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July 30, 2009


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I have had much the same experience with language, and "home". But language and culture, although intertwined, are not the same thing. To wit:
"Japanese is very much more condusive to being poetical or to telling tales."

Shakespeare notwithstanding, I guess.
It is arguable that we both speak the same language as that spoken by WS, but there is a different cultural milieu now.
The currents that drive poetical urges or telling tales in English have been driven into other channels. But they are around us, and still are facilitated by the language itself.

Hi Denske,

I thought I was being clear, but I guess not since Namit sent me a note saying something very similar. I was actually talking almost excluseively about cultural & historical background than I was about the language itself. I think Heidegger too. So that, while there are certainly aspects or charcateristics in languages themselves that lend one language to philosophical talk or another to romantic poetry, it is the cultural background that is more at issue. For example, Heidegger wasn't really talking about post war German language as much as he was talking about the ontology that informs it (in this case, what he called the technological understanding of being). Namit said something similar to me, but I know, I say and speak English very differently when I speak in english to my friends in Kyoto-- or even to Beijing in China-- that to friends in LA. our language is heavily influenced by the local culture of where we are. So, yes, of course, I don't think there is anything inherent in the language itself that would make my conversations less poetical in English. I love that book A Suitable Boy, by the way, because of the English...

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