Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden

language arts

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picture credit: itchy feet

Have you ever thought about this concept? For me the idea of language arts has gone somewhat unnoticed until my move to Sweden. We had a Language Arts building in high school. Let me explain that further, we had an open campus, which means multiple buildings and a nice little walk outdoors between each class. The outdoor time was especially appreciated during winters in New England. The Language Arts building is where students had their foreign language classes and some English classes (like Medieval literature – which I took senior year). Being the wonderfully cheerful teenager that I was I never put a lot of thought into the naming of the building, but it’s a concept I was reminded of during recent pondering.

What does Language Arts really mean, what about language is an art? Just as music is an art, where the reading and composing of notes creates the beautiful sounds that humans across the globe cannot get enough of, language is also an art. Though I never really understood the deep connections between say language and music (or painting, or what have you) until I really  learned my second language (and exited my moody teenage years).

When writing, and speaking, word composition is just as important as music composition, or the composition of a painting, et cetera. Just take that word “composition” in the previous sentence how it can be applied in so many contexts. What I’m getting at is the fact that I’ve recently been considering language, along with the other art forms, as a sincere form of expression. It takes skill and practice to be articulate. Even more skill and practice to be articulate in multiple tongues. Just as any art form takes skill and practice to perfect.

If language is a form of expression that begs the question: What do you mean? What is it that you really want to say? What is the best way of saying it? Are you going for clarity? Beauty? Irony? Melody?  I don’t think these questions need answers, I just think they’re worth considering. They are at least for me in my inner wonderings about self-expression, communication and how I use language to do it.

That being said, word choice is one of the most important aspects of language. I find saying what you mean to often be the goal of communicating, and I do think this is the essential purpose of language. All people across the globe use language as a way of finding one other and attempting to understand those around us. In that I see beauty.

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