The Overuse of Lexical Items in Describing Emotions

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Language has never stopped evolving as more new words are added to the lexical pool every passing day. We are now using more words than ever, to express ourselves fully to one another. But, is it all necessary? Or are we simply dulling our senses and devolving ourselves, restricted by the limits of language itself?

In face-to-face encounters, language loses most of its function as actions take over the role of wordly structures. We never describe our actions in wordly forms when what we are doing at any given moment is so obvious. Imagine you’re in a cafe with someone, do you ever need the urge to make sentences like: “I’m now holding the cup of coffee with my left hand, preparing to take a sip.”?

Of course not, as each person is equipped with a behavioral decoder of their own. But, then again, why do we use words to describe our emotions to the other person accross the same table; saying we are happy, upset, depressed or scared… Have we disconnected and devolved so much that we can’t decode emotions without the aid of words anymore?

The joy of hugging someone and transferring our emotions in a silent harmony is what we should have been doing all along. “Wordless” does not mean it’s “worthless”, it’s just more. It’s actually feeling for each other.

We are taught to “apologize”, “praise”, “confront”, “encourage” and “congratulate” each other even before we start school… but even the words picked for such actions are random letters in tiresome, long sequences, …. difficult even to pronounce let alone understand each other’s feelings.

In writing good fiction, there’s one fundamental rule: “Show, don’t tell.” How come “showing” is more appreciated than “telling in words” at a medium where the reader and the writer is almost never in the same place?
Showing, not telling adds great value to writing, so,  perhaps, we should implement this rule to our daily lives for a change to enhance our personal relationships.

Finally,

Who is the culprit for demoting our emotions, then?

Is it the gibberish rules of society we are dictated since birth?

Is it the technological advancements causing the daily rush we find ourselves in, to get pointless things done in little time?

Is it because we are becoming more and more selfish and ignorant?

Whatever the cause, it is never late to share our feelings in an entangling bundle of limbs, enclosing two hearts within…

The Significance of Numbers in Literary Titles

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Numbers are never related solely to mathematics. They have the immense power to make literary works more alluring and certainly add a unique flavour to titles irreplaceable by any other non-mathematical word. Numbers are symbols… and we have always had a special liking to symbolism. Tip off 8 and you get eternity, Nine along with its mirror image make up a spiral heart…and so on.

Numbers also remove vagueness from stories and make them credible. Isn’t to say that there are 5,876,777,091 stars in our galaxy more credible than saying there are billions of stars in our galaxy, even if it’s not true.

The numbers in book titles, foreshadow events and attract readers subconsciously. Just look at the literary titles and my own explanations below and decide if any other number or word could replace these numbers in the title:

“20,000 Leagues under the Sea” : It couldn’t have had the effect if it were a different number. In the times of Jules Verne, 20,000 was a massive number and the reason why a round-up number was chosen is basically because it’s easier to say it out loud than “forty-five thousand” or any other inexact, massive number.

“Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” : Not all the thieves in the story are indeed relevant to the story but it’s a credible and a huge number to describe the enormity of the bandits. Any number from 30 to 50 would have worked, but 40 does have a special ring in this case.

“The Three Musketeers”: Why is it the three musketeers when there were four? (Yes, I am counting D’Artagnan as one…) It’s simply because three is an odd number and it shows the balance could change when taking decisions. One side will always win.

“Two minutes to Midnight” : The title which is also the name of a popular rock song suggests the severity of the time running out as midnight symbolizes the end of something (at least the night..)

“A tale of Two Cities” : You can foresee the conflict brewing in the story by just looking at the title…

“The Thirteenth Tale” : 13 is associated with “unluckiness” hinting the unfortunate events to be unfolded in the story…

Never forget! A good story always begins with a good title…and the right number in the title…

Non-Native Language Teachers versus Native Language Teachers

Non-Native Language Teachers versus Native Language Teachers

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In an ever globalising world like ours, you can be born anywhere on the sphere (Perhaps, Antarctica is a less likely destination but still… there are plenty of places to be born on our planet.) You have an instant advantage in becoming the master of your culture and native tongue the moment you are born. You begin learning your native tongue without even being aware of the process. It’s total immersion.You do not even remember learning how to speak it, read it or write it. It’s almost automatic like breathing.

Breathing!

The first action we learn right after being born! Every soul born, masters it in just a few seconds. Everybody is excellent at it… We can easily say that we are all native breathers! Now, imagine that you are hired as a native breathing-instructor to teach how to breathe to a bunch of newborns (and just for the fun of it, imagine that they cannot learn it by themselves). What would you do? How would you even start? What would your first instruction be?

Open your mouth and suck in air through your mouth or nose???

In theory, being a native and having it done a zillion times, you should be an excellent teacher at Breathing – 101. However, that’s not the case, is it? Think about Albert Einstein or Dr.Michio Kaku (if you want a more contemporary example)! Did they start gaining scientific knowledge right from the time they were born? Were they native physicists? The answer is a big “no”. But, noone can claim that they are (or would be) “not so competent” in teaching Physics, can they? We should look at the non-native language teachers the same way. There may be marvels among us (language teachers) who will always fall behind in job hunts just because we are not passport holders of a country that we are teaching the language of. Having mastered the target language for decades will not put you in front of a native candidate (in a job application) who has no experience in teaching! Sometimes the label is more important than the content.

