Languages

I’m having a bit of a slow start, trying to figure out what I’m trying to do with my pieces to date. Recently, I instilled a rule that I would not show any work in progress, due to previous, somewhat unpleasant experiences. So, no work in progress. However, I will show some little snippets and details as I go along. These snippets and details are dynamic, and may or may not be part of the final work.

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I’d like to share a poem I read recently, by Carl Sandburg:

LANGUAGES

There are no handles upon a language
Whereby men take hold of it
And mark it with signs for its remembrance.
It is a river, this language,
Once in a thousand years
Breaking a new course
Changing its way to the ocean.
It is mountain effluvia
Moving to valleys
And from nation to nation
Crossing borders and mixing.
Languages die like rivers.
Words wrapped round your tongue today
And broken to shape of thought
Between your teeth and lips speaking
Now and today
Shall be faded hieroglyphics
Ten thousand years from now.
Sing—and singing—remember
Your song dies and changes
And is not here to-morrow
Any more than the wind
Blowing ten thousand years ago.

 

When I read this poem, I think of the sign language I learnt as a child, and how it’s not in use today, having given way to ASL (American Sign Language) in North America. Even today, ASL is ever changing. In Canada, there seem to be a melding of ASL with BSL or even Quebec sign language, giving it a unique Canadian dialect. Some words no longer in use, because it is no longer private, understood only by Deaf culture. So, sign language, like all spoken language, is impermanent.

 


CCFA

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.

Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil  a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.

Published February 24, 2016

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