Words words words.
I have an obsession with language. And not just English. I’m one of those weird folks who, for fun and very little profit, chases links on Wiktionary.com on a Friday night instead of watching television or going out to meet people.
Mostly sad and entirely pathétique. This, I know.
And while my interests are mostly based on the roots of words common to the English language, either through adoption, theft or assimilation, I occasionally delve into everything from Irish to Romany to Japanese. I find it interesting to see what words people use for the same things.
This trait has followed me since I can recall being interested in languages. I mean, I’m no linguistics guy, but I have always been enamored with the words people use. A few of the folks I follow on WordPress don’t use English as their primary language and I often wait to hit the translate button to see if I can figure out what is being said in the written language used. Sometimes I come close. Other times, I am so far off as to be laughable.
Languages I made a concerted stab at learning over the years: Spanish, German, Russian, Irish, Latin, Mandarin. Each and every single one an utter failure. I can recall most of the words, but I couldn’t speak any (or likely read it, although I’d probably have better luck with reading), even if it was a life/death scenario. Under pressure, I’m guessing whatever I said would come out as utter nonsense and a mixture of all of those languages in a single sentence. Speaking in anything other than English is not one of my many and varied skills. And some might argue that I have difficulty with my mother tongue…
But I can look at words all day and, occasionally, recall them when it happens to suit the moment.
But I find it strange that I can only recall two German phrases (almost everything else is decidedly even worse except for, maybe, Latin and Spanish). Why those two phrases? Hell if I know — “I love you” and “I am sick” don’t normally go together (I was told back in the day that “krank” literally translates to “broken” and that might go a long ways towards explaining my reasons for retention, but I have my doubts about that “literal” translation).
Recently it occurred to me that most of the people I know in real life, even declared “writers”, actually have very little interest in anyone’s writing but their own (if they even still write, which is not a given) and famous writers who, when they are at terribly fashionable parties, they can quote and reference to appear hyper-intellectual. I used to like the old class I had back in high school where we shared our writing with each other, but no one I know from those days still thinks like that. It’s all about talking about writing and being a writer, and there is very little about actually writing or sharing in what they do. I probably need to find new local friends, but I’m not very good with the whole making friends thing. I think I do better presentations than I do with friend making and regular readers will recall how I felt about the last presentation I did just recently.
So I post here just to keep it out of stained banker boxes. And I really enjoy the writing from a number of people I follow on WP, much more than I see from the people I’ve known for decades.
It makes me feel awkward to realize that I could care less about some people I am required to subscribe to social media accounts to find out how they are doing. I wonder for the millionth time if those relationships from the past are worth maintaining, when everyone is more interested in cat videos and copypasta humor than they are in real interaction. Some of them have quite plainly put me in a walled garden of my own — maintaining a “friendship”, but only for the purposes of being amused by the guy who still loves writing and making music. Unless I create rage or laughter, they are disinterested, and I find that sad when some of these folks were all about the writing 30 years ago.