Marriage is a Language

For many, making everything work with your spouse involves mastering a new language. For others, it involves recalling something second nature but forgotten.

Question: How would you communicate with the other half of your brain if the only way  to do so was through spoken word?

Is spoken word enough to get the precise meaning of your thoughts across? Can body language add anything? What is the secret ingredient, so to speak, of a successful marriage?

IMG_7718The Necessity of Language

Language bridges the gap between what you imagine and what the world around you actually is. The image in our head needs language to become reality. Anything that aids in this realization process is a part of language. Words are clearly language, but so is any action towards the realization of that goal.

People move and are moved principally by spoken word, but even starting my car involves language.  We can not speak our intentions to a car yet through other means of communication cars roar to life. Language is more than just words, we communicate our intentions through our action.

As critical as language is to our society, we constantly struggle with dissonance: “Why didn’t that go as planned?” The way I see it, energy of spoken word and conscious action leaving our body is subject to the forces of outside influencers. Actions and words made real by the thoughts of others shape the world we live in at the exact same time we are trying to shape the very same world. I may have started my car, but a sudden phone call stops me in my tracks. Things do not always go our way because our thoughts are not alone. We are surrounded by billions of creatures (not only human!) with their own stream of consciousness bringing about change through their words and actions.

With the exception of close family members who share similarities in how we communicate, and perhaps even in how we think, communicating our thoughts to other people takes tremendous effort. Discouragingly enough, the closer emotionally we are to someone the more we expect communication to become second nature, when in reality the opposite is often true. Conveying our intentions to our friends and spouse requires patience, an open mind and heart, and an understanding of the gap between our thoughts.

As much as they complete us, our spouse has different communication methods and thoughts unique to ours. Marriage makes us familiar by law, but only time and effort can make it easier to communicate with one another.

Mastering Language

So what does it mean to master a language and how is the language of marriage different? Correct sentence structure and vocabulary, though important, are not the critical components. Spoken word and body language lend to efficiency, but they can be vague and sometimes leads to frustrating confrontations. A master accepts differences, and smiles in the face of misunderstanding. In fact, a master of language is encouraged by setback, rising to the challenge by something deeper: love.

Love forgives when conflicts arise that have no immediate solution, offers patience when explaining the same concept for the umpteenth time, and smooths the edges of incomplete thoughts. Love gives rise to spontaneity and — most importantly — understanding. Mastering a language involves love for your fellow man and a desire to convey your thoughts and treasure the words they have decided to offer to you. Language learning without love is doomed to only ever be an unfulfilling chore. Love is the final step to mastery. Truly opening up yourself to your fellow man by recalling the passion that drove you to begin your journey transcends words when they fail us and calls us to continue learning day in and day out.

We may never be able to fully understand our spouse, but the passion that drove us together will keep us together. Therefore, mastering the language of marriage is not too different from the mastery of any other language. Words and grammar are the rigid structure holding our relationship upright, pointed in the right direction, but love and patience are the warm luxuries — and secret ingredients — that keep us coming back for more.

Translating: The Correct Mindset.

Lifelong Learning 生涯学習Recently, while searching for leads into new opportunities for translation and interpretation, I came across a question posted on the Japanese Q&A portal known as 教えてgoo (oshiete goo) that resonated with my feelings towards translation exactly. There are several websites in English which run on a similar platform. A question is posted, other users freely offer up answers and suggestions, and the original user chooses what they believe to be the best answer. The author of said answer receives credit and reputation in the community for providing valuable information. Whether or not any monetary transactions take place, I am unaware. What I am aware of, and have been surprised by several times to date, is the number of users that offer very detailed, specific, and thoughtful feedback (oftentimes in very polite language). Aside from websites that pride themselves on the quality of their content and manage their community well (such as the American-based Quora), it has struck me that this differs dramatically from the oftentimes shallow and too oftentimes reckless commentary found in similar websites catered to English-speaking audiences.

That aside, here is the original question posted in 2010 by user sosrsvp titled “英語の翻訳者・在宅翻訳・フリーランス翻訳で少しでも稼ぐ為には??”(What does it take to save a little money as an English Translators/Home Translators/Freelance Translator?): Continue reading

Abstract Ink: Japan in a Paintbrush

What does it tell you when arguably the most famous abstract artist of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso, says “Had I been born Chinese I would have been a calligrapher, not a painter”? Eastern Calligraphy, with roots dating back thousands of years, has evolved from its humble and crude stone and chisel beginnings to a means of fluid communication and high art. Shodō (書道) “The Way of the Brush”, handed down through the generations, used by Japanese princes and monks alike, is to this day regarded both as a means for communication and of spiritual awakening. Though unaccustomed Western eyes may be intimidated by its complexity, what is certain is that Shodō is more than just painting: It is a connection to thousands of years of history dating back into Korea and China; it is connecting with language at a deeper level; and at some levels it is a spiritual pathway to enlightenment.

History

Chinese Characters on a Turtle Shell

Chinese Characters on a Turtle Shell

The story of shodo begins tens of thousands of years ago before the brush even existed. In dimly lit caves such as the ones of Zhongwei, China, our ancestors took stones to stone and chiseled away into history their everyday life: horned animals, fellow hunters, bows and arrows. Written language in the East, just as was the case in the West, was born out of pictures.

least as far back as 3,000BC one finds examples written on animal bones and that can be traced directly to characters in modern use. From here these characters and their use gradually spread until at one point roughly two thousand years when it was decreed a unification of writing was necessary and a standard of 3,300 characters were selected. It was at this time that the development of a brush gave way to more fluid characters, which in turn allowed for the development of different schools of style.

