November 2, 2008

The English Language: breathtakingly complex, yet undeniability imperfect.

Reading in Lamentations 1: 16-17, I was amazed by the beauty of the poetry. What must the passage have been like in its original language?

"For these things I weep; my eyes flow with tears;
for a comforter is far from me, one to revive my spirit;
my children are desolate, for the enemy has prevailed.

Zion stretches out her hands, but there is none to comfort her;
the Lord has commanded against Jacob that his neighbors should be foes;

Jerusalem has become a filthy thing among them."

What sorrow it describes! Yet even with English's adaptability, some ideas can't be communicated by words alone.

I never have found the perfect quote. At best I have been able to find a string of quotations which merely circle the ineffable idea I seek to express.
-Caldwell O'Keefe

For that I'm glad. Even though language is so vast and powerful, able to incite a war yet also melt a heart, it can still not capture the essence of every idea, for ideas transcend the limits of language. It's mind-boggling to think of infinity.