|There is snow ON THE SNOWMEN. |
Up is down. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
And y'all, I'm just so geeking out about all the wordomancy we did together. I love that the fishmen have a human racial slur that translates to "belly button". I love that Vuchak uses men's speech and Weisei doesn't, and now I know what that sounds like. I love that ei'Krah now has words for deer-haggis and the drowning song and a "bite the bullet" expression that sounds like AND means "suck your teeth", and even though 95% of my readers will never notice or care, *I* know all those things are there, and someday somebody is going to discover them and love them to pieces.
SPEAKING OF WHICH.
You can't love any of our cool new language stuff until Medicine for the Dead comes out next year, but here is an amazing thing that you can love RIGHT NOW.
But let me tell you: just because we are wallowing in ignorance doesn't mean we can't have a phenomenal conversation about it. I'd often thought about the Han and Chewie problem – you know, what it would be like to have mutual intelligibility, but lack the anatomy to actually speak the other person's language – but Sheri brings up an even more dire possibility: what if we just don't have the brain-wiring to understand each other at all? Like, think back to Helen Keller, and how enormously difficult it was for her to first realize that the sensations she experienced with one hand were linked to the signs that Annie Sullivan spelled into the other. As Sheri says, we need that "oh, that's what we're doing here!" epiphany before we can connect the things/ideas/actions/qualities to the sounds/signs/smells/colors/temporal-disturbances that name them. The notion that we would have trouble communicating is not a new one to me – but the idea that we might not be capable of realizing that someone is trying to communicate just blows my mind.
After all, people who can't speak or write or sign in the usual way have been enormously creative in finding ways to communicate with the muggle world. Think about Stephen Hawking's voice synthesizer, or Jason Becker's grid-alphabet, or the book Jean-Dominique Bauby wrote by blinking his left eye. So many times, we have moved heaven and earth to connect with each other – but none of that can happen until we realize that there is another mind to connect with. (And now I'm thinking of Odo from Deep Space Nine – an infant shapeshifter whose natural form is a fluid, and who spent years being tortured by a curious, well-intentioned scientist who never realized that the goo in the glass was a sentient life-form.)
|Though there is always hope for the next generation.|
I'll work on that last one and get back to you. Stay warm in the meantime, e-friends – I'm off to go learn how to wear a scarf!
Do you like it? Does it smell good? Does it have teeth?