Beautiful letters

I really like looking at things written in another language that uses a different alphabet than the Roman Alphabet.  You know, something like Arabic or Sanskrit.  It just seems interesting that these symbols, which mean absolutely nothing to me, are just as legit in representing sounds as put together into words that can be spoken in a comprehensible language.  When I sit and think about it, written language is quite fascinating all around anyways.  The process to get written language to work well obviously had to take generations.  Still the letter only means something in that we accept it as meaning something.  In that way when I view a letter in a different alphabet, while I can accept that it means something to somebody, I cannot rationalize the meaning to myself.  The unknown symbol is recognized as a human creation but to me it is more a thing of abstract art than a symbol of meaning.  Just as hearing somebody speak in another language sounds strangely beautiful in its utter alien quality, but still it is human, it is constructed.  I can empathize with it, but lack the capacity or perspective to make it into a meaningful something beyond human artifice.  Personally I really like the very ornate Arabic calligraphy.  While I may not understand what it reads I can appreciate the beauty in the creation of the words.  I sometimes wonder if our letters look beautiful to other people who are not familiar with them, or if our words sound like music to people who don’t speak English.  To think that letters and words might be art in and of themselves, without ever having to form the comprehensible poem or song is a pleasant thought.  I wish I knew more about linguistics, about where language comes from, and where it is bound to go.

~ by Nathaniel on October 17, 2007.

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