I was going through my books, and I found one that I purchased years ago called Forgotten English. I don’t think I ever actually read it. It was one of those “oh, I will buy this now and read it later” purchases and, well, we know how that goes. So years later—maybe a decade later?—I found this book on my shelf and oh, do I wish I had read it earlier. Language is such a beautiful thing, and reading through this book reminds me that language is living.
My interest in delving into the history of the English language has something to do with the fact that I am currently teaching myself Japanese. I’m using a battery of tools—Duolingo, Rosetta Stone, Living Language, and good ol’ fashioned textbooks—and when you start thinking about a language different from your own, it makes you consider how you use your native language. I’ve been thinking about language not at the level of the word but at the level of the sound.
Language is a collection of sounds that we put together, and we call these sounds “words.” That’s it. So, as I struggle through organizing my bookshelves, I realized that what I have there are collections of sounds, sounds that are familiar and safe. Is it then fair to say that reading is a function of the senses? I would say, yes, with the auditory senses leading the way. Of course, it is more nuanced and complicated, and I am leaving quite a bit out, but I have come to the realization that part of what draws me to books is the sound and, by extension, the feeling. Every sentence has a rhythm, and I am constantly looking to find that rhythm.
Or at least, this is the excuse I am using to explain why I have so many books. I am, indeed, a bibliomaniac, folks.