Friday, February 15, 2013

I love English

In these days of globalization it would certainly be more original to have Sanskrit or Navaho as a passion but I'm saddled with ever so ordinary English. Though it is not ordinary at all actually. There is something in that language that just happens to correspondend to my preferences, I cannot exactly say what - there is no explaining these things. Of course, it is the language of Shakespeare, but potentially (and in fact) any language has the reach for universality - though not in identical ways, and there is something in the variety and suppleness of English that speaks to me. It is a very liberal language I would argue: rational but not mechanically logical, pragmatically open to all sorts of influences - being a mongrel in many ways (and it appears that there were seeds for strange transformations there even regardless of the Normans).

I have great respect and liking for my native Finnish: a dark, emotional, radically non-Western language - there is much beauty and passion in its heaviness and lovely, vowel rich cadences. Still, strangely, it is  literature, poetry in English that has moved me most. In comparison English is more intellectual, in some ways shallower - English has been used so much that it has become worn, an overly smooth language if not used originally and imaginitively. There are countless of pop and rock songs in English that say absolutely nothing in a way that simply would not be possible in Finnish: you just have to say something in Finnish. But when used properly English is the loveliest of languages.

(This post arose from the pleasure of listening to Stephen Fry talking in heavenly literate English.)


Hartti said...

Surely we can speak Finnish and say nothing. Actually, we can create a void, a nothingness, around us by mere speech. Listen for a while to our financial minister Jutta, and notice how all meaning is being sucked away of all and everything nearby. ;)

stockholm slender said...

Well, yes surely, the politicians are very good examples of this - but I still think it's harder in Finnish, especially thinking of song lyrics...