaven. He that has the largest share of them, will find at length that without Bible knowledge he has got no lasting possession. Death will make an end of all his attainments, and after death they will do him no good at all. A man may be a very ignorant man, and yet be saved. He may be unable to read a word, or write a letter. He may know nothing of geography beyond the bounds of his own parish, and be utterly unable to say which is nearest to England, Paris or New York. He may know nothing of arithmetic, and not see any difference between a million and a thousand. He may know nothing of history, not even of his own land, and be quite ignorant whether his country owes most to Semiramis, Boadicea, or Queen Elizabeth. He may know nothing of the affairs of his own times, and be incapable of telling you whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or the Commander-in-Chief, or the Archbishop of Canterbury is managing the national finances. He may know nothing of science, and its discoveries,—and whether Julius Cæsar won his victories with gunpowder, or the apostles had a printing press, or the sun goes round the earth, may be matters about which he has not an idea. And yet if that very man has heard Bible truth with his ears, and believed it with his heart, he knows enough to save his soul. He will be found at last with Lazarus in Abraham's bosom, while his scientific fellow-creature, who has died unconverted, is lost for ever. There is much talk in these days about science and "useful knowledge." But after all a knowledge of the Bible is the one knowledge that is needful and eternally useful. A man may get to heaven without money, learning, health, or friends,—but without Bible knowledge he will never get there at all. A man may have the mightiest of minds, and a memory stored with all that mighty mind can grasp,—and yet, if he does not know the things of the Bible, he will make shipwreck of his soul for ever. Woe! woe! woe to the man who dies in ignorance of the Bible! This is the Book about which I am addressing the readers of these pages to-day. It is no light matter what you do with such a book. It concerns the life of your soul. I summon you,—I charge you to give an honest answer to my question. What are you doing with the Bible? Do you read it? HOW READEST THOU?
J.C. Ryle (Practical Religion Being Plain Papers on the Daily Duties, Experience, Dangers, and Privileges of Professing Christians)
He: "I mean, are you happy and are you fully alive?" I laughed: ''As you can see, you wove witty jokes into the lecture to please your listeners. You heaped up learned expressions to impress them. You were restless and hasty, as if still compelled to snatch up all knowledge. You are not in yourself" Although these words at first seemed laughable to me, they still made an impression on me, and reluctantly I had to / credit the old man, since he was right. Then he said: "Dear Ammonius, I have delightful tidings for you: God has become flesh in his son and has brought us all salvation." ""What are you saying," I called, "you probably mean Osiris, who shall appear in the mortal body?" "No," he replied, "this man lived in Judea and was born from a virgin." I laughed and answered: "I already know about this; a Jewish trader has brought tidings of our virgin queen to Judea, whose image appears on the walls of one of our temples, and reported it as a fairy tale." "No," the old man insisted, "he was the Son of God." "Then you mean Horus the son of Osiris, don't you?" I answered. "No,hewasnotHorus,butarealman,andhewashung from a cross." "Oh, but this must be Seth, surely; whose punishments our old ones have often described." But the old man stood by his conviction and said: "He died and rose up on the third day." "Well, then he must be Osiris," I replied impatiently. "No," he cried, "he is called Jesus the anointed one." ''Ah, you really mean this Jewish God, whom the poor honor at the harbor, and whose unclean mysteries they celebrate in cellars." "He was a man and yet the Son of God," said the old man staring at me intently. "That's nonsense, dear old man," I said, and showed him to the door. But like an echo from distant rock faces the words returned to me: a man and yet the Son of God. It seemed significant to me, and this phrase was what brought me to Christianity. I: "But don't you think that Christianity could ultimately be a transformation ofyour Egyptian teachings?" A: "If you say that our old teachings were less adequate expressions of Christianity, then I'm more likely to agree with you." I: "Yes, but do you then assume that the history of religions is aimed at a final goal?" A: "My father once bought a black slave at the market from the region of the source of the Nile. He came from a country that had heard ofneither Osiris nor the other Gods; he told me many things in a more simple language that said the same as we believed about Osiris and the other Gods. I learned to understand that those uneducated Negroes unknowingly already possessed most of what the religions of the cultured peoples had developed into complete doctrines. Those able to read that language correctly could thus recognize in it not only the pagan doctrines but also the doctrine of Jesus. And it's with this that I now occupy myself I read the gospels and seek their meaning which is yet to come.We know their meaning as it lies before us, but not their hidden meaning which points to the future. It's erroneous to believe that religions differ in their innermost essence. Strictly speaking, it's always one and the same religion. Every subsequent form of religion is the meaning of the antecedent." I: "Have you found out the meaning which is yet to come?" A: "No, not yet; it's very difficult, but I hope I'll succeed. Sometimes it seems to me that I need the stimulation of others, but I realize that those are temptations of Satan." I: "Don't you believe that you'd succeed ifyou were nearer men?" A: "maybeyoureright." He looks at me suddenly as if doubtful and suspicious. "But, I love the desert, do you understand? This yellow, sun-glowing desert. Here you can see the countenance of the sun every day; you are alone, you can see glorious Helios-no, that is - pagan-what's wrong with me? I'm confused-you are Satan- I recognize you-give way; adversary!" He jumps up incensed and wants to lunge at me. But I am far away in the twentieth century.
