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.

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Hand-Writing All 1,947 Jōyō Kanji: Ten Things I Learned.

“The Jōyō kanji are the 1,947 most essential kanji in the Japanese language as designated by the Ministry of Education.  I hand-wrote them all.  This is what I learned…”

Waves of Kanji

Waves of Kanji

In an effort to improve my Japanese writing finesse and satisfy my nearly insatiable interest in Chinese characters I undertook the daunting task of hand-writing every single one of the 1,947 Jōyō kanji as included in this book.  I literally went through every single one of the kanji included in this reference book and wrote and rewrote them until I had gone through all of them.  The focus was on repetition and muscle memory, and maintaining the correct stroke order was pivotal to the entire exercise.

To set the record straight, I really enjoy studying kanji…really enjoy.  What to many is boring and impossible, I find meditative and relaxing, insightful and enlightening.  Within each kanji there is a story and a reason for its construction.  Every kanji is based in a history that is long and clouded and originates in ancient China making them living artifacts, speech relics that are as good today as they were one-thousand years ago.  Each stroke is carefully planned and, when performed in the correct order, smooth and natural to your hand. Continue reading

Calligraphy: Eastern and Western

Calligraphy: from Greek κάλλος kallos “Beauty” + γραφή graphẽ “Writing”

Caligrafia: Spanish (similar meaning to English version)

Shodo: Japanese しょ、書 sho-Writing, どう,道 do(pronounced doe)-“Way”

Shufu: Chinese 書 “Writing”、法 “Law”・”Rules”

Seoye: Korean 서 「書」Seo “Writing”, 예 「藝」 Ye “Craft/Skill/Technique”

Think of the most beautiful thing you have ever seen. Got it? Good. Now think of one of the most ordinary things on the planet earth: handwriting. Don’t just think about any handwriting though, think of your own. Now superimpose the beauty of the first thing onto your handwriting and what do you end up with? A sunrise. A quiet morning. A rainbow. A smile. What I mean is that you get a writing system that impresses the masses regardless of the content. You don’t need to know who is smiling or over what country the sun is rising to feel joyous. We experience joy simply in knowing that someone is smiling or that the sun is rising. Similarly calligraphy, if it can be separated from its inseparable relationship with the host language, is a language on its own. A universal language that resonates most strongly with art and speaks to the masses much more than the words it makes up.

What is most interesting is the universality of calligraphy. No mater where in the world and no matter what period, there is a system of writing that is considered more beautiful or more correct. For thousands of years the Chinese have developed these rules of correctness into laws governing the writing system. Elsewhere the literate scribes were the sole keepers of language and each had to adhere to strict rules regarding copying. Notably of these are the many glorious and awe-inspiring illuminated texts of the Middle Ages, the work of skilled and dedicated hands. In India too there exist beautiful styles of calligraphic text. Muslim nations will often use calligraphic text for decoration on mosques or tapestries. Around the world and over time beautiful, albeit difficult and painstaking, styles of writing sprang up alongside the development of the society to which they were (and still are) tied.

It is a common denominator, to put it in mathematical terms, that connects all languages. This blog aims to explore ways in which the languages of English, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean are tied together (or split apart) and writing style is one of those ways. On a basic level, these languages have a written form. Check. Within each language though, is there a specific style which is considered most proper or most beautiful? (I realize that the latter term is subjective) To answer this question let’s look very briefly at some possible candidates: Continue reading

Evolution of Language

Language has taken many forms around the world (roughly 5000 forms would actually be a low estimate).  Here, in this blog, we only will dip into four languages: English, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean.  Of these four, each in very many ways is similar to the other.  However, the English-Spanish and Korean-Japanese pairs are especially similar.  English is especially similar to Spanish as Korean is especially similar to Japanese.  Grammatically bound by similar rules, containing similar signs of respect within the language, and even words that sounds similar or almost identical are some of the examples of ways that these language pairs are the same. But why? How is it that these languages share these similarities?

Norse Text

A sample of Norse text

Take any language and trace it back.  Discover the meaning and origin behind the words in one language and you will undoubtedly begin to learn a new language.  For none of the most widely spoken languages these days were simply born out of nothing, they evolved.  They were or rather are the elegant product of generations of change taking place as one culture and its people mixed with another culture and its people.  Take for example the romance languages: Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, and Catalan to name a few (there are apparently 47 types of romance languages).   These languages can all trace their origins to one single language: Latin.  That is to say that from one single, established, and by many thinkers standards’ perfect language came 47 entirely different and equally beautiful languages.  To think that today even the language from which all the romance languages evolved from is spoken now by only very few is another mystery in itself:  Why was there any need to create new and different languages when the first did the job just fine?

The simple answer is…well, the first language did not do the job just fine.  Culture and counterculture, most likely, was the driver and catalyst for change in language.  It is human nature to change what was established (as much as we desire stability and ritual).  We will take something and make it “better” even if it only looks better but performs the exact same function.  Every language performs the exact same function: communication.  That’s all there is to it(?)  Why one language developed letters like “Aa, Bb, and Cc” while another developed into “あ, ぶ, and す” is another question for another week entirely but is still worth pondering here.  Even despite commonalities and a single originating language we have arrived at languages that share almost nothing in common with each other except for their basic function.  It’s incredible really and  I am constantly baffled by it.

English on its very own is a crazy mix of languages, cultures, and the effect of time.  Listen to this:  The English language consists of 26 letters but 44 phonemes! (phonemes are distinct sounds that are made in spoken language)  That means that there are 18 sounds that English speakers make but are not even accounted for in the written part of the language! Similarly, the letter “c” in the words “cat”, “watch”, and “face” for example is written the same but pronounced quite differently.  Vowels as well are irregular.  In other languages like Spanish, Thai, or Japanese on the other hand, a vowel is pronounced the same no matter where it is in the word, no matter what letter it is next to. Continue reading