Thanks to my friend, Emma, in my Creative Nonfiction class I have been inspired to post after a seemingly long hiatus away.
Emma wrote a short nonfiction story entitled, “Word Collector”, which focused upon her love for new words. She elaborated upon several throughout her story and separated the piece by short paragraphs, providing a backstory to each and where she had first come in contact with it.
Emma embellishes upon provocative, feminist, promiscuous, democracy, and awesome. She also shares her love for invincible, epiphany, utopia, dystopia, chauvinism, and susceptible. She says words are power, and she’s right. She goes on to explain her love for words more poetically, in her last line of her piece; “They are just there like a piece of art, a magic of 26 letters that we use to convey all the emotions and intelligence within us humans.” Perfection.
However, through reading her always very creative and thought-provoking stories Emma usually carries the ability to unfold something deeper. In this particular piece, Emma distinguishes and emphasizes upon the fact that as English is her second language (Chinese being her first), she has found that the same words in Chinese and English actually mean different things and evoke different feelings. For example, Emma uses the word Democracy, which means, by definition, “a form of government in which people choose leaders by voting,” and “an organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights,” whereas the same word in Chinese (“Minzhu” or “people-as-masters”), as according to a webpage focusing upon the theme of Chinese Democracy, “is in complete opposition to Confucian ideology, which stresses harmony and obedience; Democracy is not a concept inherent in Chinese culture or political philosophy.”
Emma explains how Minzhu just feels like a big word, whereas Democracy, in plain English holds more meaning to her.
“I see a torch,” she explains in her writing, “I see a march that has hundreds of people; I see a speech given by someone standing behind a podium.”
This is new to me, and opens my eyes more than I’m sure Emma is aware of. I appreciate the fact that she not only stressed upon the same word in Chinese and English meaning different things, but that it evokes different feelings as well, like I had stated above. This is one thing I feel may be something a lot of people overlook.
Not only do words hold power and are beautiful, but language does as well.