In Love With Language


Language is wine upon the lips.
Virginia Woolf

Dance is the hidden language of the soul of the body. Martha Graham

Music is a great energizer. It’s a language everybody knows. Bill Hicks

It’s my belief we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain. Lily Tomlin

By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth. George Carlin

What we are all trying to do is communicate, whether to enlighten or obscure, we communicate in a number of different languages. I embrace the beauty of the spoken word as a storyteller and performer, immerse myself in the language of a creative writer, physically and verbally share the language of theater through my educational workshops and residency classes…and this is just the grace of language in a professional level.

Right there: that word, “professional,” as I typed the final letter, took on a life of its own. Automatically, it gives the whole sentence weight (to me) and to some vast importance. You don’t know if I wrote it tongue-in-cheek, with reverence, or in anger. It’s a word that it’s meaning is assumed by the reader. This medium, texts, twits, IM’s and the like, has an immediate flatness that don’t often allow the whole story of language to surface.

I use language as I  talk with my hands (gesture is supposedly the first language).  Body language takes on its own life. We communicate language in all areas of art: it is a way to express our feelings and thoughts in various ways.

My language art is mainly in words: spoken or written. Dance, Fine Arts and Music explore a different value of language, reaches its audience in a number of different ways, and explores a huge range of exploration, inquiry and interpretation…when it is allowed to happen.

The above picture just exemplifies how I feel about words/language, written or otherwise. I am embraced by it as a whole. It can feel comforting, enlightening, provoking, expansive, and more. It  can also repel, used for the ugliness of intentions, when language is used as a weapon. That is done all too often, when the words are used as obfuscation of truth, of seeing the bigger picture, or to keep people “out of the club.” If you’ve read me enough, you know what I am alluding to. I wrote of these things on other blog posts.

Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process of free creation.
Noam Chomsky

How do you use language?

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25 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. deborahnscatteredmusing
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 11:26:03

    Loved the picture you used for your post.

    It’s incredible how many different ways “language” can be used, spoken, written, mimed.. For someone that can’t hear we use sign language, for those that can’t read we tell then the story. Then there is body language, the motions and expressions. I think most of use a little of each piece as we use our “language”.

    I am soft spoken, but have a voice that carries (if that makes sense) anyways the other night I was talking to my hubby while cooking (I had my back to him) He said, “Deb, look at me when you are talking I don’t hear you” … That made me think that I must use a lot of expressions and motions when I am speaking.

    I love language too, even though I don’t think I have the best grammar, and I didn’t like any of the “language classes” in school.

    Enjoyed your thoughts .. Thanks for sharing

    Deb

    Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 29, 2011 @ 11:30:46

      Thank you Deb. I was going to write about ASL, but for whatever reason I backed it out.

      My first experience with sign language as art and communication was in college, seeing a performance by Theater for the Deaf. It was amazing, just totally blew me away, in that the expressiveness in silence was astounding. I started to study ASL because of that, and one day i really do hope I get the chance to work/direct or perform in a show in silence. Not minimalist expression, which is one form of art I do not care for, but in total communicative engagement with the audience.

      Reply

  2. Adriene (Sweepy Jean)
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 11:42:35

    Nice post, Stu. I definitely express myself through words, mostly through their meaning, but also through their sounds and rhythms. In addition, I also have a fascination with other forms of expression, including the languages of music dance, fine art, photography, and film. As I see it, storytelling can bring a lot of those elements together, through movement and gestures, and in elaborate productions, costuming, set designs and the like.

    Reply

  3. Janaki Nagaraj
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 11:51:45

    I love language….or communication in all forms, but sadly am not tech savvy. Though I can understand a few vernacular languages of India, I cannot speak them fluently.

    I love music, and through my writing and poems I try to convey my thoughts to the readers.

    Thanks.

    Reply

  4. Thom Brown
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 12:03:42

    Nice post, Stu. Great minds … same course, I guess, and it’s hard not to think of my post from last May.
    http://bluedollarbill.blogspot.com/2011/05/through-looking-glass.html

    Reply

  5. Larry Lewis
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 12:12:54

    It must be difficult for someone that is so skilled in the use of language to see it sometimes so brutalised by text talk, cyber chat, and us illiterate bloggers. I love seeing your passion for your art, and reading your fantastic use of it.

    Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 29, 2011 @ 12:29:47

      Larry, slang and shortening of language has always been part of how we communicate. It’s often rawer, and yeah, I might get huffy about it, but each time we attempt TRUE communication, to express ourselves, is better than sitting in a cave alone.

      Thanks.

      Reply

    • bornstoryteller
      Sep 29, 2011 @ 12:35:59

      …and, really, thank you so much for your compliments. I have to be better at accepting them (I HAVE grown in this department…used to poo poo them all years ago).

      Bloggers aren’t illiterate, and I know you were kidding. The medium is one I’ve struggled with since before I’ve started. I find people can sometimes take something in such an opposite direction then what was meant, and that is the major thing that bothers me.

      Reply

  6. cath
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 12:55:03

    I love the post, and the photo is perfectly synchronous with your thoughts. For me, language is communication, art, feeling and emotion. Words can evoke all that for me and within me. Very nicely put together Stu.

    Reply

  7. SoniaRumzi
    Sep 29, 2011 @ 13:59:14

    Powerful indeed!

    Reply

  8. Marie Loerzel
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 02:34:40

    Yes, language is powerful. It can be quite beautiful and quite ugly. And so can the hand gestures that go with it…

    Reply

  9. guppydas
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 10:53:35

    It was indeed great to find this refreshingly simple site. Else, in otherwise the clutter of blogosphere, it is hard to find anything that is even half readable, forget understandable. I seldom follow any blogs but this one I will, selfishly, I may add. I need to freshen up my mind when I write and THIS is what I need. Thank you for presenting such a lovely blog.

    Reply

  10. Penelope J.
    Oct 10, 2011 @ 16:00:07

    I love your ode to language. For me, it’s another keeper.

    To the quotes you included, I would like to add another – just the first part of a piece by Nobel Laureate Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. “You can say anything you want, yes sir, but it is the words that sing; they soar and descend. I bow to them. I cling to them. I run them down. I bite into them. I melt them down. I love words so much: the ones I wait for greedily are stalked until, suddenly they drop. Vowels I love, they glitter like colored stones, they leap like silver fish. They are foam, thread, metal, dew. I run after certain words. I want to fit them all into my poem. I catch them in mid flight as they buzz past. I trap them, clean them, peel them.” There’s more but too much to copy here.

    For someone like you, words and language turns you into another being, one who is capable of going far beyond the confines of this life and discovering intense joy in the art of storytelling.

    Reply

  11. zencherry
    Oct 19, 2011 @ 16:58:23

    May I please use this picture? It is sooo good! Only FB and maybe a blog post. Pretty please?

    Reply

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