This lovely video, produced by Everynone for Radiolab, has been doing the rounds on Twitter, so you may already have seen it. It bears repeat viewing, I think. It’s about words and also about our common humanity. I find it moving.
Serendipity is a lovely word and a lovely concept. Shortly after watching the Words video, I came across Robert Kelly’s poem Towards the Day of Liberation:
It doesn’t matter what we see there
(the mouth is full of sense
no taste in listening
no sense to hear
what twists in the shallow water below the tongue)
(and if he says Listen! say
Drink the hearing
your own ears,
is not to hear)
Language? To use language for the sake of communication is like using a forest of ancient trees to make paper towels and cardboard boxes from all those years the wind and crows danced in the up of its slow.
A word is not to hear
and not to say –
what is a word?
The Catechism begins:
Who made you?
Why did It make you?
It made me to confuse the branch with the wind.
To hide the root.
Where is the root?
It lies beneath the tongue.
It lies beneath the speech.
Is it a word?
A word is the shadow of a body passing.
Whose body is that?
The shadow’s own.
“Towards the Day of Liberation” from Not This Island Music by Robert Kelly. Used by permission of the author and of Black Sparrow Books, an imprint of David R. Godine, Publisher, Inc. Copyright © 1987 by Robert Kelly.
With thanks to NovaLanguages for pointing me to Robert Kelly’s poetry (of which I wasn’t able to maintain the original line spacing, for some reason).
By Marian Dougan
Published by Marian Dougan
Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster.
From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group.
She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options.
Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland.
She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.
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