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Accepting Verbosity, Loving your texy body & Culturally curvy living

By February 27, 2016 Jonathan, Language

A creed for writers like me who suffer from fear of the scales measured in words: you may be a bit verbally obese […verbose] but there is no shame in having a texy body.

My own wordiness, my own sensual excesses of syllables upset me. I feel I do an injustice to you who spend precious moments reading this if I don’t cut down your reading time to the most “efficient” level humanly possible. But in my quest for the best I suffer from an acute fear of the verbose. The very words I need to piece together meaning are the obstacle I most want to avoid. There is always too much.

Traditional test-based information-crammed education
Sparsity of questions and excess of Trump answers
Talker dominance, Listeners as losers
Advertising to our underpants and marketing to our fears:
Words misused and wielded to the harm of humanity.

I love language and the sweet music strummed by “inarticulate” and “inefficient” human vocal chords. It’s a tone and timing that turns us on to the content. “Bless your heart” intoned by my Midwestern American friend is as valuable to me as a sonnet.

And it’s not just in English words that I find this phenomenon. When I hear the flavoured Spanish from outside of Iberia spoken with a plethora of diminutive spices I feel a bit queasy. Yet soft cuddly roly-poly Mexican words can just as easily create a delightful warmth inside my soul. “Ammoooor mio”, can as easily induce nausea as bring droplets of nostalgia, the phrase draws up memories of exploring the streets of Bogota with Colombian friends.

My ever-softening Australian accent is being glazed by the delicious American linguistic media that we all feast upon daily. I live in Europe and the few times I do hear an Aussie accent I am inclined to be startled, momentarily brought back to Sydney on a hot summer’s day. I can’t help but laugh at my own twang and abandoned “lettas” even as I show clear disrespect for my linguistic heritage. I knock you ‘Stralia cause I love ya. Yeah na. No yeah.

This also happens to me when I hear strong ‘Merican accents, those of friends and family, of Hollywood and news readers. Some people just sound, well, a bit like Jethro or Forrest. And those talents like Robin Williams give the world a glimpse of linguistic bliss, often straight off the cuff.

Culture is intertwined with words influencing the when, how, how much and in what way and which format we speak or communicate. I often find myself comparing another language or speaker or writer to my own standards and linguistic tastes. That is why I have begun to tell myself that wordiness is not an enemy.

I remind myself that life is much more fun when I see the opportunity to read more deeply into peoples’ emotions even when it takes a while. Sometimes people give us more by giving us time to listen without rushing to hear the message being conveyed. Less or more doesn’t make it better, it’s about the time and heart behind it.
*My language learning experience started by growing up speaking English in Australia and a couple formative years in the UK. As an adult I have learnt South American Spanish and then Spanish in Spain. I have studied Mandarin Chinese,Tibetan (Lhasa-Central Tibetan) and Nepali while living in China and Nepal, and I am currently learning Euskera in the Basque Country of Europe.

-Jonathan McCallum


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