C.G. Jung
A striking example from the history of writing is the origin of the syllabary devised in Arkansas around 1820 by a Cherokee Indian named Sequoyah, for writing the Cherokee language. Sequoyah observed that white people made marks on paper, and that they derived great advantage by using those marks to record and repeat lengthy speeches. However, the detailed operations of those marks remained a mystery to him, since (like most Cherokees before 1820) Sequoyah was illiterate and could neither speak nor read English. Because he was a blacksmith, Sequoyah began by devising an accounting system to help him keep track of his customers’ debts. He drew a picture of each customer; then he drew circles and lines of various sizes to represent the amount of money owed. Around 1810, Sequoyah decided to go on to design a system for writing the Cherokee language. He again began by drawing pictures, but gave them up as too complicated and too artistically demanding. He next started to invent separate signs for each word, and again became dissatisfied when he had coined thousands of signs and still needed more. Finally, Sequoyah realized that words were made up of modest numbers of different sound bites that recurred in many different words—what we would call syllables. He initially devised 200 syllabic signs and gradually reduced them to 85, most of them for combinations of one consonant and one vowel. As one source of the signs themselves, Sequoyah practiced copying the letters from an English spelling book given to him by a schoolteacher. About two dozen of his Cherokee syllabic signs were taken directly from those letters, though of course with completely changed meanings, since Sequoyah did not know the English meanings. For example, he chose the shapes D, R, b, h to represent the Cherokee syllables a, e, si, and ni, respectively, while the shape of the numeral 4 was borrowed for the syllable se. He coined other signs by modifying English letters, such as designing the signs , , and to represent the syllables yu, sa, and na, respectively. Still other signs were entirely of his creation, such as , , and for ho, li, and nu, respectively. Sequoyah’s syllabary is widely admired by professional linguists for its good fit to Cherokee sounds, and for the ease with which it can be learned. Within a short time, the Cherokees achieved almost 100 percent literacy in the syllabary, bought a printing press, had Sequoyah’s signs cast as type, and began printing books and newspapers. Cherokee writing remains one of the best-attested examples of a script that arose through idea diffusion. We know that Sequoyah received paper and other writing materials, the idea of a writing system, the idea of using separate marks, and the forms of several dozen marks. Since, however, he could neither read nor write English, he acquired no details or even principles from the existing scripts around him. Surrounded by alphabets he could not understand, he instead independently reinvented a syllabary, unaware that the Minoans of Crete had already invented another syllabary 3,500 years previously.
Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel)
Wittgenstein uses this beetle analogy to suggest that the felt states and sensations that occur in a person’s mind; things like smell, pain, love, happiness, sadness, and so on are things that no one can communicate sufficiently enough to share and reveal their experiences to others. I can never see your beetle, and you can never see mine. When we attempt to think and communicate about the beetle, though, the word has to be a word that everyone understands and can be taught for the word to have any meaning. According to Wittgenstein and many others, language is entirely social. This theory is known as the Private Language Argument, which proposes that no language can be understandable if it is solely to one individual. Rather, language is only formed through shared use amongst a community of others. Thus, the sensation of something might exist exclusively to one’s self, but it can never be understood in terms of language exclusively to one’s self. Meaning, we can never know if anyone experiences anything the same way we experience it, even if everyone talks about it in the same words. We can only assume. Arguably, trying to rationalize, communicate, and comprehend the mental experience of a sensation as it actually is, becomes inconceivable after a certain point. For example, one could say that fresh cut grass smells good, but when asked what it smells like, they would have to go on to say things like it smells natural or like the season of spring. If then asked, what that smells like, perhaps if one tried hard enough, they could come with a few other smells to compare it to, but they would eventually and inevitably reach the limits of language. There would be a final question of what it smells like that would have no answer. A sensation beyond words that no one besides the smeller could know for sure what is like. “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” Wittgenstein writes when referring to the notion of subjective experience and that which exceeds language and logical understanding. Beyond the suggestions of language and shared meaning, arguably what is most thought-provoking about all of this is the notion that we can never know what it feels like to be anyone else other than our self. We can never know what the world might look, taste, smell, sound, and feel like from outside our own heads. We can never verify what anyone else’s color blue looks like, or what anyone else’s punch in the arm feels like, or what anyone else’s sense of love or happiness is like. We are all locked inside our minds, yelling out to each other in an attempt to find out, but never capable of entering anyone else’s to find out for sure. Even if the framework, structure, and wiring of each of our brains are mostly identical, the unknowable conscious psychological layer on top of it all transmutes the experience of neurological occurrences into something abstract, distanced enough from the measurable and communicable to ever know exactly what any of it is, where it comes from, and how it might change in different heads. Ultimately, no matter the philosophical stance or scientific theory, it is fair to argue that at a minimum no one can or will ever know what it means to have navigated and experienced this universe in the way that you have and will. Each moment that you experience, a particular sense or image of the world with your particular conditions of consciousness, is forever yours exclusively, withholding the mystery of what it means to actually be you for all of eternity. Perhaps we all feel and experience in nearly identical ways, or perhaps we all feel and experience in very dissimilar ways. Your version of blue, your sensation of pain, your experience of love, could perhaps be its only version of blue, its only version of pain, and its only version of love to ever exist in the entire universe. The point is, we don’t know because each of us holds the answer that no one can ever access.
Robert Pantano