However, it was not even until the middle of the first millennium AD that the use of Chinese characters made its way across Korea and into Japan. Once there, its adopters faced the challenge of matching an already existing way of speaking with a foreign way of writing. Continue reading

Nonsense: Word Jumble

People are constantly trying to understand eachother. Let alone when people don’t even speak the same language natively, there are always misunderstandings. When beginning to learn a new language, one goes through the frustrating experience of confirming what was said again and again and again and again…breaking down the sentence into manageable pieces, until finally what one person was trying to say is mutually understood at a certain level by the person they were trying to say it to.

Sometimes, even when all the words in the sentence are completely familiar and understood fully by the listener, it is just impossible to understand. In fact, in Japan people say, “Well, even Japanese people do not know this” more often than someone might expect. Ironic, coming from a Japanese person.

What I am trying to say is, at a certain point it is necessary to take a moment let your mind just free-flow with text.

Stop reading now if you prefer sensibility. 

Behold: “A Panda in Their Soups”

Yesterday and amalgamism of peaches went swimming in a new world of yesterdays insanity.  It wasn’t too long though, before they discovered that there were notimes of human trying to be so close to the next fluff of hints.  Soo many hints, they thought, to handle the rolling twine.  Didn’t see it coming…didn’t know it was there. How did find two? Nowhere though, so they went back to the beginnnning too much. It was nice you se, to be able to try new things instead of typing to momma.  Momma didn’t Mind, if there were spots of tinges of times when….oh god, so many cabbages!

It was true, there were no ways spiraling into the misssst. So thick.. Bells tolling in the distance to Spanish music and now again the rows of singing plants. All would have been well, said the mountain, if it was not for the amalgamizing peaches.

It was none to far for the peaches, fuffling hints of what was in yesterday. Rolling, twine of the mountain’s feet. Feet!? Mountains had paws,;what silliness. Have a new world bowling pin. HIyo fawawawa ting is next-door neigbor’s twine d,o,g. Much ado about the mist, the mountain watches the twine dg roll around in it.

Flabberghast! Don’s three people buckets up had will do. Twine (burning dyin)g leaves. Leaves burnt by mountain halibut there were no chimneys! It wasn’t meant to be, maybe” thought the mountain as fluffy mist curned twine balls to Spanish music eaten dog.  So it was. Thinking it makes it. Did you see him though the way that he looked away looked away looked awaaaaay to many.

So the mightmare ending rolling singing plants.  They write melodies harmonies soups stew is what it’s made from. HIyo fawawawa purrs stoking twine while. So we pause. After starting! appreciation now again Spanish. Why to the hints, behold, cabbages sing. Sweet peaches, cabbages, mountains-a-twined, is no where to be found.

Bark, HIyo, you silent tree. Telling us always eiei that the hints can not twine the handle.  After all, it was a door, not a mountain.

Effective Language: Sign Language

One who believes the purpose of language is simply to convey information…is absolutely mistaken. If this was the case, we would write sentences like this:

One who believes the purpose of language is simply to convey information…is absolutely mistaken
if believe (language = information), wrong.

Doing so allows the speaker to say nearly exactly the same thing in only 6 words (as compared to 15) and less than half as many letters. Such a scenario would allow for faster transfer of spoken information and leave us with more time to do other things. So let us invent something to do just that!

In reality… we already have. Continue reading

Radiolab: Leopards, Language, and Mr. Fernyhough

This week, take a load off your eyes and just listen. One of the most influential pieces of technology to ever hit the human race is surely the radio, is it not? Radio, in all its forms, influenced our grandparents and will surely influence our great-great grandchildren. Years ago (and not too long ago, mind you) if you missed a show on the radio, you would either write to the broadcaster for a copy of the program or wait to hear it again…somehow. Today, with the invention of the internet, nearly everything is available for listening consumption at any time you deem worthy…many times in the form of podcasts.

One such podcast that has never let me down both in variety of subjects as well as entertainment value is the American show Radiolab:

Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow. Bring your curiosity, and we’ll feed it with possibility. -Radiolab

With a new podcast every week, Radiolab is the perfect way to escape your routine and challenge your mind for twenty minutes to an hour a week on subjects ranging from natural selection and fate, words and language, or time and gravity (as well as many other subjects!) It is to this podcast that I highly encourage a bored blogger to visit in their spare time for it not only offers you a ears a world of entertaining sound but it offers your mind a new way to take in the world.  What with all this reading, our ears certainly are ready for some stimulation!

Radiolab is a member of WNYC radio as well as a part of National Public Radio.  Radiolab is supported, in part, by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, enhancing public understanding of science and technology in the modern world.

If you have not listened to it before, here are a couple good ones to get you started:

1) Words: Imagine a world without words!
2) Wild Talk : Animals with grammar? Words in the wild.

The Problem of Books: Linear Thought

In many ways, the idea that any matter can not be explained but only experienced is quite right.  Zen masters speak of giving an ideal lecture on the nature of Zen by simply walking into the room, ringing a gong, and then walking out. For in that sound and whole experience is all that is needed to fully comprehend everything.  Yet, we can not.

We are bound to words.  We are bound to words and words are bound to sensible sentences…and those sentences are bound to lines.  Lines do not in any way describe what actually exists they only serve to crudely translate to our limited minds what we have only begun to understand, and then those translations are interpreted as symbols.  Before continuing, please refer to this video I have edited specifically for this blog entry.  It is an excerpt from “Alan Watts: A Conversation with Myself” The initial spark for this entry most certainly were these considerations:

What must be expressed and considered is that language as we know it to be is too primitive and, as we evolve further and further, must too evolve and be improved upon.  Continue reading