01.26.09

Language & Life

Posted in Book reviews, Life in general, On writing at 8:23 am by Marion

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Photo courtesy Medoc Mountain S.P.

It’s Monday across the world (well, most of it) and here in Fiction Dailyland we’re celebrating a hike to Medoc Mountain State Park on Saturday.

We left early morning in a slight rain and when we arrived at Medoc, it seemed a drizzle was waiting for us, but left only a few drops. The day remained overcast, but what an awesome day it was. We hiked the Bluff Trail which led us to an uncharted section of the park, likely the new acres added in the past few years by donation.

This area is used for horse trails and because it was January, and an overcast bleary day at that, we saw not a soul. Well, we saw some small souls — birds everywhere — and in this new part of the park, perhaps unused to seeing human creatures like us, they dipped down to explore us curiously.

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Yesterday, reflection and reading, including a used book I picked up in Durham recently.

The Language Experience contains essays by several writers, linguists and thinkers. While the book shows its age (it’s 1974, and whale songs are first being recorded), it shows remarkable longevity and truth.

The first section explores language as symbol … and begins by reminding us that language is like an iceberg … behind our seemingly simple utterances, formed by the larynx and ejected with our breath, are nearly unfathomable thought chains, reflecting incomprehensible complexity and intelligence.

Looking forward to reading these essays, which includes thoughts from George Orwell on developing a complete language system, Newspeak, for his seminal work, 1984.

The New York Times has an article on novelist Yu Hua, from China, whose two-volume work, Brothers, is stirring controversy at home and abroad, among writers and nationalists.

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