I have no intention of offending native language teachers in this article, but don’t we at least, deserve an equal chance in professional life? Below are some points which might make non-native language teachers a choice at least:

Non-native language teachers…

* have gone through a similar learning process as their pupils and can identify the tough parts in learning the target language and take precautions…

* can explain unexpected questions about grammar points as they have not learned it unconsciously unlike native teachers…

* can adjust their level of English according to the students’ level and communicate much easier with them…

* are more intercultural and aware…

* have better sppelign, speeling, splenig….spelleing…. (or maybe I should leave this one out)

I want to know what you think. Please comment!!!

Nobody knows

It’s our world now… we live in a realm where nobody knows anything. No one cares anymore; not the nobility, not the simple peasants, not even the nosy people you run into here and there. Nope. The hope is long gone and all that remains are the distant noises of some inner conflicts one might have, barely audible like northern winds on a warm summer night. Knowledge is what we lack and somehow we have no intention of reaching for answers even if it knocks on our doors. Answers are not welcome anymore. We have become noobs where once experts thrived in this world. 

A change might be coming, hiding behind a simple yes/no question. You have to decide NOw….

Love does not need a picture…

Someone…

Show me the existence of wordless communication, where sweet looks and gentle touches do the talking…

Turn me into a bedroom mirror, so I can watch you fall into sleep every night…and wake up with every light…

Equip me with a brand new collection of a 1000 words of love to describe my never-ending feelings…

Allow me to enclose you all over in my octopus arms…

Kiss me so deeply, sucking the air in until it runs out in my lungs…

Build me someone immune to infinite cuddles…if you can’t be the one…

And, if that’s the case… then,

Rip my soul in two…so that I can be sure that someone capable of true love like me, exists in this realm…


P.S: Lol….the first letter of each line, spells out STEAK BAR! Perhaps, my true love…

Archaeology of the Present

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Imagine our current civilization ended up in flames; totally wiped out… a few remaining survivors of the human kind (possibly stripped of all advanced technological knowledge and know-how) started all over from scratch.
In a millennium, every advancement is already long forgotten and our civilization at present is regarded as an ancient one, pretty much like ancient Egypt in our era.
The new civilization follows more or less a similar path as ours to flourish. However, some things have never been invented or some ideas have never been thought of. At least, they invent the notion of archaeology; digging up the past (and trying to uncover our secrets).
Let’s do a thought experiment…
It’s the year 2116; a thousand years from now and the future archaeologists uncover the following:
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1. The personal library of a sci-fi enthusiast, which survived a millennium in a nuclear shelter/bunker. All the books that survived are works of fiction…about intergalactic wars, time travel, aliens, etc… and after decades of hard work, they are able to crack the code of our language. What would they think? Would they regard them as works of fiction or consider them as ancient history? We seem to regard every written record of ancient civilizations as real…
2. An email message printed on a browned out paper (actually the paper browned out much later :), containing letters of the alphabet as well as characters like @,#,_,&,* and :). (From the same library mentioned above) Would they combine these symbols into our ancient language and overthink about their function?
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3. A dozen autographed baseball bats by some of the baseball idols of our era dug out from the ruins of a sports shop. Luckily, the UV coating on the bats preserved the signatures from smearing out through ages. What would a baseball bat suggest to a culture who has not invented the concept of sports (for entertainment)? Perhaps, a primitive weapon of war; inscribed with an ancient god’s name to channel divine power to the wielder? How about the sports shop? Would the future archaeologists be happy that they unearthed an ancient armory?
4. A huge, curvy water slide in an abandoned amusement park: An aqueduct?
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5  A bowling ball… Let me be more specific: A size 14, shiny, purple bowling ball. Hmmm… What are the three holes for? For fingers? But why three? Would they think that ancient humans had two less fingers? Oh wait! That’s how we depict some aliens!!!
The moral of this article?
No matter what your intentions are (when you invent or create something), you will most likely to be misunderstood …

How long is time?

A second, a minute, an hour, a day, a week, a month or a year…are some of the time related vocabulary invented by us; people, trying to have a global standard in measuring time. It’s a good thing that we had the movement of the sun to base our newest concept on or else we would be timeless in a maelstrom of confusion.

But!

Is each unit of time mentioned above, really the same in length for everyone or are they subjective?

A minute feels like eternity at your first kiss …

Perhaps, we feel that way because 1 minute is 60 seconds…and 60 is more than 1… regardless of the word that follows it.

A minute can also feel much shorter than a millisecond when you’re standing by the deathbed of a loved one.

The same logic can be applied here as 1 minute can be 0.0166666667 hours which is a tiny fraction of a whole.

The moral?

No matter how long it is…a minute is never sufficient.