In search of metaphors
Muse #128 - the complexity and nuances of languages
One of the things that I am currently pursuing is coming up with a basket of systemic metaphors covering the work that I do (broken up into various categories). A related passion of mine is the use of language and its nuances.
As I keep pondering these metaphors something striking has happened over the last few months. Four months ago, I wrote about how my thinking and dreaming have shifted from Tamil my birth language to English over the last couple of decades. Surprisingly, many of the metaphors that I am constructing seem to have roots in my Tamil language. I am actively even thinking in Tamil to derive the metaphors that I am constructing in English.
Tamil is a Dravidian language that traces back up to 3500 years with the richness of the Indus Valley civilization that it originated from. Compared to English a younger language with a history of around 1400 years.
Two key differences appear in Tamil compared to English. Its linguistic process is based on Agglutination - where complex words are formed by stringing together morphemes without changing them in spelling or phonetics. The second difference being the language is that word order is subject–object–verb rather than in English which is Subject–verb–object.
In simple terms, these two key differences and other language differences mean that I can construct metaphors in very few words or even using single words. I could build complex words by Tamil’s ability to string them together into a single word rather than a sentence, reflecting the essence of the metaphor. Though when I translate these to English they become long sentences for each of them.
Such is the difference in language and its influences on the brain. Being bilingual with two different types of languages makes it very interesting to create things using these various constructs that lend to thinking, imagination, and creating things using the varying perspectives that these languages offer.
And when you connect them, magic happens - one that you get to enjoy. And the journey to creating or acquiring metaphors continues…