Learning.

First, I know it’s been a month. My only excuse is that I’ve been aggressively attacking my French studies after neglecting them for six months in favor of Chinese. I already miss the Chinese studies, but there are still only twenty-four hours in a given day. Yet, I still am not doing the one thing that would really help me to learn French quicker, better, and much more ready to communicate with actual people. I sometimes ask myself, why do I want to learn French. I’ve yet to hear anyone speak it, out and about and such. Most of the French I encounter is in written form, that’s everywhere. Grocery stores, books, even in the restroom at some places (on the towel dispenser.) But I’ve yet to hear someone speak it. I hear someone speaking Mandarin Chinese every once in awhile, sometimes as often as once a week or two, and I do not get out of the house much. A lot of Spanish, but I’ve not studied Spanish all that much, well at all actually. Still, despite that, I am glad to be studying them. It is worth the effort, and I was quite excited to be able to make sense of twenty minutes of French while watching a movie, with relative ease. That’s not the point however.

I’ve discovered something in all this, something I should have suspected, I have a passion for languages. I should have suspected it, because I believed myself to hold a passion for words, but for my part I thought my passion was about the arranging of words into something I deemed to be beautiful, and I suppose to an extent that is true. But, when I started to learn languages, I began to realize, it’s not so much the words, it’s the ideas.

I still delight in words, and while I don’t believe English to be a particularly fair language in and of itself, though that may simply be the result of a lifetime of hearing it used for complaints, and so forth. Which is true of most languages. When I watched a Shakespeare drama, I was enraptured by the words he had chosen. They were English words, but it was beautiful. Another example, was reading Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, which, as fine as The Lord of the Rings is, exceeds that one in its heights of linguistic beauty. Every once in awhile I still find something in the English art’s that is beautiful, it becomes hard at times to believe that a language capable of such beauty and wonder, is also the same language used by a vulgar tongue that speaks the language to curse, and those who use it for propaganda, to manipulate, or to abuse. It is the same language as the words that delight.

English is still my primary language, and I enjoy speaking it. True, but it is amazing how much more I am learning, I’m not just learning thousands of new words, and dozens of new grammatical rules, and so forth, though that is part of it, to be sure, I’m learning about cultures, and people, and what it is to be a human on this planet Earth. I am learning a great deal about myself. In many ways it is like discovering a whole new way to be human, but at the same time, there are aspects of it that are familiar to you.

As I seek to write my own stories, I hope that I write something that is beautiful, it is one of my primary reasons for writing after all, to find something beautiful. I cannot deny however, that I feel I lack an understanding of the English language to tell it as it ought to be told. I feel most often, I cannot do it justice. In many ways, for me, writing is more about exploring the world inside my head. I’m not telling a story, I’m discovering it.

It is something I find I enjoy.

Even though I haven’t posted in awhile, I’m going to keep this short, I have to leave the coffee shop I’m writing this up in now, after all.

-Shane